ONE OF boxing's renaissance men, this 50+ year veteran of the ring has done it all: boxing as an amateur and pro, matchmaker, manager, cornerman and promoter. Duff, whose real name was Monek Prager, was born June 7, 1929 in Krakow, Poland. His father was a rabbi who moved the family to England in the late 1930s in the face of what he correctly saw as the Nazi menace. He took up boxing during the war and won most of his amateur bouts, which numbered more than 100.
At age 15, Duff turned pro (illegally -- the age requirement was 16) he won 61 of his 69 fights in the paid ranks as a lightweight and welterweight. Unable to dent the world rankings, he retired although he was only 19. After a short stint as a sewing machine salesman, Duff returned to boxing and began making matches throughout England.
By the late-1950s, promoter Jack Solomon's ironclad control of British boxing began to loosen. Duff, as a matchmaker, along with manager Jarvis Astaire and promoter Harry Levine became key players over the next few decades. During that time, Duff has been involved with 19 world champions and nearly every world-class British fighter including Jim Watt, Alan Minter, John Conteh, Terry Downes and Howard Winstone. He has also worked with champions Maurice Hope, John (The Beast) Mugabi, and Cornelius Boza Edwards.
Duff is generally regarded as one of the most knowledgeable and accomplished men in the history of the sport.
Born: June 7, 1929
Died: March 22, 2014