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Fight Promoter Dan Duva Dies

January 30, 1996

NEW YORK (AP) _ Dan Duva, a major boxing promoter for almost 20 years, died Tuesday following a lengthy battle with cancer. He was 44.

Duva had been admitted to Columbia Presbyterian Hospital in New York Sunday suffering from complications related to his illness.

As the head of Main Events, a family enterprise, Duva promoted or co-promoted more than 100 world championship bouts, including 12 heavyweight title fights that accounted for more than $300 million in gross revenue.

Duva was one of boxing’s dominant promoters, along with Bob Arum and Don King. Those who have fought under the Main Events banner include Pernell Whitaker, Evander Holyfield, Sugar Ray Leonard, Tommy Hearns and Lennox Lewis.

``Dan was a terrific guy, a good promoter and good man,″ Arum said. ``Boxing business will really miss him. Dan had a good staff and a good organization, and they will be able to carry on. But replacing a guy like Dan will not be easy.″

Dino Duva, Dan’s younger brother, has been Main Events’ chief for the past year. Dan’s father, Lou, has long worked with Main Events fighters as a manager and trainer.

Dan Duva founded Main Events as a small family business and began making his mark in boxing in the late 1970s by showcasing fighters who at the time were relatively unknown.

Introduced to the boxing world in a monthly series of bouts televised from Ice World at Totowa, N.J., were the likes of Livingstone Bramble, Rocky Lockridge, Bobby Czyz, Johnny Bumphus, Vinny Pazienza, Tony Tucker and Mike McCallum. All became world champions.

Main Events was involved in world title fights in the late 1970s, but it wasn’t until 1981 that Duva moved his organization into the bigtime with the promotion of the Leonard-Hearns fight for the undisputed welterweight championship. It grossed nearly $40 million, pay-per-view and closed-circuit records for that time.

After the 1984 Olympics at Los Angeles, Duva signed medalists Holyfield, Whitaker, Meldrick Taylor, Mark Breland and Tyrell Bigs, helping to establish Main Events as a premier promoter.

Taylor became a junior welterweight and welterweight champion; Breland won a welterweight title; Whitaker won the lightweight, junior welterweight, welterweight and junior middleweight titles, and Holyfield became undisputed cruiserweight and heavyweight champion.

Duva was involved in the three Holyfield-Riddick Bowe fights, which grossed more than $100 million in pay-per-view revenue.

``This is a sad day for me because I lost a great friend, and equally sad day for the boxing world,″ Holyfield said. ``Dan was a man who gave me an opportunity and I’ll never forget him for that.″

``I owe a lot to Dan, he was not only an important par of my career, but an invaluable part of my life,″ Whitaker said. ``I will miss him terribly.″

Duva was graduated from Rutgers and the Seton Hall School of Law and practiced law from 1976 to 1980.

Survivors, in addition to his father and brother, include his wife, Katherine, daughters Lisa and Nicole, son Bryan and sisters Donna Brooks, Denise MacPhail and Deanne Boorman.

A wake will be held from 2 p.m. to 4 p.m. and from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m. on Wednesday and Thursday at the Festa Memorial Home in Totowa. The funeral will be Friday at 9 a.m. at the Church of the Holy Angel in Little Falls, N.J.

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