Former IBA World and WBC Continental middleweight title holder, John Duddy, has traded in his gloves for a bar rag. The 32 year-old boxer, who stunned the fight world in January when he announced his retirement weeks before a big HBO fight against Andy Lee, is now working as a bartender in mid-town Manhattan.
Duddy, once described by ESPN as "the personification of a blood-and-guts warrior" is no fighter down on his luck story either.
According to the New York Daily News, the popular Irish fighter can be found slinging drinks instead of swinging punches at Kennedy's--a Hell's Kitchen pub. Duddy has spent the last six months learning the bar business from the manager, Michael Glynn, while the retired fighter pursues an acting career on the side.
The reason they keep re-broadcasting his fights is easy. When fans went to a Duddy fight they knew there would be blood-- even if it was usually Duddy's-- and to get there early. The ferocious boxer finished his career with a 29-2 record with 18 knockouts. Ten of those KO's came in the first round.
"The Derry Destroyer's" St. Patrick's Day fights, in front of raucous Garden crowds, were legendary.
The fighter has now been jabbed by the acting bug as well.
This past winter, Duddy had a cameo in the FX boxing series "Lights Out" and played the young Kid Shamrock in the Atlantic Theater Company's production of the play of the same name. The play is a story based on the middleweight Bobby Cassidy who fought in the 60's and 70's.
In January, Duddy said he was was retiring for good, just weeks before his $100,000 bout against Lee. Still Duddy, in his Derry, Ireland brogue, admitted that fight was "going to be one of the biggest Irish fights in decades," but had no regrets.
In a January statement, which announced his early retirement, Duddy said: "I still feel it's an enormous honor to be a boxer, but I don't love it anymore."
Hopefully, this boxer is one of the lucky few who knows when it was time to hang 'em up.
"I was sitting there punching the bag at Gleason's thinking, 'What the hell am I doing here?'" he said. "That's not how a fighter should be thinking."
When asked about getting up on stage for the first time, Duddy, known for his fearless fighting style claims he was nervous and wondered, "What if I forget me lines?"