Legendary boxing referee Mills Lane has died.
He was 85.
Lane was in the ring for the rematch between Evander Holyfield and Mike Tyson after Tyson bit Holyfield’s ear. Lane was the referee who disqualified Tyson in the 1997 fight, KRNV reported.
Lane, who also served the Washoe County community as a judge, was born in 1937 to a well-known Georgia family, according to his official biography.
Instead of going into the family businesses including the banking industry, Lane took a different path and joined the Marine Corps out of high school where he became a boxer. During his military time, Lane became the All-Far-East welterweight champion while serving in Okinawa.
He attended the University of Nevada after he was discharged because he had heard about the school’s boxing program, where he won the NCAA welterweight title in 1960, barely missed qualifying for the Olympic boxing team and eventually turned pro with a 10-1 record.
Lane turned his sights to becoming a referee while also graduating from the university with a business administration degree. He eventually graduated from the University’s College of Law in 1970 and passed the Nevada bar exam. He worked as a prosecutor in the Washoe County District Attorney’s office and eventually was elected the county’s D.A. before becoming a judge in 1990. He stepped down from the bench to tar in a courtroom series Judge Mills Lane that ran for three seasons, according to the Washoe Courts website.
While serving in the district attorney’s office and as a judge, Lane was a referee from the 1970s through the 1990s.
Lane also was known for his pre-fight saying “Let’s get it on” and refereed more than 100 world championship matches.
Lane suffered a stroke in 2002 and had been under hospice care for the past week, the Reno Gazette-Journal reported.
Lane’s son Tommy Lane confirmed his father’s death to the newspaper, saying, “He took a significant decline in his overall situation. It was a quick departure. He was comfortable and he was surrounded by his family.”
The family spent the past few days watching their father’s favorite films — “The Godfather,” “On the Waterfront,” “Patton” and “Shane.”