Memories of Lou Duva, Trainer and Promoter Extraordinaire
Editorial By Robert Brizel, Head Real Combat Media Boxing Correspondent
*Photo Credit: Robert Brizel, Real Combat Media
The weekend date in Atlantic City was March 6, 2010. For the 88 year old Lou Duva, International, New Jersey and Italian Hall of Fame boxing trainer and promoter extraordinaire, it might have been his last appearance as the trainer of a fighter. The ring was on a stage, with no walkup steps. As his welterweight fighter, Alexis Camacho, emerged from the shadows, Lou pulled out a small silver camera and had a friend take his picture with Camacho. Lou looked confident, and happy to be there. It was a main event. There was no television, no crowds or no bright lights. At the Tropicana Hotel & Casino in Atlantic City, New Jersey, Lou Duva, the boxing trainer of so many champions, made his last stand as boxing’s Casey Stengel, the grand old man and senior trainer in the sport.
Alexis Camacho (no relation to the late Hector Macho Camacho), a 17-2 Atlantic City welterweight southpaw, battled fellow Atlantic City welterweight contender Shamone Alvarez at 147 ½ pounds super welterweight for both combatants that night. Ironically, it would be Alvarez’ last ring win. Alvarez lost four subsequent bouts between 2010 and 2012 in the 21 month span following this bout, and faded off the map. His career was over.
Against Alexis Camacho, the aged cornerman Duva got a unique foot war chess match, which was finally decided when Alvarez maneuvered his front right foot on the outside of Camacho’s front left foot, swung his left hand lead and left hook with command to knock Camacho out at 1:30 of the seventh round. It was the rarest of finishes, a Lou Duva fighter beaten by his opponent’s meticulous superior footwork combined with ring generalship.
Alexis Camacho also continued his career, and actually won four of seven bouts which followed between 2013 and 2015. His career ended at 21-6 with 19 knockouts, when Erickson Lubin knocked him out in the second round in Dallas, Texas, in November 2015.
After the Alvarez versus Camacho card ended, this reporter sat down with Lou Duva for a
Heart felt chat, and heard the memories of a lifetime. For Lou Duva, it had been a long
Ride. There were many boxing memories to reminisce about. For historical purposes, it
was Lou’s last corner appearance as the trainer.
While boxing fans remember Lou for his physical collapse during the Andrew Golota versus Riddick Bowe I heavyweight bout televised at Madison Square Garden, Duva was much more. He trained such champions as Evander Holyfield, Joey Giardello, Mark Breland, Lennox Lewis, Alex Ramos, Mike McCallum, Vinnie Pazienza, Arturo Gatti, Livingston Bramble, Hector Camacho Sr., Tony Tucker, Bobby Czyz, Rocky Lockridge, and many, many more. Upon hearing of his death at age 94 on March 8, 2017, this reporter went back into his photographic archive from 2010. Sure enough, Lou Duva’s photo showed up from that forgotten night in Atlantic City long ago. It was not a case of winning or losing. Lou Duva was just happy to be there.