The Undercard: Resto vs. Hallacy

By Ted Sares on August 20, 2013
The Undercard: Resto vs. Hallacy
“After showering him and his seconds with coins they damn near carried him from the ring!”

It was a night in New York City when the undercard trumped the main event—a night when the loser became the winner…

“I have been beaten by the best fighter in the world. I am not disgraced.”—Nicky Perez

Wilfredo “Bazooka”  Gomez KO’d 19-year-old Nicky Perez with a left hook-overhand right-left hook combination before 9,000 adoring fans at Madison Square Garden on October 26, 1979. Bazooka” floored the outclassed kid from Tucson three times in the fifth round to end the slaughter. Perez was on a 42-fight win streak against horrendous opposition but had no answers for Gomez who registered his record-tying 10th consecutive title defense knockout. While the thousands of Puerto Rican fans were thrilled by Gomez’s performances, they were somewhat subdued and oddly remained in their seats at the end. They had already been emotionally exhausted by what they witnessed in the undercard—a fight that involved fringe contenders New York’s Luis Resto and Wichita’s Pat Hallacy.

Luis Resto

Resto possessed considerable natural boxing talent and won two prestigious New York Golden Gloves titles; he defeated Miguel Hernandez in the finals of the 1976 147-pound Open Championship. He also competed in the 1976 U.S. Olympic trials. Resto turned pro in 1977 at the age of 22, with a potentially big professional future.

Being light-fisted, the Puerto Rican-born Resto, a fan friendly type, sought to win his bouts by luring his opponents into brawls and then wear them down with an endless barrage of blows. Luis was durable, known for trading punches at an attention-grabbing rate, and was more than willing to absorb punishment in order to dish it out.

At his professional best, Resto would be briefly ranked in the worldwide top 10 although he was pretty much unknown outside of New York. He was moved very quickly and was unable to sustain that ranking as he clearly was not the beneficiary of careful career management and perhaps his handlers were too willing to fight anyone anywhere.  Despite this all too familiar scenario, Luis was always regarded as a live—if not dangerous—opponent for almost anyone in welterweight and junior middleweight.

In 1980 he fought a draw with the tough and experienced Adolfo Viruet (who held wins over Bruce Curry and Monroe Brooks) and beat talented Juan Hidlago (18-2). Several months later, Resto lost via ninth round stoppage to highly touted prospect Nino Gonzalez (20-1 at the time). In 1981 Resto lost a 10-round decision to Manuel Jimenez (20-1) in Puerto Rico, but he came back that same year with a nifty seventh round kayo over Domingo Ayala (14-3-1). Resto’s career took a sharp upward turn when he decisioned Sammy Horne (22-3) over 12 rounds in April 1983 setting him up for his fight with Billy Collins Jr. two months later, the outcome of which would cement Luis Resto’s name in boxing infamy.

Going back to the Hallacy encounter, Resto was a deceptively useful 10-5-1. Included in his early losses were bouts against future world champion Bruce Curry and experienced Argentinian Mario Omar Guilloti (55-8-5).

Pat Hallacy

One of three fighting brothers (the other two being the late Ned and brother Mike Hallacy, who both were solid fighters), Pat Hallacy (20-1) fought his way from the unlikely boxing locale of Wichita, Kansas to the historic Mecca of Boxing in New York City where he lost a decision Steve Gregory and drew with Johnny Turner. Later he would lose to Ayub Kalule, Johnny Bumphus, and Tony Ayala Jr. His most notable career win was over Pete Ranzany (56-5-2 at the time) in 1981.

The Fight

“This bout wasn’t televised, I’m pretty certain, and according to Flash (Malcolm “Flash” Gordon) it was one of the greatest exhibitions of two-way mayhem he had ever witnessed. Sort of ‘300’ in boxing gloves. (It was on the undercard of a Wilfredo Gomez non-title match, so film may exist.) Neither guy was much of a power hitter, and this fact allowed for even more frenetic action minus knockdowns and a stoppage of any sort. I’m only going by Gordon’s report, since I obviously have never had the pleasure of watching it.”—Pete Leo

“…this guy [Resto] is a hell of a fighter, isn’t he?”—Pat Hallacy

“In a way, Hallacy, the loser, might have been more buoyed than Resto, the winner.”—Bob Waters (Newsday Oct. 27, 1979); ProQuest Historical Newspapers: Newsday (1940-1984) page 25

“He (Pat) lost but he was absolutely terrific. Nine thousand Puerto Ricans gave him a standing ovation at the finish. It was one of the biggest standing ovations in years and it was Puerto Ricans cheering an Irish fighter who had just fought a Puerto Rican.”—Gil Clancy (as quoted in the Wichita Eagle Oct. 29, 1979)

When “Irish Pat Hallacy” was introduced, the boos hit a crescendo that would have made Kate Smith blush as most of the 9,000 fans were hugely pro-Resto. Luis received a tumultuous flag-waiving ovation when he came into the ring draped in the Puerto Rican flag.

