Legend Lou Duva: At 84, I May Work With King; Peter Will KO Toney; Pacquiao May Get Punchy

05.01.07 - Interview by Michael Marley, It's not every freakin' day that you get to talk to a living legend. So today was a special day as I heard the bulldog bark of Big Lou Duva on the other end of the phone. Big Lou had just landed at the airport and was being whisked off to the Sam Peter-James Toney press conference.

Legend Lou will be looking at 85 candles come next May 28 but, despite heart attacks (plural), the tragic death of his son, top promoter Dan Duva at age 44 and a family feud which enveloped Main Events after Dan's death, the manager-trainer who is about to mark an incredible 75 years in the busted beak business keeps on plugging away..

We spoke about his son Dino's fighter, puncher Peter, about some of Lou's on the rise prospects and about a curious boxing marriage that may be about to happen. Lou offered a terse "no comment" when I informed him that Carl Moretti had quit Main Events, Lou's old company, to go to work for Luigi DiBella.

Legend Lou is boxing's E.F. Hutton. When he talks, you listen so let's get to it. (Speaking of audio, would it be fair for me to say that Legend Lou's ears look like a cab going down Seventh Avenue with the doors open?)

Q. Lou, your brother, Carl Duva, got you started in boxing at age 10 and 75 years later, you're still in the thick of it. What's this I hear about you and your former arch rival, Don King, hooking up?

A. Look, King is doing some things with my son, Dino. So we got to talking. Don is different, he does things different than I do but there is no denying the man is a great promoter. I got to give him that. Don said he wants to sit down and talk about me handling some guys, training some guys, for him. One thing you know Don can do is talk so I'll listen. I will see if it makes sense.

Q. No question, Lou, the most exciting fighter on the planet now is Manny Pacquiao. Give the readers your take on Pacman as he moves forward.

A. Yes, he is an exciting fighter. But he gets hit too much in every fight. He is a catcher. He catches everything the other guy throws. I don't like that there. I think he has a solid chin but, geez, how many punches can one guy take? You don't have a long career like that.

Q. Lou, the consensus is that boxing has gone to hell in a hand basket. What's wrong with our business, our sport?

A. Look here at last weekend. Football all over TV, all over radio, all over the newspapers. I did not see one line anywhere in any paper about boxing. The promoters and the TV guys don't realize they have too many $50 PPV shows. The guy who makes $300 or $400 a week, that guy can't be throwing $50 into PPV boxing every month. Not only that, without the networks like we used to have, you can't get your fighters known, get them a fan base.

Q. You've always got hot prospects, Legend. Who should the fans keep an eye on, who is coming out of Pugilistic Professor Lou Duva's fight factory these days?

A. I got a heavyweight, kid name Mike Marrone. He can punch, he walks right through people there. He is about 20 years old and has a 16-0 record. I will bring Oscar Diaz back. He lost that great war in San Antonio (to cross town rival Golden Johnson) but he is chomping at the bit and I got some good offers for him. Would I rematch him Golden? I don't care either way but I got better offers now.

Q. Your son, Dino, has a lot of time and money invested in Samuel Peter. I know you will down there doing anything you can to help Team Peter. How does the Showtime rematch shape up?

A. I won't kid you on Peter. He is raw, a raw talent, and he needs some more seasoning. He needs more balance. He needs better defense. He needs some adjustments but he is a natural born puncher. Rocky Marciano, who was my friend, and all them there guys always said punchers are born, not made. It's true and Sam is a born puncher. I see him knocking this Toney out. Toney is older and he took too many punches in the first bout. Sam will bang him out.

Q. Where are you and The Don going to break bread, Legend?

A. (Laughs) I think that there will be our first argument, our first beef. I know King he wants to go get that there soul food, with the ribs and the fried chicken and all that. Me, you know I want to get my macaroni, my meatballs and all my other Italian foods. Maybe we will have to go to both types of joints, lol.

Article posted on 05.01.2007

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