Nov. 27, 1931 – Oct. 17, 2014
Laverne Roland “Rollie” Hackmer, a former professional boxer and manager who entered the ring when he was 12, died Friday in Veterans Victory House Walterboro, S.C. He was 82.
Born in Lockport, he was well-known in fight circles for 50 years, training fighters throughout the world. Hackmer won his first title when he was 16, in the novice class of the 1949 Buffalo Courier-Express Golden Gloves Championships. He went on to take the open class titles in 1951, 1952 and 1953.
He also won the All Service Championship while serving in the U.S. Air Force in 1952, the same year he tried out for the U.S. Olympic boxing team, losing a place on the team on a split decision in the finals. He was a boxing coach in the Air Force, served in the Korean War , and was discharged a sergeant.
Hackmer had 10 professional matches, said his nephew, Bill Hackmer, who was a Golden Gloves champion himself and a member of the Buffalo Veteran Boxers Association’s 2010 Hall of Fame.
He said his uncle brought honesty, integrity and a knowledge of the sport to boxing.
“The guy was a wizard in the sport. If it wasn’t for him I wouldn’t be in it,” Bill Hackmer said. “He worked my corners in some of my fights.”
Hackmer managed many fighters, including Doug Jones, Ron Huston, Jimmy Conners, Jackson Brown, Johnny O’Brien and others. Doug Jones lost a tough 10-round decision to Muhammad Ali in 1963, a year before Ali captured the world heavyweight championship.
Hackmer also was an attorney, his nephew said. He retired from managing boxers about 15 years ago, he said, but Bill Hackmer will always remember his uncle’s best advice.
“He taught me how to hit and not get hit, and that’s the key in boxing,” he said.
Rollie Hackmer is survived by his wife, Peggy.
Prayers will be said at 11 a.m. Wednesday at Taylor & Reynolds Funeral Home, Transit and Niagara streets, Lockport. A Mass of Christian Burial will follow at 11:30 a.m. at All Saints Catholic Church, 76 Church St., Lockport.