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Boxing History

Philly’s “The Big E” Eddie Duncan – What Could Have Been

By: Ken Hissner

This writer remembers back in the early 70’s when in “Smokin” Joe Frazier’s Gym seeing this boxer that Eddie Goodman managed named “The Big E” Eddie Duncan.
Duncan was boastful and was a tall light heavyweight with processed hair. Recently not wanting his name revealed a PA HOF trainer said this of Duncan, “he would spar with Frazier and run circles around him and taunted Joe.”

“Good fighter and very flashy when letting his hands go he excited the crowd. He was also a very personal guy. He won the PA Golden Gloves in 1970 before turning professional. In his professional career he was moved to fast and didn’t get the right fights,” said Jeff Jowett (boxing writer).

Duncan made his debut in September of 1970 scoring a third round knockout over Kenny Warner, 3-1, at the State Fairgrounds in Trenton, NJ. In December and January (1971), he scored first and second round stoppages before running into Ed “Beau Jack” Williams, 9-4, of Camden, NJ, getting stopping in the fifth of a six rounder in March of 1971.
Duncan would return to the ring in October in Baltimore, MD, knocking out Bobby Haynes, 2-3, in 2 rounds. He would return to Philly at the Arena making what would be his final appearance in The City of Brotherly Love winning a 6 round decision over Philly’s Billy Freeman, 4-2.

It was decided to take Duncan’s career “on the road” and off he went to London, ENG, in June of 1972 ending up with a disputed draw against the UK’s Johnny “Gypsy” Frankham, 18-2, over 8 rounds. He was impressive enough to be brought back to face unbeaten future WBC world light heavyweight champion John Conteh, 11-0, winning a 10 round decision.

It would be some 5 months later when Duncan again went back to London defeating Phil Matthews, 13-1, over 10 rounds. Six months later after his success in the UK Duncan returned to the US being a co-feature on a Bob Foster title defense win over Pierre Fourie and defeated Texan Frank Evans, 14-19-1, in Albuquerque, NM, but back to a 6 rounder.

Now at 8-1-1 it would be downhill for Duncan as he returned to the UK losing to Maxie Smith, 13-3, over 10 rounds in Manchester. Two months later his management sent him to Buenos Aires, ARG, against Argentine’s light heavyweight champion and future WBA light heavyweight Victor Galindez, 25-6-4, and got knockout out in 2.

It would be just over a year when Duncan returned at the end of 1974 losing a 12 round decision to Lonnie Bennett, 22-2, over 12 rounds in Las Vegas. In April of 1975 he traveled to Hamburg, Germany and lost to Argentina’s Avenamar Peralta, 85-12-4, being stopped in 7. Just 2 months later he would have his final fight in Oslo, Norway, in June of 1975 losing to Norway’s Harald Skog, 12-0-1, over 10 rounds.

Duncan went from 8-1-1 to end up 8-6-1, losing his 5 last fights. If only his management would have kept him in Philly after the Conteh fight for more experience and never sent him to Argentina you never know what success “The Big E” could have had.

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