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Lou Duva (1922 - 2017)

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Lou Duva (1922 - 2017)

Lou Duva, the legendary boxing trainer and manager who worked with Evander Holyfield, died Wednesday, March 8, 2017, according to multiple news sources. He was 94.

The Boxing Hall of Fame member died of natural causes at a hospital in Paterson, New Jersey, his son, Dino, said in a statement released by the family.


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The charismatic Duva worked in boxing for more than seven decades. Duva and his family founded the influential boxing promotion company Main Events in 1978. Duva trained and managed 19 champion boxers including heavyweights Holyfield and Lennox Lewis, welterweight Pernell Whittaker, and middleweight Hector “Macho” Camacho.

Duva was born May 28, 1922, to Italian immigrants in New York City. He joined the Army after World War II broke out. He was at a training base in Mississippi when he got into a fight with two lieutenants when he was defending a black woman who was being harassed on a bus. He was then sent to Texas and assigned to be a boxing instructor.

After the war, he became a boxer but realized his talents were better suited for the business end of the sport. He opened his own boxing gym and became friends with boxing legend Rocky Marciano. He was reportedly one of the last people with whom Marciano had spoken before the boxer died in a 1969 plane crash.

Duva's Main Events put on one of the company's biggest fights in 1981 with the first Sugar Ray Leonard vs. Thomas Hearns bout. The fight would gross $40 million.

He was voted manager of the year in 1985 by the boxing writers and trainer of the year in 1987 by the World Boxing Association.

Duva is survived by his son, Dino; daughters Donna Duva-Brooks, Deanne Boorman, and Denise Duva; and daughter-in-law Kathy Duva, who currently is the president of Main Events.

Dino Duva said, “The overwhelming number of calls and sympathy wishes from so many friends and associates shows how much our father was loved and respected. We sincerely appreciate the support from everyone.”

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