Duncan stepping up as fighter, salesman

June 09, 1994|By Alan Goldstein | Alan Goldstein,Sun Staff Writer

After a recent training session at his Broadway gym, veteran manager-trainer Mack Lewis decided it was time to tell welterweight Wade Duncan the facts of life.

"Wade is always griping that he doesn't get enough fights locally," Lewis said. "He thinks he should be on every show.

"I told him that there's more to just putting on good fights, especially on the club level. A promoter wants to use guys who hustle tickets."

Duncan (11-1-2), who fights unbeaten Richard McGill (7-0-1), of Lima, Ohio, in the eight-round co-feature at Martin's West tonight, appeared to get the message. He quickly sold his 25-ticket allotment from promoter Stuart Satosky.

But Duncan, who works for his father as a plumber's apprentice, said that moonlighting as a ticket salesman may have led to his only defeat -- a six-round loss to Alphonzo Dyer here last September.

"I was so busy selling tickets, I think I lost my concentration in the ring that night," he said.

Duncan, a stocky 5 feet 6, favors a bore-in style, hoping to wear down his rivals with relentless pressure.

"I want him to use his offense as his defense," said Lewis. "But Wade has a tendency to get wild, and it takes more out of a fighter when he misses a punch than when he connects."

But Duncan, who turns 24 next Saturday, has come a long way since first turning up at Lewis' gym six years ago.

"I'd always wanted to be a fighter, since I was a little kid and had a Muhammad Ali doll," he said. "I was only 7 when my father took me to the Baltimore Arena to see Sugar Ray Leonard's debut. I guess I got caught up in all the excitement."

Duncan quickly discovered that even three minutes of sparring can prove a major challenge.

"The first time I got to box in this gym, I was so tired, I felt I was going to die," he said with a soft laugh.

But Duncan proved a quick learner. He turned pro in 1989, fighting a four-round draw with Chris Lucas. But after two more fights, he was sidelined for eight months with back problems.

"I kept hearing something pop in training, and finally they found out I had a stress fracture," he said.

Since returning to action, Duncan also has exhibited more of a punch, stopping seven of his past nine opponents.

"I can't start looking for knockouts," he said. "That's not my style. I've just got to keep constant pressure on my opponent. And I've got to keep focused."

And, as his trainer asserts, he also has to listen.

"Wade doesn't take advice easily," Lewis said. "He can do it my way or the hard way. I know he's got the heart and guts of a fighter. If he fights smart, he'll keep winning."

Yes, but can he sell tickets?

NOTE: Rockville middleweight Les Johnson was scratched from the co-feature, complaining of tendinitis in his shoulder. He will be replaced by Andrew Council (20-2) of Washington, who will meet Aaron McLaurine (12-7) in a rematch. Council won a close decision over McLaurine last month.

FIGHT FACTS

Who: Wade Duncan (11-1-2), Baltimore, vs. Richard McGill (7-0-1), Lima, Ohio, welterweights, eight-round main event

Where: Martin's West, Woodlawn

When: Tonight, first bout 8 p.m.

Promoter: Stuart Satosky

Tickets: $35, $25 and $20

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