Tommy Hyde, who died yesterday, was a boxing legend.
The Sunnyside welterweight claimed the national senior in 1946 and, in a golden era for Cork boxing, represented Ireland at three different weights.
He was renowned for his hand speed, skill, dazzling footwork and the pinpoint accuracy of his punches.
Some of his greatest performances were against one of the men who succeeded him as national welterweight champion, his great rival and close friend Peter Crotty from from Dungarvan who boxed out of the Clonmel club and won four-time national senior titles.
The ‘Iron Man’ was putting the finishing touches to his preparations for the Helsinki Olympics when he suffered a stunning defeat at the hands of the Sunnyside man.
Hyde lost very few contests but it is one of those that is part of boxing folklore. That was the night he stepped up a division to take on Irish champion, Mick McKeon, at the Opera House and they went toe-toe for six rounds. McKeon, who lost was the victim of a controversial decision at the London Olympics in 1948 was beaten in the box-off for a bronze medal after losing his semi-final bout, claimed a disputed decision.
The Corkman had only returned the previous night from a gruelling trip to Finland where he won five of his seven contests — three of them in one day. Tommy was rightly proud of the distinction of never having been floored, never having taken a standing count and never been given a public warning. He retired in 1953 after more than 200 contests.
His grand nephew, Garry Hyde, is manager of world super bantamweight champion, Guillermo Rigondeaux, and his great grand nephew, Tommy Hyde, is a promising talent.
His removal takes place this evening (7 p.m.) from O’Connor Funeral Home, Coburg Street, to St. Mary’s Cathedral with Requiem Mass at 12 noon tomorrow followed by his funeral to St. Joseph’s Cemetery, Tory Top Road.
© Irish Examiner Ltd. All rights reserved