By: Ken Hissner
What New Jersey’s Henry Hascup has not only done for boxing but for boxer’s in particular is not nationally known by many! “Henry Hascup is the hardest working person in all of boxing. He works 25 hours a day 7 days a week for tons of organizations to help fighters and the sport. He doesn’t get half the recognition he deserves. I am proud to call him my friend,” said Harold Lederman.
Hascup is rarely seen without a tuxedo by this writer. He is a walking encyclopedia on boxers. He’s got the looks of a movie star and by the way so does his wife. He sort of reminds one of the actor Roger Moore and her Eva Marie-Saint! They were married in 1989 and each having 4 children of their own at the time.
“I have known Henry for more than 30 years. Henry is a devoted individual who has given countless hours to numerous non-profit groups such as the NJBHOF, the Diamond Gloves, NJ USA Boxing, various Rings, the AAIB, and others. Henry works extremely hard and has made many of these entities what they are today. Henry is also an extremely knowledgable Historian,” said Steve Weisfeld.
Hascup is known for his ring announcing in New Jersey (lives in Lodi, NJ) and has been President of the NJ Boxing Hall of Fame for 28 years and still going! Through that group numerous down and out boxers have been helped. He has served as Master of Ceremonies for many sporting events. “Henry is and continues to be the driving force of the excellent NJBHOF. His work on behalf on the NJBHOF has been outstanding for many years. He’s truly a credit to the sport of boxing on all levels,” said Steve Smoger.
Hascup has been a ring announcer for close to 1,000 shows amateur and professional combined. He has done Eulogies for who’s who in boxing like Gil Clancy, Emile Griffith, Paul Cavalier, Tippy Larkin, Arturo Gatti, Joey Giardello to name a few. When well known boxers pass away Hascup is the first to send out the e-mails to such people as myself.
“Mr. Hascup has been announcing our shows for almost 10 years and has only missed 2 of them. He has always been a valued part of KEA Boxing as an announcer and a friend. We enjoy having Mr. Hascup as part of the team and appreciate all of his hard work with amateur boxing, the NJBHOF, and of course the professional club shows such as ours. We will continue to support Mr. Hascup in all of his endeavors,” said Alex Kut.
“Henry Hascup is a great American, proud of his profound affiliation with the sport of boxing. He has never refused to offer his assistance to anyone seeking his advice or counsel, regardless of the time and effort it will require. His sincerity and dedication sets him apart from the norm. He is one of those beings whose pace of life is more intense and faster than the ordinary. He has played a leadership role in all phases of amatuer and professional boxing that would require pages to list. In spite of all of these time consuming comittments, he has done nothing to deter his responsibilities as a husband and as a father. At all levels he is truly an icon in the world of boxing,” said Tommy Kaczmarek.
Box Rec is the first website this writer usually goes to and Hascup is one of their editors. He not only keeps stats on boxing, but football, basketball and baseball! “For all this man has done, he could be crowned the Heavyweight Champion of Boxing Support,” said Randy Neumann. “Henry is a diligent and respectful man; a real gentleman. He can’t help it if he just happens to be in love with boxing and it’s history,” said Jack “KO” Obermayer.
“Henry is a “CLASS ACT”! He has an “OLD SCHOOL” approach to the sport. He never has a bad word to say, about anyone but, he is very open an honest, with his opinions and knowledge. Henry has been around the boxing scene for some time and has seen many of the greats come and go. I have a ton of respect for him, not only as a man but as a boxing Historian. He is one of my favorite people, connected to the boxing world,” said Bobby Czyz.
This writer had the pleasure to do a Q&A with Henry Hascup.
KEN HISSNER: I first met you when you were the ring announcer for one of Andre Kut’s KEA Boxing shows. Is he one of the promoters you’ve enjoyed doing work for?
HENRY HASCUP: Yes, he is a Great guy and runs a lot of Club Shows with his son Alex. They always put on a Great Show and it’s my honor to Ring Announce for them. I only wish we had more people like them in our sport!
KEN HISSNER: I understand you have sent many corrections in on the Ring Record Book. I once did 300 corrections and took them to Ring’s Johnny Ort and he made me feel like he was doing me a favor when he said “since you typed them I’ll take them”! Ever get that kind of re-action from Ring?
HENRY HASCUP: No, but I had to prove to them that I knew what I was talking about and after that it was easy. I spent many years going through micro-films of several newspapers, writing down every fight I could find. I started sending corrections to the Ring back in the late 1970’s. I would send them newspaper and magazine articles on the fights to prove to them a correction or addition was needed. Even the first pro fight Ike Williams had was wrong for over 40 years. They had him fighting Carmine Fatta, but I found out it was a fighter named Carmen Fotti.
KEN HISSNER: As a member of Ring One in Philadelphia I try to get the officers to come to one of your NJ meetings. I think you have come down for the Briscoe Awards but never a meeting right?
