WHEN I first heard that John Duddy had announced his retirement I really believed it couldn’t be true.
I was confident that whatever crisis had caused this, would be overcome and that John would appear to announce that he had reconsidered and that everything was back on track.
You see John’s a real Derryman and because of that we almost feel we all should be part of any decisionin relation to his future.
Of course in the real world only John Duddy can make decisions about his own future but because John is also part of our dreams, we like to feel that somehow we are involved.
The more I heard about the reasoning behind his decision, the more I reluctantly accepted that ‘The Derry Destroyer’ was, indeed, hanging up his gloves for good.
Although saddened by Duddy’s retirement, like his many local fans, I’m glad that he leaves the ring with no obvious or permanent damage.
John is a totally down-to-earth person with no airs or graces and deserves huge credit for what he has achieved thus far.
Every year ex-Derry City players, known as ‘Derry City Legends’ play a charity game against Eddie Kerr’s ‘Rest of the World. In fact, Eddie had picked a very young, very fit side with a couple of guys who really didn’t hold back in the tackles.
Most of their heavy challenges seemed to be aimed at John who had very sportingly agreed to turn out for the ‘Legends.’ I was looking at a boxer who was possibly in line for world title shot shipping some serious tackles in a charity football match in Creggan and he point blank refused to be substituted to save himself further punishment!
That’s the type of person John is and indeed that’s the type of fighter he was.
He gave 100 per cent and I believe the little story I have just told explains why so many of us have so much respect for John.
Whatever venture he now decides to try, we can only wish him the best of everything - He certainly deserves it!
Read more from the Doc every Tuesday in the Derry Journal