When the bell rang for the first round, Resto immediately set the tone. He began firing punches at an inhuman rate and the barrage didn’t stop until 10 rounds later in a fight that Resto won on silent scorecards that cannot tell the real story of this dramatic battle. In the face of Luis’ never-ending barrage, Hallacy returned his own vicious stuff; he always handled what Resto had to offer, shook it off to the delight of the crowd, and then courageously came back with his own offerings, hitting Resto with sharp lefts from his southpaw stance.

The die had been cast. Resto would drive Hallacy into a corner with non-stop punching and a pummeled Hallacy, after covering up, would fight out of the corner with punches that would land on Resto’s jaw. The tempo never let up; in fact, if anything, it increased. It was toe-to-toe mayhem that moved from the corners to the middle of the ring and then back to the corners. The crowd was up, stayed up, and went absolutely wild.

And then, all of a sudden, the fans were yelling “Irish, Irish, Irish,” and Hallacy threw them a kiss. Incredibly, this tough and game Irishman from the Kansas had suddenly won over the hearts of 9000 hardcore Puerto Rican boxing fans in the Garden with his never-say-die style. For those in attendance, that the crowd actually got behind Hallacy the Irishmen from Wichita was mind boggling and emotionally draining. Something very special was going on and those lucky enough to witness it had chills going down their spines as they too joined in the cheers for “Irish Pat.”

To my knowledge, film does not exist of the fight, though it has been widely sought by aficionados and collectors. However, a friend and fellow-fan, Ed Cahill, witnessed it and provided me with his recollections and some sources. I also was able to dig out accounts from Wichita, Kansas newspapers and ProQuest Historical Newspapers.

After Resto was announced as the UD winner, the crowd gave the courageous Hallacy a standing ovation that reportedly lasted for 20 to 30 minutes. Said Ed Cahill, “After showering him (Hallacy) and his seconds with coins they damn near carried him from the ring!”

This was happening while Resto was in his dressing room flat on his back with Dr. Frank Gauarino concluding that he (Luis) would need stitches for a nasty crescent-shaped cut under his eye.

It was a night in New York City when the undercard trumped the main event—a night when the loser became the winner.

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Bruce Curry vs Luis Resto - March 18th, 1978.

Ayub Kalule vs Pat Hallacy-rds-8,9,10.avi

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  1. Ted 06:11am, 08/22/2013

    Thanks Peter. I don’t think there is any film on this one. It’s one of the few times I ever reconstructed a fight from what I could dig out in the archives and from eyewitness accounts. I enjoyed doing it actually.

    I was just moving out of NYC when this one happened or I would have seen it for sure as Gomez would have been the attraction.

  2. Peter Silkov 01:33am, 08/22/2013

    Great read Ted!... makes me wish I could get this fight on film, it sounds special.  Its a shame Resto was led astray in his pursuit of success, with his style he would probably have had a good solid career if he had kept on the straight and narrow.  I think Hallacy was one of Bennie Briscoes last opponents if my memory isn’t playing tricks on me.

  3. Ted 06:53am, 08/21/2013

    With all due respect to Dr. YouTube, See:,2860238

  4. Ted 06:52am, 08/21/2013

    Even when he was interviewed during that documentary with Lewis, he looked in shape but only physically.

    I believe Fallacy also got into some out-of-the ring issues later on but I’m not certain. The fighting Hallacy brothers were very popular in Kansas.

  5. peter 06:40am, 08/21/2013

    That’s a great idea about writing about Luis Resto, and I know a lot of us would look forward to reading it. I remember when Luis was an amateur training at the Fort Apache Gym. I had my boxing gear with me and thought about sparring him, but decided against it—I wasn’t as interested in competing anymore…Years later, after he turned pro and after his stint in jail, I spotted him working for Joey DeGuardia, doing odd jobs in the back room of one of his stores. I remember Luis still looked in shape, still at his fighting weight, but he looked old and broken.

