A GLOVE STORY;
PATERSON NATIVE HASCUP NOW TRULY KING OF THE HALL
Sunday, November 7, 2010
BY KEITH IDEC
NEWARK — To understand what makes Henry Hascup proud to be around the boxers who competed Saturday night at Prudential Center, you’d have to know how his hard childhood helps him relate to fighters from similar backgrounds.
Hascup, a Paterson native and longtime Lodi resident, spent the first nine years of his life as Bruce James McKnight, a foster child unaware that the state of New Jersey took him from his birth parents when he was 1. He decided to rejoin Ed and Mabel Hascup when he was 10.
"When I went back to my real parents, they lived in a cold-water flat on Marshall Street [in Paterson], right in back of the [Passaic County] jail house," Hascup said. "Then I knew what being poor was about. There wasn’t even a bathtub in the thing. If someone dropped an apple on the ground, I would pick it up and suck on it. It was pretty traumatic."
Ed Hascup was a big boxing fan, though, and once Henry Hascup read his first magazine, "Boxing Illustrated," he was hooked.
Five decades later, Hascup is the longtime president of the New Jersey Boxing Hall of Fame and the New Jersey Diamond Gloves Tournament, and the relatively new president of the New Jersey Association of USA Boxing. Also a noted boxing historian and ring announcer, Hascup will be inducted into the New Jersey Boxing Hall of Fame on Thursday night at The Venetian in Garfield ($80; 973-471-2458).
"I feel a little funny about it, honestly," Hascup, 62, said. "They wanted to put me in many years ago and I said, ‘If I ever get to 25 years [as NJBHOF president], I’ll consider it. They said, ‘Oh no, if you make 25 we’re putting you in, no matter what.’ It was a unanimous vote when they voted to put me in [in April]. I tell everybody, ‘Of course it was a unanimous vote. I made the committee.’ "
Hascup’s self-deprecation aside, he is an appreciated, respected boxing figure throughout New Jersey, both at the amateur and professional levels.
"He gives a whole lot more than he takes," said Ridgewood’s Randy Neumann, a referee and retired heavyweight from Cliffside Park. "He’s at every event, never wanting anything in return. He had a tough childhood, so he’s like the original turnaround guy. He’s got dedication like a fighter. He’s always working. He’s a great guy."
Hascup’s understanding wife, Joyce, helps make it possible for him to attend as many boxing-related functions as he does.
"I feel really honored to be in that same hall that guys like Virgil Hill and Oscar Suarez are going in," said Hascup, who retired in 2004 after 37 years with PSE&G. "And then there’s the guys before us, like Mickey Walker and Gus Lesnevich and ‘The Cinderella Man,’ James J. Braddock, ‘Jersey’ Joe Walcott and Tippy Larkin. Just to have my name affiliated with them somehow, it’s just great."
DAVID BERGELAND/STAFF PHOTOGRAPHER
Henry Hascup, wearing a pair of Sonny Liston’s gloves, will be inducted into the N.J. Boxing Hall of Fame.
This is a humbling story of intrepidity, presented to you by:
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