Mills Lane, Legendary Boxing Referee, Dies at 85
Mills Lane, a Hall of Fame boxing referee who officiated more than 100 championship bouts, died Tuesday at a hospice near his home in Reno, his son Tommy told the Reno Gazette-Journal. He was 85 old.
Tommy Lane stated that his father’s health was in serious decline. Mills suffered a stroke 20 in April 2002,, which led to him ending his officiating career.
“He experienced a significant decline in his overall condition,” Tommy Lane stated. It was a quick departure. He was comfortable and he was surrounded by his family.”
Lane began his time in the boxing ring as a fighter, winning the 1960 NCAA welterweight boxing championship and competing in the U.S. Olympic Trials that same year. He turned pro the following year while still in college and lost his debut before going on to win 10 consecutive fights. He retired in 1967 with a 10-1 record.
Although Lane was an accomplished fighter, he went on to be one of the most respected referees in boxing’s history. He was most famous for refereeing “The Bite Fight”, a rematch between Evander Holyfield, world heavyweight champion, and Mike Tyson. Tyson was disqualified by Lane after he bit Holyfield twice in the first round.
The Holyfield – Tyson rematch was not the only important fight Mills was involved in. Mills, who became known for his pre-fight catchphrase “Let’s get it on,” oversaw some of the biggest bouts of the 20th century that included boxers like Muhammad Ali, Tyson, Holyfield, Lennox Lewis, Julio Cesar Chavez and Riddick Bowe.
Lane inducted into the International Boxing Hall of Fame 2013.
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