A son of Italian immigrants, Duva was born in 1922. By the 1950’s Duva owned a successful trucking company and was happily married. He began spending a great deal of time at the legendary Stillman’s Gym. Stillman’s Gym drew a slew of famous boxers and managers. Inspired, Lou sold his trucking company and started Garden Gym. He went onto handle 19 world champion boxers.
Duva explained, “I’ve been fighting all my life, so I know what it’s like to catch a punch. You don’t think I got this face being a ballet dancer, do you?” This wasn’t an exaggeration. He was famous for doing almost anything for his fighters, including throwing a few punches. Lou Duva was a larger than life character. The world has lost one of boxing’s greatest champions inside and outside of the ring.
This interview with Lou Duva was shot for the 1985 TV special Once a Star, produced by Thea Flaum and Tom Weinberg. Once A Star profiled former athletes in their post-sports lives. This footage of Duva was shot, but not used in the segment on former world heavyweight champion Floyd Patterson. Duva trained Patterson in the early 1960’s.
This footage exists nowhere else, and you would not be seeing it today if we hadn’t spent years digitizing and cataloging the collection of more than 50 hours of footage.
Once A Star #2, featuring former Chicago Bears Doug Atkins and Bill Wade; pioneer female jockey Robyn Smith; hockey’s Dennis and Bobby Hull; pool hustler and oddball raconteur Minnesota Fats; baseball commissioner Bowie Kuhn; and former world heavyweight champion Floyd Patterson. http://mediaburn.org/video/once-a-star-2-3/