Middleweights of New York
By Julian Kasdin (Jan 7, 2007) Doghouse Boxing  
It was recently announced that two New York based middleweights- John Duddy, 23-0 (17), and “Mean” Joe Greene, 17-0 (12)- are being featured on the undercard of the Wladimir Klitschko vs. Sultan Ibragimov IBF/WBO heavyweight unification bout. Now neither Duddy nor Greene is fighting each other, but it is no secret that many out there, particularly Bob Arum, are interested in seeing John Duddy be the first person that Kelly Pavlik defends his middleweight title against. This got me wondering, between Duddy and Greene, which one is really the better New York based middleweight?

Duddy, originally from Ireland, is clearly the better known of the two. He has garnered a decent degree of attention in his homeland, having fought twice now in Dublin’s National Stadium and once in Belfast against Howard Eastman. John has also been embraced by the people of New York and its strong Irish community, often fighting for sold-out crowds in venues across the city. He has put together wins against a series of fringe contenders, top ten fighters, and former titleholders over the last few years. His resume includes the aforementioned Eastman, former champion Luis Ramon Campas, and The Contender’s Anthony Bonsante, which was his most dominant win of the three. His next fight is against 20-1 (13), Michi Munoz, a once-beaten but largely unproven Mexican middleweight, in what is almost certainly a fight designed to position Duddy for a shot at the Pavlik vs. Taylor II winner. With all this talk of Duddy, it is easy to forget that another New York based 160-pounder is on the card.

Enter “Mean” Joe Greene. The Brooklyn-born Queens resident (talk about building cross-borough support) is beginning to attract the attention of hardcore boxing fans with his crowd-pleasing style, fast hands, and power. While his level of opposition is not quite what Duddy has faced, this writer has a hunch that he is the better of the two middleweights on display. Greene has fought the usual list of opponents on his way up, dominating all of them, with his most impressive win
being a first round destruction of then-16-1 (4), Darryl Salmon. There is no opponent penciled in for Joe the night of the twenty-third, but one must assume that on such a big stage, he will be taking another step up in class. It is here that he can shine, and stake his claim to being the best middleweight in New York.

Now why, some might be asking, do I consider Greene, a relatively inexperienced middle, to be better than Duddy? Well it comes down to how they have been performing. Duddy has, in fights with Campas, Bonsante, and Eastman, looked rather ordinary. While that is excusable against Eastman, Campas was a blown-up and well-past-his-best light middleweight, and Bonsante is a solid but limited product of The Contender series. Having seen Greene fight on numerous occasions, I just cannot fathom him being troubled by Campas or Bonsante, and while I think Eastman would provide a stern test, I tend to think it would be one he would pass.

Maybe I am not giving Duddy enough credit. His opposition has been solid, and possibly I am overrating Greene, but sometimes the difference in talent can be seen regardless of the disparity in opposition. Greene’s talent is apparent in the way he has dominated those put in front of him. John Duddy is a solid fighter, and based on his opposition is clearly more deserving of a shot at the middleweight title than either Ouma or Spinks were, but on the twenty-third it is my firm belief that the best middleweight in Madison Square Garden will be “Mean” Joe Greene.

Questions or comments,
Julian at:

© Copyright / All Rights reserved: Doghouse Boxing 1998-2007