When I need to get some facts on the history of boxing there are two sources to go to. One is Henry Hascup head of the NJ BHOF whom I have written an article on and the other is Philadelphia (Chester) raised Chuck Hasson who will send you info and having volumes in both the PA HOF and DE HOF. He is also a Viet-Nam veteran and all around nice guy and a member of the Ring One VBA of Philadelphia.
I recently asked Hasson to give me some info on his knowledge of the history of boxing and how he came about learning as much as he has. The following is some info on Chuck Hasson:
I grew up a street urchin in Chester (PA), later becoming a world class corner lounger where me and my buddies often talked boxing. A lot of my pals dads were boxers and my Dad’s claim to fame was that he fought Jr. National AA U champ Art Mahon at Leiperville. I used to listen to Dad and his cronies sitting on the steps discussing their fights and going to see (Ike) Williams vs (Bob) Montgomery and Salica vs Tommy Forte. I was able to retain everything they discussed about the fight game, but ironically could hardly remember my school work, except for history.
I started watching the fights on TV, at 8 years old, especially Philadelphia Gil Turner. My first attraction to Philly boxing was when in 1956 channel 12 ran fights on Thursday nights from the Cambria and The Adelphia and the unique sound, the howl, that came from the Philly fans at the arena that seemed different from the TV shows on Monday, Wednesday and Fridays, and I was hooked! On September 28, 1956, Joey Giardello scored a sensational 5th round KO on the tube over the top contender, Bobby Boyd, who had recently beaten Gene Fullmer, Eduardo Lausse, Holly Mims and Tony Anthony. I instantly became a fanatical Giardello fan forever. I continued watching the fights on TV, studying my BOXING and WRESTLING and RING Magazines religiously and pestering my Dad to take me to the fights. Finally on December 6, 1960 for my 14th birthday, Dad took me and my older brother Terry who tagged along, to Convention Hall to watch Philly’s number one 1325 lb. contender, Len Matthews, lose in a big upset to Cuban Doug valiant and three more 10 rounder’s featuring Kenny Lane, Lahouari Godih, Jesse “Crazy Horse” Smith, Jimmy Beecham, Candy McFarland and my favorite non Philly boxer, Virgil Akins.
I continued going to the fights at the Arena, Convention Hall, Blue Horizon and the Philadelphia A.C. at Broad and Wood over the next few years, every chance I could, watching great matches and great fighters like George Benton, Harold Johnson, Joe Frazier, Percy Manning, “Gypsy” Joe Harris Luis Rodriguez and Johnny Morris. On March 23, 1961 my brother took me to the Arena for the Mid-Atlantic AAU tournament to see a neighborhood pal, Pete Bufala, win the 126 lb. title and got my first look at Bennie Briscoe, 23rd PAL, who viciously overwhelmed his foe for a KO in two very impressive minutes for the 147 lb. crown. I became a big Briscoe fan, who later became my wife Flossy’s favorite fighter.
But my greatest boxing moment ever was watching my idol, Joe Giardello, win the middleweight title, with his career masterpiece beating Dick Tiger on December 9, 1963 at the Atlantic City Convention Hall, alongside my Dad, for my 17th birthday present.
I was drafted in 1967 and served in the Mekon Delta (Viet-Nam) on riverboats finally returning January in 1970. I started going regularly to the shows at the Blue, arena and the Spectrum, worked on a dredge on the Hudson River and attended cards at the Garden and Felt Forum during that time. I attended almost all of the great shows at the Spectrum featuring “Bad” Bennie Briscoe, Bobby “Boogaloo” Watts, Willie “The Worm” Monroe”, “Eugene “Cyclone” Hart, Stanley “Kitten” Hayward, Sammy Goss, Tyrone Everett, Marvin Hagler, Tommy “Hit Man” Hearns, Bobby Chacon, George Foreman and Floyd Patterson. I attended shows at Totowa, Atlantic City, Vineland, all in New Jersey and Scranton, the 69th Street Forum in PA, and the Fournier Hall in Wilmington, DE, and then I started working as an oiler for the Teamsters Union in 1986, working the night shift for the next 15 years and was only able to attend a few fight shows a year.
For the next 7 years in the morning after work, I went to the library on the Parkway, micro-film department and copied tens of thousands newspaper clippings on Philadelphia boxing (amateur and pro) going back to the 1850’s. I put them all together chronologically in 12 huge books by decades until 2000, and made smaller duplicate copies of the “Philadelphia Boxing Archives” for VBA groups and other local outlets in the business. I also compiled news clip stories for Chester/Delaware County and Wilmington, Delaware.
I started writing articles, primarily on Philly boxing, including a 12 page spread called “The Philadelphia Story” in 1999 for BOXING DIGEST (formerly Boxing Illustrated). I co-authored a picture book, “PHILADELPHIA’S BOXING HERITAGE, 1876-1976, with Tracy Callis and Mike Delisa.
I took an early pension in 2002 and moved to the Delaware shore and compiled ethnic histories for the Italians, Jewish, Irish, Afro-Americans, Mexican/Mexican-Americans featuring in chronological order, in each book, pictures of over 1000 fighters, pictures of highlight fights of their careers, news clips and their records. I have also done smaller histories of Puerto Rican, Cuban, Panamanian and Filipino boxers.
I only get to the fights sporadically now that I live 130 miles south of Philadelphia but I still love boxing and was thrilled when my peers elected me to the PA BHOF in 2013.