36-year old former world title challenger Howard Eastman is next up for middleweight "sensation" John Duddy, as the two will meet on December 8 at Kings Hall in Belfast.
I like Duddy for what he is, and I know fighting at Kings Hall is a really big deal for him, and Eastman is a rather substantial step up in competition. But the fact remains that Eastman is a beat-up, aged fighter who hasn't been relevant in years. Eastman's last six fights:
L-UD Bernard Hopkins
L-UD Arthur Abraham
L-TKO Edison Miranda
W-KO Richard Williams
W-UD Evans Ashira
L-UD Wayne Elcock
Look, those losses are all against credible fighters, and the wins could be worse. And Eastman's fifth loss (to William Joppy in 2001) was razor-close.
But he's 36. He's not the fighter he once was, and he was always a guy on the cusp of being great, never a guy who was quite great. He never got the big win. He beat good fighters, but nobody great, and lots of guys beat good fighters. They're good fighters.
The younger Duddy should beware what's left of Eastman's power, though, and definitely make sure he's mentally prepared. Eastman's been in the ring with fighters that dwarf John Duddy's ability. I'm not one to count fighters out before fights. I don't ever want to be part of that, "No one thought I could do this!" reference that comes after an upset.
But I'm saying it this time. Forget it. Eastman is just going to be the most credible name on Duddy's record as he prepares himself for a title fight next spring or summer.
I'm happy he's fighting Eastman, since I think it'll be a good fight. But it's not a fight I have any doubts about: Duddy will win convincingly. And it won't mean all that much.