  6. Ted 06:14am, 08/21/2013

    Thank Ed for pushing me to do this one. I always wanted to, but never had the correct info until now.

    Thanks Dan and Peter

  7. Pete The Sneak 04:40am, 08/21/2013

    ed cahill, beautifully put/described my man. I had to laugh when you mentioned Newsday being the only paper that had a write up on the fight. Newsday! The Queens/LongIsland Newspaper that is as far away from the Barrios as can be…lol..Go figure…Wonder if El Diario or El Tiempo (the 2 Spanish newspapers at the time) had anything on it….Still, I will try to stop by and see Mr. Resto just to see how much he remembers bout this fight and hopefully I can share his thoughts with the family here…Peace.

  8. ed cahill 07:51pm, 08/20/2013

    Never will forget this fight till the day I die. Saw it with my late dad. Pat entered a lonely MSG that night. No friends to see him through. A long way from dear old Wichita. El Barrio was out in force to cheer Bazooka Gomez.
    Not some outta town hick.
    Resto won clearly but every time it looked like curtains for Hallacy he would come blasting back off the ropes and fight Resto off him. Pat bordering on getting Tko’d several times but always somehow fighting the fiercely attacking Resto off him. This same exchange kept repeating throughout a great blistering fight. It was Hollywood stuff.The crowd was roaring.
    The decision was rendered to Resto. He earned it. His own Puerto Rican fans gave him a mix of cheers and boos believe it or not. Resto left the ring. Pat was alone.
    The crowd started to collectively buzz. Then a cheer started to rise until it was obvious to Pat he was not alone anymore and It was time to take a bow. He threw his arms up ala Rocky and received the most inspirational standing ovation imaginable!
    As I mentioned to Ted the ring was showered with coins. Its always bothered me that this fight was lost to history.
    No write ups next day other than Newsday of all paps.
    I remember saying to dad, Puerto Ricans love their own but they also love an underdog. Pat was a prime example.

    Thanks Ted for correcting an error in boxing history!


    Ed Cahill

  9. Dan Adams 05:57pm, 08/20/2013

    Excellent stuff, Ted!  Really enjoyed reading this piece!

  10. kid vegas 05:02pm, 08/20/2013

    Great read. Almost like I was at ringside.

  11. Ted 04:56pm, 08/20/2013

    Thanks EZ and Tex. I wish the hell I had been there. I was just moving to Boston from NYC and this one slipped through the cracks. But I rarely missed the good ones on the City.

  12. Tex Hassler 04:11pm, 08/20/2013

    Sometimes the fighter who lost, Hallacy can improve his standing by putting up a game fight. Hallacy did just that and showed what he was made of. Old time trainers often said you cannot tell what a fighter can do by wins alone, you need to see how he reacts to a loss. Mr. Sares this is a well written article and worth any one’s time to read.

  13. EZ E 04:10pm, 08/20/2013

    Uncle Teddy, another masterpiece, In the early 70s.Resto used to run with a street gang, ‘The Dirty Dozen’ from the Southern Blvd & Leggett Ave area in the Fort Apache 42nd Police Precienct district of the South Bronx, a few blocks from where I grew up. Everyone called him by his nickname, ‘Wito’. He was a rather easy going likable guy, never known to be a bully.

  14. The Krusher 02:29pm, 08/20/2013

    Very enjoyable to read this one Ted. Too bad you missed it.

  15. Ted 09:36am, 08/20/2013

    One of our writers Bob Mladinich also witnessed this fight.

  16. Ted 09:33am, 08/20/2013

    Pete that would be great to hear what Resto says.

  17. Pete The Sneak 09:23am, 08/20/2013

    Toro, great read and story…Yes, we Boricuas do appreciate an underdog (like most folks), especially when they show the heart, toughness, courage and cojones you so eloquently described Hallacy demonstrating in your piece…I see Resto pretty much everyday as I pass by the Morris Park Boxing Club in the Bronx on my way home from work. I think I’ll stop and ask him about this one. Great stuff…Peace.

  18. Ted 08:57am, 08/20/2013

    Thanks good Buddy. How was Italy?

  19. dollarbond 08:44am, 08/20/2013

    Brillaint piece that grabbed me and never let go.

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