By Robert Coster
The date is March 21. The place is the 9000-seat O2 Auditorium in Dublin. That day, native son and Irish boxing hero Bernard Dunne will step into the ring to challenge WBA super bantamweight champion Ricardo Cordoba of Panama. For Irish boxing fans, the upcoming fight has historic connotations as Dunne will be the first Dublin-born boxer to challenge for a world title in Dublin. “For Irish boxing this will simply be a momentous event,” predicts promoter Brian Peters.
But Irish fans, hoping for a surprise triumph by Dunne – the underdog in the fight – are looking to historical parallels between Bernard and another Irish hero, Barry McGuigan, the “Clones Cyclone,” who galvanized the Celtic nation in the 80s. Fans will point out that McGuigan won his title (also WBA) from a Panamenian boxer, the great Eusebio Pedroza.
On that night, McGuigan stepped into the ring with a 26-1 record; Dunne’s record is almost identical at 27-1. Both McGuigan and Dunne were born in the month of February. Barry won the European title in the month of November (in year 1985) as did Dunne (year 2006).
“I definitely have Barry McGuigan’s historic feat in mind and it energizes me,” says Dunne.
WBA champion Ricardo”Maestrito” Cordoba, considered one of the most technically skilled boxers around, scoffs at the historical parallel, “Pedroza was Pedroza and Ricardo Cordoba is Ricardo Cordoba. Once he steps into the ring with me, Bernard Dunne will realize what he is up against.”
Will the hometown advantage for Dunne be another factor to take into consideration the day of the fight? Says Cordova promoter Jacques Deschamps, “Ricardo will have to make abstraction of the loud partisans of Dunne. But, without taking anything away from Bernard who is an excellent boxer, he has never been against a boxer with the all-around skills of Ricardo Cordoba. It will be Ricardo’s opportunity to prove, in front of such an audience, that he’s the best 122-pounder in the world.”