Published on October 30, 2013
Lawrence Hafey poses for a photo during his boxing career. This Saturday Hafey will be inducted into the Nova Scotia Sports Hall of Fame after prior inductions in to the Pictou County Sports Hall of Fame in 1992 and the Canadian Boxing Hall of Fame in 1985.
Published on October 30, 2013
Lawrence Hafey, right, is shown in his bout against Fernand Durelle, which he won on Aug. 2, 1969 at the New Glasgow Stadium.
Hafey being inducted to N.S. Sports Hall of Fame this weekend
This weekend Stellarton boxer Lawrence Hafey will be inducted into the Nova Scotia Sports Hall of Fame, the first Pictou County inductee since Gus Fahey in 2009.
Hafey will also join his brother Art who was inducted in 1980.
“I felt good (when I got the phone call),” said Hafey. “I know there were guys like Lyle Carter calling to try to do something to get me in there. I appreciate that too because a lot of guys felt I should be in there. I knew I hadn’t heard anything over the past few years, but I know they were trying to do it. I didn’t know for sure it’d happen.”
“It makes you feel good and really appreciate it.”
He had an illustrious boxing career over the years: 45 amateur bouts (1963-67) before 73 as a professional (1967-81). In the pros he posted a 48-23-3 record, won the Canadian lightweight title in 1970, Canadian middleweight title in 1975 over Dave Downey and fought for the British Commonwealth title the same year. Hafey was also inducted into the Pictou County Sports Hall of Fame in 1992 and the Canadian Boxing Hall of Fame in 1985.
Although he accomplished much in his career he said looking back that he wishes he had put more time into it than he did.
“Art got away and his whole life was boxing, but I went astray a little bit and probably didn’t train as hard as I should’ve,” said Hafey. “That’s what I mean, I was doing OK with guys (even though he wasn’t in the gym as much as others). When I fought Dave Downey I weighed 143 pounds for the middleweight title. The night of the fight I had been up until 2:30 in the morning and they were discussing if they were going to let the fight happen because I had damaged ribs. I had to have 17 needles in my ribs before I went in the ring that night. That’s why it wasn’t a good fight that night because I had to fight that way.
“I weighed less when I fought Dave Downey for the middleweight title than when I fought Clyde Gray for the British Empire. I just never trained and never went to the gym enough.”
It all started for him at the Archie Moore Boxing Club on the Pictou Landing Road near Trenton.
“When we were young dad used to take us to the fights and then he took us down to the gym,” said Hafey. “We used to walk to the bottom end of Trenton from right down the road here (Stellarton). We just started there and I suppose it’s like hockey or anything. It’s just something you like doing.
“I don’t know if I can put that (why he liked it) into words. It was just that you could do something a little better than the other guy.”
Hafey said his biggest strength in the ring was his left hook, but he was also able to take a “pretty good” punch. He said during his favourite fight of all time, Dec. 13, 1974, against Bruno Arcari he definitely tried to use his hook.
He said that was one the fights he remembers the most because it was one of the few he trained for after his manager put him on the train to Ottawa where all he did was sleep, run and work out in the gym.
“It was probably the only fight in my life that I was in shape to fight,” said Hafey. “I went to Ottawa to train before that and the only thing I was doing was training. When I was here I was working at bars and out half the night. I didn’t drink or anything, but I just wasn’t putting in the time at the gym or living the right life for a boxer.”
Although he will always remember that fight, he said it’s hard to compare any fight to boxing locally on a card in New Glasgow.
“At one time there was fights every two weeks here and it was nice fighting at home,” he said. “There was no place like it. You don’t appreciate – right now you appreciate a lot more because you never realize how much it meant to a good fan.
“It was a good trip and I enjoyed it, but back then I wish I would’ve known what it meant.”
List of championships and accomplishments:
1963-67: 45 amateur bouts
1967-81: 73 professional bouts
1970: Canadian lightweight champion
1973: Eastern Canadian welterweight champion
1974: Four bouts on two continents in 27 days
Nov. 16 in Brockton, Mass.
Nov. 18 in Boston, Mass.
Dec. 2 in New York at Madison Square Garden against Wilfredo Benitez (future world champion)
Dec. 13 in Milan, Italy, against Bruno Arcari (future world champion)
1975: Canadian middleweight champion and boxed for British Commonwealth title
1979: Fought European champion Dave Green
1981: Retired from professional boxing
1985: Inducted in Canadian Boxing Hall of Fame
1992: Inducted into the Pictou County Sports Hall of Fame
On Twitter: @NGNewsChris