HENRY HASCUP: Right! Most of Ring One’s meetings are on the same day as Amateur Boxing Shows that I am also the President of in New Jersey. So it would be hard to go to both, for I have to be there for the weigh-ins. The New Jersey Boxing Hall of Fame always support the Briscoe Awards as well as the PA Boxing Hall of Fame.
KEN HISSNER: You have done many Eulogies for boxers. Is there one that emotionally touched you the most?
HENRY HASCUP: They all touch me in different ways, as they become like family. Since the late 1980’s I have done close to 250 Ceremonies and it doesn’t matter if they won several World Titles or if they just had a few Amateur fights, their just as important at that time. I like to look at the reaction of the people when I am doing the Eulogy so I never bring up a paper to read off of. I just want to do them all justice and when I finish with ringing the Bell for the “9” Count instead of a “10” Count, is that I feel a small part of them will stay in the hearts of their family, friends and fans so a part of them will live on. The 10 count is final, the 9 count is not. At times I would drive 100’s of miles just to give a Eulogy or a Bell Ceremony for a fallen fighter or boxing person. The reward I get is the look on the family’s faces when I am up there doing this and the hugs, kisses and letters I get when finished.
KEN HISSNER: In my one visit to the IBHOF ceremonies I was very disappointed for the event seemed disorganized. You really couldn’t get to meet the boxers. What is your feeling on that?
HENRY HASCUP: It takes a lot of work organizing these events, but I feel bad you had that experience. I do know that when Emile Griffith attended he was as happy as the fans were. He wanted to be there! I guess a lot of others forget that without the fans and reporters they wouldn’t be as successful as they are. Several months ago I ran into a very well-known former World Champ who was also inducted into the IBHOF and I asked him if he would be interested in becoming inducted into the NJBHOF as he started off his Amateur career in New Jersey. He asked me how much money I have, I told him I guess I don’t have enough and I turned and walked away.
KEN HISSNER: Is there any particular boxing person or persons you would like to see in the IBHOF that you feel may have been over looked?
HENRY HASCUP: On a whole I think they do a very good job, but I think they should think about changing a few things. Right now just for the Modern Class they give you a total of 45 names. We can select as many as 10, but only the top 3 vote getters get in. The next year they add another 3 to the 42 that is left. My beef is that some of these guys will never get in and most likely only get a small percentage of the vote each year, so why do they remain on the ballot? There are many other fighters that should at least be on the list. This goes for the other categories’ as well.
KEN HISSNER: Who are some of your favorite boxers today and in the past?
HENRY HASCUP: I like the older fighters. Growing up I was a big Fan of Muhammad Ali. I also liked Louis Rodriguez a lot. I would say they were my 2 favorites when growing up. Years later after I got to know Emile Griffith very well and I felt bad for Emile who was one of the nicest guys you would ever want to meet and I use to root for Rodriguez when the 2 fought. When Emile passed away I gave the Eulogy and Bell Ceremony. Personally I liked a lot of New Jersey fighters such as Bobby Czyz mainly for I saw him as an Amateur and followed him through his Pro career. Same could be said about Kendall Holt. I am friends with Chuck Wepner who is another Great guy and always shows up for our Hall of Fame affair and he pays for his own ticket! The same can be said about Randy Neumann.
KEN HISSNER: Did any one ring announcer inspire you more than any other?
HENRY HASCUP: I use to like Johnnie Addie. He used to announce all the shows at Madison Square Garden. As a kid I had a lot of trouble talking, reading and pronouncing words and I still do at times. I was in a few Foster Homes and I think that played a part in that, but that story is for another day. Even today I will have that fear that I am going to mess up, so I say a small prayer before I start.
KEN HISSNER: NJ only had 19 shows last year. Do you think the small shows are having difficulty getting enough support from the Commission compared to the Casino shows in Atlantic City?
HENRY HASCUP: I really don’t know what the Commission can do. A small show will cost you about $40,000 to run and without TV it’s a hard nut to crack. I have talked to the Commission about having some Pro/Am Shows but it looks like New Jersey isn’t interested.
KEN HISSNER: It’s been a pleasure doing this Q&A with you and I always feel you have the attention of the audience when you are in the ring. Anything you would like to say to the boxing fans?
HENRY HASCUP: I would hope the fans would come out and support the local shows. Without the help of the fans, the small promoters will die off, and so will boxing for the average fan. Also, we have 50 to 65 Amateur Shows every year in Central and Northern New Jersey and it doesn’t cost that much to attend. You will see a lot of young and up and coming young boxers and they put on a Great show. Just this past year we had 3 National Golden Glove Champions. The down side is that very few people even know about these shows as the local papers hardly ever give them any kind of coverage. I have 2 Boxing E-Mail lists. One is just for the Amateurs and the other for the Pro’s. If you count them both I have approx. 1,500 people that I send information to, including our Amateur Boxing schedules too. If anyone would like to be added they can E-Mail me at email@example.com.
Finally, I like to thank you for taking time to do this interview.