Ten-Count for Lou Duva

By Robert Ecksel on March 10, 2017
Ten-Count for Lou Duva
Lou Duva actually cared about the welfare of his fighters. (Illustration: Robert Ecksel)

An emotional time bomb to some, a well-worn security blanket to others, Duva was old school and one of the last of his kind…

“I love what I’m doing. It’s my life. When it’s time to go, I’ll probably be fighting to get out of the casket. I’ll be yelling at the priest instead of a referee.”—Lou Duva

Hall of Fame trainer Lou Duva passed away Wednesday at St. Joseph’s Hospital in Paterson, New Jersey, of natural causes. He was 95.

A former gym rat turned boxer, trainer, manager and promoter, Duva was one of boxing’s good guys, the rare man who actually cared about the welfare of his fighters.

In his jack-of-all-trades capacity, Duva worked with 19 world champions including Evander Holyfield, Lennox Lewis, Pernell Whitaker, Joey Giardello, Mike McCallum Meldrick Taylor, Bobby Czyz, and countless others during his seven decades in the fight game.

A mainstay of Main Events, which was founded by his son Dan in 1978, he was voted “Manager of the Year” in 1985 and “Trainer of the Year” in 1987.

Duva was born on to Italian immigrants May 28, 1922, in New York City, and the family later moved Paterson, New Jersey.

An irascible character that was an emotional time bomb to some, a well-worn security blanket to others, Lou Duva was old school and one of the last of his kind.

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  1. NYIrish 07:59am, 03/16/2017

    First saw Lou Duva when he brought a team to the NYC Golden Gloves in 1969. Saw him 20 years later in Richard Vescusi’s Heights Gym in Houston. He was training Holyfield. I approached him and said; “Al Gavin told me to keep an eye on you down here.” He lit up and we talked fights. He mentioned he was having trouble keeping Evanders’ weight up. Lou asked about an “Italian Feast” that was going on. I gave him directions to St. Anne’s Church and he, Evander and a couple of sparring partners went. He was a real pleasant guy that cared for his fighters and boxing people. It was a pleasure to spend a little time with him.

  2. Arthur Forman 10:19am, 03/11/2017

    agree with peter’s comments
    wonderful elegy for one of the boxing greats

  3. Irish Frankie Crawford Beat Saijo aka Gimpel 05:57am, 03/11/2017

    Chimpa got chimped at the Belasco!!!! Didn’t take the hint….kept coming forward and everytime he landed something hard Duno countered with something twice as hard like a straight from the shoulder short right….right smack on the button!

  4. Bob Canobbio - CompuBox 04:50pm, 03/10/2017

    Lou & his son Dan were the first to embrace CompuBox as a training & analysis tool.  We’re forever grateful.

  5. Irish Frankie Crawford Beat Saijo aka Gimpel 12:39pm, 03/10/2017

    God rest his eternal soul….in his heart he knew that Haugen beat Paz all three times!

  6. peter 09:06am, 03/10/2017

    Lou was the soul—and face—of NJ boxing for many years. The last paragraph of this article is perfectly worded. And your accompanying character-sketch of Duva is priceless. RIP, Lou.

  7. Moon Man 08:36am, 03/10/2017

    Remember seeing Duva charge Roger Mayweather after the Paz-Mayweather fight. haha. The guy went postal. Mayweather or someone cut Duva with a punch during the scuffle.. Duva also handled Tony Ayala Jr. back in the day. Remember meeting Duva back in the mid-80’s, he was working with Mark Breland at the time,  and asking him about Ayala Jr. Clearly he was disgusted about Tony throwing away a shot at becoming an all time great and making millions. Ayala Jr. turned out to be a scumbag and prison was where he belonged apparently. What a waste of great talent. Anyhow, RIP Mr. Duva. You will be missed. Lot of memories over the years.

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