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John Duddy says goodbye to boxing

He had an HBO fight worth $100,000 plus a percentage of ticket sales sitting on the table for his next fight.

That apparently wasn't enough for middleweight contender "Ireland's" John Duddy, who  turned it down and announced his retirement on Tuesday.

ESPN.com first reported the announcement on Tuesday.

The abrupt announcement came as a shock to everyone in the boxing community, especially since Duddy, 31,  was set to take on Andy Lee on March 12 on an HBO undercard at the Foxwoods Resort and Casino in Uncasville, Ct.

It was a fight that would've likely led to a title match later this summer.

Duddy said in a statement: "After a great deal of soul-searching, I have decided to retire from boxing. In many ways, continuing to fight would be the easy course of action. I have been offered the opportunity to fight Andy Lee on HBO for a purse in excess of $100,000. A win would put me in position to fight for a world championship. This is not an opportunity that I cast aside lightly."

Lou DiBella, who's promoting the fight, is in talks with HBO for a replacement, according to ESPN.com. He's trying to pit one of his fighters, Peter Manfredo Jr., against Lee (24-1, 18 KOs).

Duddy (29-2, 18 KOs) was a big draw in New York, often putting on near-capacity fights at the Theater at Madison Square Garden and the Manhattan Center. A win against Lee could've meant a shot at WBC 160-pound champion Sergio Martinez in the near future. 

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