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#pounditTuesday, January 31, 2023

Legendary boxing ref Mills Lane dies at 85

Mills Lane working a boxing match

Jun 19, 1992; Las Vegas, NV, USA: FILE PHOTO; Boxing referee Mills Lane prior to the flight between Evander Holyfield and Larry Holmes (not pictured) during the WBC – WBA -IBF heavy weight title flight at Caesars Palace. Holyfield defeated Holmes in a 12 round unanimous decision. Mandatory Credit: MPS-USA TODAY Sports

Former professional boxing referee Mills Lane has died.

Lane’s brother, Tommy Lane, told Jim Krajewski of the Reno Gazette Journal that Mills died in Reno, Nev., on Tuesday morning at the age of 85. Lane had been in hospice for the past week and “took a significant decline in his overall situation,” Tommy said.

Lane also suffered a stroke 20 years ago.

Lane refereed his first boxing match in 1971. He became extremely well known in the sport when he worked the June 28, 1997 rematch between then-heavyweight champion Evander Holyfield and Mike Tyson. Lane was brought in to ref that bout at the last minute after Tyson’s camp protested that Mitch Halpern was supposed to be the referee. Lane ended up disqualifying Tyson after he infamously bit Holyfield’s ear twice during the match.

Lane was a boxer before he became a referee. He won the NCAA welterweight title while at the University of Nevada in 1960. He began boxing when he joined the US Marine Corps in 1956. Lane had a record of 10-1 as a professional boxer.

Not long before he retired from refereeing in 1998, Lane gained popularity in pop culture when he was featured as a character on the MTV show “Celebrity Death Match.” His voice and famous “Let’s get it on!” catchphrase became the most recognizable thing about the show.

Lane was inducted into the International Boxing Hall of Fame and Nevada Boxing Hall of Fame in 2013.

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