Jim Watt pays tribute to the late Mickey Duff and the part he played in his world title success
Jim Watt pays tribute to the late Mickey Duff, a man who played a huge part in his world title success.
Last Updated: 25/03/14 2:42pm
Mickey was fortunate enough to have spent his life working in the sport and business he loved.
Understandably in the last few years he was never the man of old but what a life he had led in boxing down the years. He played a big part in my career, so it is extremely sad to lose him.
We had been friends for years but to be honest I rarely saw Mickey once I'd retired. Even when I started commentating, I was working for ITV and he was already with the BBC, so we were never at the same shows.
It meant it was hard to keep the friendship going but nothing changed, so when we would meet up it was always good to have a catch-up.
It was usually at the Boxing Writers' Club annual awards or another dinner or show and we were always delighted to see each other.
We were never the closest of friends but he was a big, big part of my success and I shall never forget that.
When I started out I had a Scottish manager and I wasn't really getting the opportunities I was looking for, but Terry Lawless and Mickey had a great relationship between them and once I went with Terry all of a sudden I was fighting on Mickey's shows.
It means I had access to the big shows and the first time I fought under Terry it was at the Royal Albert Hall against George Turpin, along with Dave Boy Green and Maurice Hope. It showed immediately just how powerful Mickey could be
He was not a trainer but when you had him in your corner you knew you could go places. All of a sudden you were talking with or about the WBC for example, because Mickey had a voice that would be heard.
And as long as I kept winning, Mickey did his bit and got me that world title chance.
Roberto Duran hadn't made lightweight for a long time and moved up to welterweight so I got to fight for the vacant title.
I was ranked number two and Alfredo Pitalua was the number one but I fought for it in Glasgow and won the world title. A major factor was that I had the clout of Mickey behind me.
I needed an influential promoter to get me where I wanted to go and while there is no way I'd have won that world title without Lawless, Mickey also played a huge part and I will never forget him for that.
Terry was the type that would always go to the gym and although I did spend time with Mickey in the run-up to fights, he was always here, there and everywhere, flying the world.
He was never in the gym but he was involved in every single aspect of the game: from a boxer to a cornerman, right through to an agent and promoter.
He was a shrewd and hard businessman - some people never have a good word to say about promoters but I did when it came to Mickey.
He would drive a hard bargain but once the deal was done, he always backed up his side of things and he always gave you what he'd promised - and sometimes a little bit more!
I am glad I had the relationship I had with him and I am glad he had such a terrific life. I have lots of fond memories of Mickey Duff.
Rest in peace.