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bernard's dunne this nation proud

NATTILY dressed, smile switched on, answers at the ready, he appeared just like someone prepared for a job interview.

And, in a way, that's what it was. As Bernard Dunne himself put it when announcing his retirement from the ring: "This is the start of the rest of my life."

He even had the cheek to warn Late Late Show host Ryan Tubridy that he was after his job somewhere down the line!

There's certainly plenty of scope for the 30-year-old Dubliner to find gainful employment, but he can be sure nothing will replace the sport that has been his life for the last 25 years.

He spoke of his plans to go around schools and clubs, endeavouring to inspire young people to make the most of their abilities. As someone who has been there and done that, he is the perfect role model.

He could certainly play a useful part in RTé's boxing coverage. His articulately expressed opinions and deep knowledge of the sport would make him a natural analyst or co-commentator.

Dunne also plans to "do a book", presumably his autobiography, but the success of such books nowadays largely depends on some dramatic revelation. Has Bernard been keeping some dark secret from us?

And there's always the fire officer job that he has done some training for, although he believes the current economic downturn might not be in his favour there.


But what happens if, perhaps in a year or two, he decides that maybe he was a bit hasty in declaring his retirement? Will he be tempted to give boxing another go?

I sincerely hope not, but the history of boxing shows that more ex-champions make comebacks than those who stick to their decisions to call it quits.

They sit impatiently watching fighters who might be getting all the hype and think, "I could still beat these guys".

Just now, Dunne is saying all the right things, like, "I had a good run and won a world and European titles, so I'm satisfied."

He certainly should be satisfied.

How many fighters can claim to have reached his peak of achievement, even if his biggest prize was diluted by being just a portion of a world title?

For the six months he held the World Boxing Association super-bantamweight belt last year, the WBA retained Celestino Caballero as its 'super' champion in that division. Dunne was always second best.

It would have been great if the two had met to decide the 'real' champion, but the gifted Panamanian would have been a hot favourite over our man, so perhaps it is best that the showdown never happened.

Irish fans rest contented that Bernard provided one of the most memorable occasions in our sporting history when he rose from the canvas to rip the belt from Ricardo Cordoba at the O2 last March.

If Kiko Martinez and Poonsawat Kratingdaenggym showed up the Dubliner's physical frailties against strong, aggressive opponents, we can live with that.

The good nights far outweighed the bad.