Monday, March 23, 2009

Dunne the hard way

It wasn't just the Irish rugby team who went nuclear on Saturday. After a few years of threatening both potential excellence and mediocrity, Bernard Dunne became a bonafide world champ in a cracking scrap with Ricardo Cordoba in the O2 arena. We said here Friday we'd little enough faith in the man as a boxer but he came up with the shots when he needed them sure enough, stopping Cordoba with a blistering combo of hits in the eleventh round.

He needed it too. Cos for long spells of a thriller, Cordoba edged it. Dunne looked lively early on and knocked the Panamanian in the third round but Cordoba had a class and ease of movement that allowed him take control and get hits in without getting hit himself. He pummelled Dunne in the fifth, had the Dubliner on the canvas twice and on the edge of being stopped; in truth, another ten seconds in round five and the ref was stepping in with Dunne on the ropes and unable to fight back.

But Dunne hung on, settled and though Cordoba looked a tad sharper, he was still throwing punches in the second last round. Dunne - four rounds behind on the judges scorecards it emerged afterwards (and boy was Jumpthefence glad that fact came out, cos listening to the bias of Jimmy McGee and Dave McAuley, you'd think the Irishman was in total control - is there any chance RTE could get someone without the green blinkers to analyse a fight as it's going on, maybe have Mick Dowling ringside for some proper information?) - needed something and he delivered big time. A couple of decent smacks landed on Cordoba and the legs buckled. The champ was brave and got up a couple of times but the jig was up well before the ref stopped things.

Dunne had proven a bit of heart can go a long way. He'd gotten up off the canvas to win; something he needed after Martinez. He'd shown some punching power himself to stop a serious fighter. It's the r word again - no, not recession, redemption. Onwards and upwards, it'll be interesting to see what Dunne does from here.

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