Ned Hallacy, one of three fighting Hallacy brothers who headlined the Wichita professional boxing scene in the 1970s, died Monday at a nursing home in Inman of complications from dementia.
He was 65.
Hallacy was a tough light heavyweight as well as a jokester and a showman in the ring, said those who knew him. He won multiple Kansas-Oklahoma Golden Gloves titles as an amateur, and fought as a pro from 1974 to 1981, finishing with a 30-7-2 record.
Hallacy once fought in Las Vegas on ABC-TV’s ”Wide World of Sports,” and although he lost by a decision, his wife Connie said the TV announcers commented on his impersonations of Elvis and other celebrities, which Hallacy performed for them.
Hallacy’s biggest fight came in 1978 at Century II in Wichita against Mike Quarry, the younger brother of famed heavyweight Jerry Quarry. Mike Quarry had lost the World Boxing Council and World Boxing Association light-heavyweight titles to Bob Foster in 1972 and was trying for a comeback.
“It was a tuneup, and he thought he’d come in here and knock Ned out in two or three rounds, and he got the fight of his life that night,” said Don Chandler, one of the judges.
“He fought a smart fight. He boxed the guy for 10 rounds. He didn’t try to run out there and knock him out,” Chandler said.
The fight ended in a scoring controversy. Chandler said he and another judge scored the fight even, but the other judge had Quarry winning by a point. Quarry was awarded the fight until Chandler pointed out that the rules called for the majority to rule, so the decision was changed to a draw.
“Ned was a tough customer. If you stopped Ned Hallacy, he was hurt bad, because he wouldn’t quit,” said Chandler, a former Wichita boxing commissioner.
“I dealt with a lot of fairly unsavory characters in those days, “ he said, “but Ned Hallacy was a real gentleman and a real credit to boxing. I had the greatest respect for Ned Hallacy.”
Hallacy learned to fight from former Sedgwick County Sheriff and Kansas Attorney General Vern Miller. Miller trained Hallacy and his brothers Mike, a middleweight; and Pat, a lightweight, at a boys gym that Miller started in downtown Wichita in 1958 to keep street kids out of trouble at night.
Ned, he said, was the first brother to show up at the gym
“Good man. Worked hard. A top fighter. Tough as nails,” Miller said.
Hallacy enjoyed playing to the crowd. He often stuck his chin out daring opponents to hit him, knowing he could take a punch.
“In most of his fights, he wasn’t worried about getting hit,” Miller said. “He just overpowered his opponent.
“He would not ever quit. There was just something about him, an unusual character. Defeat, he didn’t believe in it.”
Hallacy and his brother, Mike, who died in 2005, worked for Miller when Miller was a DA.
Ned Hallacy also worked in the jail for awhile.
“There were a number of times the prisoners would give him trouble, and Ned would take care of it without any problems,” Miller said. “Sometimes I thought he might be a little too aggressive, but the prisoners always respected Ned.”
Hallacy shared his love of boxing by training other fighters during his career.
He was always laughing and always had a smile on his face, friends said. That’s the way he was on his last job as a skycap at Wichita Mid-Continent Airport, where he worked for about 20 years.
“He never met a stranger out there,” Connie Hallacy said.
Hallacy’s funeral will be held at 11 a.m. Friday at St. Joseph Catholic Church , 145 S. Millwood.