Hall of Famer Mickey Duff dies

Updated: March 23, 2014, 3:35 PM ET
By Dan Rafael | ESPN.com

Mickey Duff, one of England's most famed promoters, managers and matchmakers, died on Saturday. He was 84.

Duff, whose reputation as an honest dealmaker was his hallmark, worked with more than a dozen world champions during his career, including Frank Bruno, Joe Calzaghe, Jim Watt, Maurice Hope, John "The Beast" Mugabi, Lloyd Honeyghan, Alan Minter, John Conteh, Terry Downes and Cornelius Boza Edwards.

[+] EnlargeMickey Duff
AP Photo/MIchael OkoniewskiBoxing promoter Mickey Duff, who had a reputation as an honest dealmaker, died Saturday.

"He was a great guy and a real good man," said Banner Promotions owner Artie Pelullo, who knew Duff for 30 years. "If he gave you his word you could go to the bank on it. I did a lot of deals with Mickey and [he] always treated me like a gentleman."

Born Monek Prager in Krakow, Poland, Duff moved to England in the 1930s and took up boxing. He fought as an amateur -- winning 61 of 69 bouts -- turned pro at age 15 and retired at 19. That's when he began his rise to prominence outside the ring in England, first as a matchmaker, and by the 1950s, he was a key figure in British boxing, a position he held for decades. However, he had largely been out of boxing since the late 1990s and in failing health in recent years.

But during the 1970s and '80s, he was the key figure in British boxing, largely due to his affiliation with terrestrial network BBC, which televised his cards.

"Sorry to hear that Mickey Duff died [Saturday]. RIP legendary promoter," Barry Hearn, another giant of British promotion, tweeted.

Duff was elected to the International Boxing Hall of Fame in Canastota, N.Y., in 1999.

"Mickey Duff was highly respected for his considerable accomplishments and influence in boxing," Hall of Fame executive director Edward Brophy said. "The Hall of Fame joins the boxing community in mourning his passing and sends our condolences to his family."

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