Born: June 23, 1977
Died: March 8, 2017
Louis Duva was born May 28, 1922 in New York City and grew up in Totowa, one of seven kids born to Italian immigrants. The Duvas struggled during the Depression. Lou worked multiple jobs as a boy in the 1930s to help support the family. An old brother introduced Lou to boxing when he was 10. As a teenager, he worked in the Civilian Conservation Corps and then enlisted in the Army during World War II.
While in basic training in Jackson, Mississippi, Lou defended an African-American woman who was being insulted on a public bus by two young lieutenants. He laid them out and was transferred off the base to Camp Hood in Killeen, Texas—where he became a boxing instructor. After the war, he tried his hand at pro boxing with limited success, but built a successful trucking business, which he sold in the 1950s.
Lou used his trucking profits to open a boxing gym and, in 1963, managed middleweight Joey Giardella—the first of 19 champions he would train and/or manage. Among the fighters Lou trained were Evander Holyfield, Pernell Whitaker, Michael Moorer, Tyrell Biggs, Mark Breland and Andrew Golota. During the 1970s, Lou’s son, Dan, founded Main Events, which went on to promote some of the era’s greatest fights, including Leonard-Hearns I.
In 1985, Lou was named Manager of the Year. One year later, Holyfield became the heavyweight champion, leading to Lou’s being named Trainer of the Year in 1987. Lou was inducted into the International Boxing Hall of Fame in 1998. He passed away in 2017 at the age of 94.