Boxing

Interview With legendary Trainer And Manager Lou Duva

06.04.07 - By James Slater: Lou Duva is about as experienced a guy in boxing as you could ever hope to come across today. With nineteen world champions to his credit, Lou has proved himself as one of the greats time and again. Lou turns eighty-five in May yet shows no signs of slowing down. As passionate about the sport as ever, the veteran is currently working with undefeated heavyweight prospect Mike Marrone - who meets fellow undefeated big guy Malachy Farrell on April 20th. Graciously giving this writer some of his time, Lou was keen to speak about his heavyweight slugger among other things.

James Slater: It's great to talk with you, Lou. What is it about Mike Marrone that you like?

Lou Duva: For me, it was always about talent [with fighters] but now I'm kind of off that. I look for character more these days. If a guy has character, that's what I'm interested in. Mike has it. I can't say enough about him, I think he's a great prospect.. I've been with him since he was nine years old. He used to come to the gym back when I had guys like Vinny Pazienza. He would come to the gym after school, and he did odd jobs for me. Then, one day, I sat him down and talked with him. He wanted to learn all the time. Then, what do you know, a few years later I get a phone call from Gus [Curren, Marrone's assistant trainer] and he tells me Mike has just won the Florida Golden Gloves.

J.S: Is he a big puncher?

L.D: Yeah, he can punch. I wouldn't say he was a one punch KO kind of guy, but he wears you down. He can punch, sure. He's graduated high school and right now he's in commercial school. I want to see him do everything right in life.

J.S: So you're a father figure to him, so to speak?

L.D: I was just about to say, I'm a father figure to him, yes. He's a great kid. The heavyweight division needs some new guys coming up. Some new blood.

J.S: His next fight, with Farrell. As you know they're both unbeaten, is it a risky fight?

L.D: Yeah, it's a tough fight. But I think Mike's ready to take that next step. Farrell's a good fighter. But Mike wants to take that step up. The fight will be on Showtime. Ideally I'd like to match Mike with Chris Arreola afterwards. I'm working on making that fight.

J.S: It's good to see two unbeaten heavyweights taking each other on.

L.D: Yes, and the fight has nationalities to it, you know what I mean? We have Irish American and Italian American. That's how it used to be in boxing in the old days, with Marciano and those guys.

J.S: Just talking about you, Lou. I know you've turned eighty. Is your enthusiasm still as strong?

L.D: Well, I turn eighty-five on May 28th. I still love boxing. Sometimes I hate it too, But I love to hate it! I'd really like to come over there to England again. I've been there many times. As a matter of fact, I'd love to bring "Duva's Gladiators" to London for a tournament. (At this point Lou asks me how the "Contender" show went in Newcastle last week, with the U.S
Vs. U.K tourney. I tell him that the U.S team won!). I've sent an e-mail to Frank [Warren]. I hope we can work something out, I'd love to bring my guys over to London. We'd have world champions, or former world champions, working the corners.

J.S: That would be great. Have you any other prospects that you're working with right now?

L.D: I've got Mike Stafford. He's a heavyweight who's 1-0 right now. You'll be hearing a lot about him in the future.

J.S: Just going back to the subject of Marrone. Has he ever been down in a pro fight ?

L.D: He's been down. One time, I think it was. But he got right back up and knocked the other guy out. Just like Rocky Marciano, when he got decked by Archie Moore. He said to himself, "What the hell am I doing down here?" Then he came back and he knocked Moore out. Like I said, it's all about character. Mike showed he had the character to get up from a knockdown.

J.S: Talking about character. Is there any way back for Audley Harrison in your opinion?

L.D: Yeah. There's a way back. I think he needs a father figure, though. You know, boxing is mostly all mental and he's [Harrison] been a mental case a couple of times. I've met him a few times and I told him that if he didn't want to listen I was not the guy for him. He tries to outsmart himself at times. You know, if you think you don't need to listen because you've done all that good work in the amateurs, with the Olympics and all that, you're not going to make it. He was KO'd in his last fight. He has to sit down and ask himself, "Why was I knocked out, what was I doing in sparring, what was I doing the day before the fight?" In the end he may come to the conclusion that he was really knocked out by himself.

J.S: Well, I think he could do with someone like you training him. Anyway, I want to thank you for your time, Lou. It's been great talking with you.

L.D: Okay, thanks. Bye, bye.

Article posted on 06.04.2007



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