IN life we often take the best things for granted. Boxing is no exception. There are those who have given more to the sport than they have gotten back in return. People like Henry Hascup, whose service to the sweet science goes above and beyond. The majority of you reading this have probably never heard of Hascup. That is how it is with people who are more comfortable maintaining a low profile. Because they don’t want anyone to make a fuss over them we don’t. Shame on us for sometimes overlooking their charitable endeavors which always come from the heart.
Hascup says his greatest achievement, the one that gives him the most satisfaction, is making others happy. For most of his life he has been doing exactly that. His inability to say no sometimes drives his wife, Joyce, crazy, but by now she realises the boxing world has a stake in her man as well. The couple met in 1986 and were married in 1989. It was the second marriage for both. They each had four kids and a Siberian Husky from the first marriage. What are the odds on something like that happening? And what are the odds on a man delivering 300 eulogies at funerals, travelling to and from at his own expense and putting a smile on the faces of the families during their most trying times?
The relationship with boxing started for Hascup in 1958 when, as a 10-year-old, he sat in front of the television and watched the first Archie Moore-Yvonne Durelle fight with his dad. Moore was dropped four times but refused to stay down for the full count. That provided a fitting introduction: Hascup never hits the bell 10 times during his eulogies, always concluding at nine. He did not originally intend for it to be that way, but during one he looked over at the boxer’s wife and could not force himself to hit it that one last time.
“I do that because I want everyone to know that a part of the fighter is still with us,” he says.
Hascup has eulogized the likes of Joey Giardello, Arturo Gatti, and Emile Griffith, but it is the obscure fighters, the ones that too many never knew existed, that give him the most satisfaction. His reward is never financial, but comes from the warm feeling he receives from their loved ones.
As a courtesy to the boxing community, Hascup sends out email releases whenever a boxer passes on. Some jokingly refer to him as the Grim Reaper. But don’t tell that to the 100-plus orphans he has frequently made picnics and staged Christmas parties for.
Hascup’s endeavors include having been a timekeeper, then transitioning to becoming president of New Jersey amateur boxing programs. He served as a ring announcer for over 1,000 shows. In 1986, Hascup became president of the New Jersey Boxing Hall of Fame, a position he still maintains. After 25 years on the job he allowed his committee to finally induct him. Last year the HOF in Atlantic City followed suit. Henry had double duty being that he worked his usual MC chores as well.
Much of Hascup’s time is spent maintaining records. If you want to know how many rounds have been fought at Madison Square Garden he is the man to contact. And of course there is much more that space prevents us from printing. But it is the charitable deeds that stand out the most, such as raising money for Shakur Stevenson’s family so they could travel to the 2016 Olympics in Rio, to see him box. Others will rightly find these gestures special, but for Hascup it is nothing out of the ordinary.