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Know Your PPV Undercard: John Duddy v. Michael Medina

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Every time a major PPV event rolls around, Bad Left Hook puts a special focus on the televised undercard bouts. With Pacquiao-Clottey coming this Saturday, we start with the middleweight 10-rounder between Ireland's John Duddy and Mexican Michael "Murder Man" Medina.

John Duddy (28-1, 18 KO) v. Michael Medina (23-1-2, 18 KO)
Middleweights, 10 Rounds

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(Duddy photo by Chris Trotman-Getty Images / Medina photo by Mary Ann Owen)

Let's be real honest up front. John Duddy's record is a carefully constructed sham with more than one questionable decision on the sheet. He's nowhere near as good as his record might look, and he probably deserves more than the one loss he does have, which he finally suffered last year against Billy Lyell in Newark (SD-10). You can easily argue that Walid Smichet beat Duddy in 2008, that Yori Boy Campas deserved the win in 2006, and that Howard Eastman had a case in 2007.

The best Duddy's ever looked came against Matt Vanda, a gatekeeper's gatekeeper, a little over a year ago. And then in his next fight, he was outboxed by Lyell, a limited, pop-less kid from Youngstown who was recently beaten up pretty badly by IBF middleweight titlist Sebastian Sylvester, a guy no one's confusing with a world-beater.

We know what Duddy is. He can be a very exciting fighter, he's got a passionate fanbase (though that has started slipping some as he's become more exposed as a fighter), and he wants to fight. He can take a good shot, and he's got OK power.

We also know what Duddy isn't, and that's a legitimate contender. It's been said a million times, but it's worth saying again: it almost seems a blessing that Lyell beat him before Top Rank could put Duddy in with Kelly Pavlik, who would have taken his head off.

Medina is a bit of a mystery. He's got a menacing nickname ("Murder Man") and a 78% knockout rate in his victories. He's just 23, and his two draws came within his first seven fights. His only loss was to Vanes Martirosyan on Top Rank's old Versus series back in 2008, where he was badly outclassed and took a beating, but showed plenty of fortitude and, to be blunt, balls.

As for his 23 wins and the 18 knockouts, the problem is there's nothing on which to really judge him. He hasn't beaten anyone of real consequence, and he'll also be coming up in weight for this fight.

But, there's those lingering Duddy doubts. Duddy lost to a guy that, on paper, he should not have. I strongly feel he should have lost to Smichet, who was last seen getting knocked out by Peter Manfredo Jr. last April. He's struggled with the old and faded.

And he's really never gotten any better.

This is a pick'em. It seems like Duddy should be the favorite just based on strength of schedule, but who am I to say that Medina isn't better than Billy Lyell just because he's yet to also beat John Duddy? I'm taking half a shot in the dark with this one, and I actually expect this to be a pretty entertaining fight, but I'm going with the "upset." Medina SD-10