Rest in Peace, Lou Duva



Rest in Peace, Lou Duva

The sport churns out characters like Hersheys puts out kisses, and oh yes, Lou Duva was one of them.

Short and squat and gruff and loveable and quotable and excitable and to his core, a boxing guy, a lifer.

He tried other things, but now that his time has passed, and we sum up the life and times of the New Jersey based fight guy, who died at age 94 on Wednesday, we can boil it down to this: Duva was a boxing guy.

You tuned in to the fight on network TV in the 80s into the 90s, you saw him, and you maybe heard him, after a bout, remarking how wondrously his kid did, and how the judges need new spectacles, or what have you. His company, his family brand, was Main Events, and he ate and slept and lived and breathed pugilism.

Son Dino spoke to NYFIGHTS about the passing. “It’s a sad time and at the same time he lived 94 plus years, he had a great life,” Dino said. “It’s a sad time, you never can prepare for it, but we’re very happy he got to live a great life, a long life. And we so appreciate all the well wishes received from all over. He lived such a long and accomplished life, and I’m going to try and make it like a celebration.”

The arrangements are as follows: On Sunday, at Festa Funeral home in Totowa, NJ from 3-7pm.

The funeral is Monday, 10 am, St. Mary’s Church in Paterson, NJ.

Duva was an Army man, then got out, and fought pro, then ran a trucking business. In the 70s, he got deeper into the boxing business, and with son Dan using his lawyer skills, an empire began being built. The family ran shows in Totowa, and began to attract championship grade talent. Rocky Lockridge, Bobby Czyz, Livingstone Bramble, and then it really ramped up in the mid 80s. Mark Breland, Evander Holyfield, Meldrick Taylor, these became the Main Events building blocks. Dan did the deal making, Lou managed and trained and talked. His stature and profile grew and Duva become one of those persons, one of those faces, linked with boxing. He entered into the International Boxing Hall of Fame in 1998.

In 1989, he was tabbed “boxing’s most ubiquitous personality” by Sports Illustrated. Some of that because of his combustible ways; he was known for barking and almost biting his way into the ring after fights, whether to give a dopey ref the what for, or yell at a foe who’d rabbit punched his kid.

“I've been fighting all my life, so I know what it's like to catch a punch,” said Duva to SI. “You don't think I got this face being a ballet dancer, do you?”

Tim Smith wrote Lou's autobiography with him. “He was truly an original,” Smith said.  “A true ambassador for the sport. To touch as many eras in boxing that he did – glory years in the sport – will never be duplicated. People pay lip service to putting family first but he lived it and embraced boxers into that fold. It's truly a sad day.”

Breland, living in Brooklyn, shared his thoughts on the man: “He was very passionate about boxing, everybody he worked with, he worked hard with them. Really cared about the fighters. He was there for the fighter. He was so outgoing, you could hear him in a corner! You couldn’t beat that! To me, he was a great motivator. Georgie Benton did more of the training part, Lou was the motivator. Great team…he was a great guy, the whole family.  I never had a problem with any of them. Dino, Dan…We lost a good one. Always there for his fighters!”

Shelly Finkel managed so many Main Events fighters and was in the business trenches with Lou as much as almost anyone.

“He had two marriages, one to his wife and one to boxing, he just lived it,” Finkel told us. “Nothing but boxing and his family. He understood the sport, and brought everyone in the family into the business. He was one of a kind, a Damon Runyon character, tough outside but soft inside.”

“The most important thing to him first and foremost was his family,” Dino continued. “Everything he did was about his family.. as much as boxing was important to him, family was what it was all about. He acted like he had two families, his blood family, but also his boxing family he treated just like his family too. Anyone close to him, he’d fight to the end for you. Everything about him was about his family.”

Lou Duva is survived by his son Dino and his wife Margi, daughters Donna Duva Brooks and her husband Tommy Brooks, Deanne Boorman and her husband Mike Boorman, and Denise; daughter in law Kathy Duva, widow of Dan Duva; grandchildren Cassandra and her husband Shaun, Max and partner Tabitha Hugdahl, Nicole, Alex, Lisa and her husband Will Jamieson, Louis, Amanda, Bryan, Deena, Michael and Scott; and great grandchildren Shaun Jr., Carter, Luc and Ryan. Lou Duva was pre-deceased by his wife Enes, and eldest son Dan.

Founder/editor Michael Woods got addicted to boxing in 1990, when Buster Douglas shocked the world with his demolition of the then-impregnable Mike Tyson. The Brooklyn-based journalist has covered the sport since for ESPN The Magazine,, Bad Left Hook and RING. His journalism career started with NY Newsday in 1999. Michael Woods is also an accomplished blow by blow and color man, having done work for Top Rank, DiBella Entertainment, EPIX, and for Facebook Fightnight Live, since 2017.

Continue Reading