Dennis Hasson: The Itch To Fight

By Tim Donaldson
Photo: Edan Davis
 

If you want to be a professional fighter, you cannot approach it with less than a full commitment. Those who try might float around the club scene for a while, but they will never be the names you read or the faces you see on television. Although Dennis Hasson might not be a name you recognize, he has the drive to be one of the greats.

Dennis trains at Joe Hand’s Gym in Philadelphia, along with Teon Kennedy. Like Teon, Dennis is trained by Randy and Wade Hinnant. That is not the only connection between Teon and Dennis. The two were roommates at the Olympic Training Center in Marquette, Michigan. In fact, you could say that Teon had something to do with Dennis turning professional. According to Dennis, “When I came home, I wanted to finish school at Temple. I tried to pursue that, but I had the itch to turn professional because I had seen a lot of the guys that I know, Teon included, doing real well, and I wanted to do the same thing.”

Dennis turned professional two years ago. He is twenty-five now. While that might seem like a late start for a professional fighter, Dennis had an early start in boxing. “I was an amateur since I was ten years old, and I was ranked number three in the amateurs.” And he is wasting no time as a professional. Friday night at the Legendary Blue Horizon in Philadelphia, he will be fighting for the ninth time in two years. He has no plans to take it easy any time soon either. Dennis told me, “At this stage in a professional fighter’s career, it’s key to stay busy and get the right fights, so you can build your record up and later on down the line you can get the fights that will get you ranked higher and get your name out there.”

When I asked Dennis who was his toughest opponent, he did not hesitate. “I fought a guy named Garret Wilson, cruiserweight, excellent fighter, strong guy. It was pretty simple what I had to do, which was basically just box. His style of fighting is just coming forward and banging, so my coaches and I, we developed a strategy to just box and move and use our angles.” I remembered that fight, and I remember that Wilson was not one to back down. He also can take a punch. Dennis won that fight by unanimous decision, proving that he too can take a punch.

Dennis will be fighting Eric Pinarreta this Friday. To compare Pinarreta’s record with Dennis’s, you might think that Dennis would be taking it easy. But as I watched him train, it was apparent that he was not taking it easy. He explained why. “Anybody’s a threat. You can’t overlook anybody. You just got to train real hard. Hope for the best. You leave it all in the gym. You shouldn’t have anything to worry about. That’s how I feel right now. Training is going real well. My coaches and I are training real hard. Joe Hand and Doc [Nowicki], my managers, got me set up in camp with Teon, so everything is real positive. Everything is lad out for me fight now. I just got to do my part.”

Going away to train at camp is a new experience for Dennis. Training is the same, but camp adds a new dimension to the training. “The only thing different is that I am away from home, away from the people I see everyday. I don’t have a lot of things on my mind. It’s just boxing and rest up at the Hampton Inn, Langhorne. I never had the opportunity to do anything like that so far as a pro. To have that advantage and get away, eat good food, and get up early, not have to work and things like that, it’s a blessing.” Camp provides the setting for a fighter to focus on a single purpose, and that purpose is to win. It is obvious that Dennis wants to win.

And Dennis wants to keep winning, keep moving up, and become a real force in boxing. I asked him where he would like to be two years from now. He answered, “Hopefully getting ready for a big fight. If not, just keep going in that direction. I don’t want to take any steps back. I just want to keep training, keep winning, keep fighting hard.”



 

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