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Pictou County boxing legends memorialized

Philip MacKenzie, left and Clyde Macdonald, right, presented Barry Trenholm a plaque board photo of Lawrence Hafey and Babe Mason, two of Pictou County’s famed boxers.
Philip MacKenzie, left and Clyde Macdonald, right, presented Barry Trenholm a plaque board photo of Lawrence Hafey and Babe Mason, two of Pictou County’s famed boxers. - Adam MacInnis

NEW GLASGOW – Philip MacKenzie has taken thousands of photos over the last 25 years, but the one he and his friend Clyde Macdonald gave to the Pictou County Sports Heritage Hall of Fame on Thursday ranks as one of his favourites.

It shows two of Pictou County’s most famous boxers together, Lawrence Hafey and Babe Mason.

He’s happy that Barry Trenholm was willing to accept the plaque board and hang it in the Pictou County Sports Hall of Fame for others to admire.

Babe Mason

Thomas Leslie (Babe) Mason, was born on Aug. 18, 1934, at Evansville, a part of the Town of Stellarton.

He was only 22 years old when he won a spot on the Canadian Olympic team to participate in the 1956 Summer Olympic Games to be held in Melbourne, Australia. Standing 5’8” and weighing 139 pounds, Mason would box in the welterweight division.

Friends, family and supporters from Pictou County each paid a quarter to have their name put on a telegram to be sent to Mason to encourage him.

He had his first and only boxing match in the second round of preliminaries. His opponent Henry James Loubscher was a tall, skinny, 20-year-old left-handed boxer who represented the Union of South Africa. Loubscher had 150 previous bouts compared to about 22 bouts that Mason had. The boxing match consisted of three rounds with each round lasting three minutes. Based on points, Mason lost a very close decision to Loubscher and being a do-or-die situation, Loubscher advanced to the next round and Mason was out of contention for a medal. Loubscher went on to win a bronze medal.

Lawrence Hafey

Lawrence Hafey, a native of Pictou County, had his boxing debut on Feb. 19, 1967. He fought 73 times as a professional boxer and posted a 48-23-3 record. He won the Eastern Canadian Welterweight Title in 1973 and the Canadian Middleweight title in 1975.

A highlight of his career was a boxing match at Madison Square Garden in the New York City borough of Manhattan against three-time World Champion Wilfred Benitez in a fight that went the distance before losing on a decision.

Hafey once boxed four bouts in 27 days and during that time won two matches and went the distance with two future world champions. Hafey was never stopped in his first 55 professional boxing matches and has never been knocked out.

Hafey was inducted into the Nova Scotia Sports Hall of Fame in 2013.

SOURCE: Historical information provided by Clyde Macdonald

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