Born in 1929 as Monek Prager in Kraków, Poland, Duff’s parents emigrated to England in the late 1930s during the rise of the Nazi Party. He began boxing aged 15, and retired four years later. After a brief period as a salesman, he became involved in promoting with Jack Solomons and Jarvis Astaire, eventually forging a relationship with BBC TV.
Duff was involved with 50 world champions and has shaped the careers of many world class British fighters, including Frank Bruno, Joe Calzaghe, John Conteh, Terry Downes, Lloyd Honeyghan, Maurice Hope, Charlie Magri, Alan Minter, John H Stracey, Jim Watt and Howard Winstone.
At one time, Duff had a near monopoly on UK boxing, but retired from promoting after the rise of Frank Warren, which was attributed to the latter's partnerships with ITV and SKY. In an interview with Alan Hubbard for the Independent back in 1999, Duff revealed:
“Maybe it was a mistake on my part. I never tried to bury the BBC. I stayed loyal to them for 33 years despite all sorts of offers. When Sky first came along I could have written my own ticket but I didn't. When the BBC ended our deal I believe it started the rot which has seen them lose so much major sport.”
Duff survived many battles with rival promoters, and was often the target of threats. East End gangsters The Krays once sent his wife a flower box containing a dead rat after he barred them from a show.
Duff was inducted into the International Boxing Hall of fame in 1999. One of his famous quotes to have been repeated many times by senior boxing figures:
“If you want loyalty, buy a dog.”
Up until his retirement, Duff was a colossal figure in boxing. May he Rest in Peace.
Read the original article on news.boxrec.com
- Alan Minter
- Frank Bruno
- John Conteh