Last weekend I attended pal’s 60th birthday celebrations. In one group conversation, a fellow guest remarked about how, these days, he had noticed that news of contemporaries dying was beginning to occur with growing frequency.
The following (Sunday) morning, I awoke to hear the announcement of the passing of Mickey Duff, one of the legends of British boxing, in which for decades he played a prominent role as promoter, match fixer and manager. To be fair, at 84 he wasn’t exactly a contemporary, but nevertheless the Duffmeister was a fondly-remembered figure from my youthful heyday when boxing, for all its occasionally suspect business practices and decisions, was a personal sporting passion.
In league with Jarvis Astaire, Harry Levine and Terry Lawless, from the 1960s onwards – the era after Jack Solomons but before the advent of Frank Warren – he dominated the world of professional boxing in the days of the likes of commentators Harry Carpenter (BBC) and Reg Gutteridge (ITV) and pugs such as Henry Cooper, Howard Winstone, Brian Curvis, John H. Stracey, Dave ‘Boy’ Green, John L. Gardner, Tony Sibson, ‘Gypsy’ Johnny Frankham, Frank Bruno, Richard Dunn, Lloyd Honeygan, Alan Minter, Chris Finnegan, Herol Graham, Joe Bugner and John Conteh.
Ah, happy days.