PATERSON, N.J. (AP) — Boxing Hall of Famer Lou Duva, who handled the careers of 19 champions including heavyweight titlist Evander Holyfield, died Wednesday at the age of 94.
The colorful Duva died of natural causes at a hospital in Paterson, where he lived, his son said in a statement released by the family.
A gruff, down-to-earth manager and trainer who was generous with his pupils, Lou Duva had a career that spanned seven decades. Besides Olympic medalists like Holyfield, he also handled welterweight champions Pernell Whitaker and Meldrick Taylor. His first titlist was middleweight Joey Giardiello, who won his crown in 1963.
The son of Italian immigrants, Duva and his family built the promotional company Main Events (founded in 1978) into one of boxing's powerhouses. Duva was voted "Manager of the Year" in 1985 by the Boxing Writers Association of America. In 1987, the World Boxing Association chose Duva as "Trainer of the Year."
Duva was enshrined in the International Boxing Hall of Fame (1998), as well as the New Jersey Boxing Hall of Fame and the National Italian American Sports Hall of Fame.
He is survived by a son, Dino, and daughters Donna Duva Brooks, Deanne Boorman and Denise. He was preceded in death by his wife, Enes, and a son, Dan, whose wife, Kathy, helped run Main Events.
A viewing will be held Sunday at Festa Funeral Home in Totowa, with a funeral Monday at St Mary's Roman Catholic Church in Paterson.