Noted boxing ref Mills Lane dies at 85

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Boxer-turned-lawyer Mills Lane, who refereed more than 100 world championship fights, died Tuesday morning in Reno, Nev. He was 85.

His son told the Reno Gazette Journal that Lane had been under hospice care for the past week but didn’t state his cause of death. Lane had a serious stroke 20 years ago.

“You never knew how long he had. We kind of felt like we were preparing for this all along, but there’s no such thing as preparing for this,” Tommy Lane told the newspaper.

Mills Lane took up boxing while a member of the U.S. Marine Corps in the mid-1950s. After his time in the service, he competed for the University of Nevada and won the NCAA welterweight title. As a pro, he was 10-1.

Lane earned his law degree in 1970 from the University of Utah, then returned to Reno to begin a law career. A longtime prosecutor, he was elected district attorney of Washoe County in 1982, then served as judge in the county’s Second Judicial District Court from 1990-98. He had his own courtroom television series for three years, as well.

He officiated some of the biggest fights in the 1970s, ’80s and ’90s, including bouts featuring Mike Tyson, Evander Holyfield, Muhammad Ali, Riddick Bowe and Lennox Lewis.

Lane was in the ring on June 28, 1997, at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas when he disqualified Tyson for biting the ears of Holyfield.

The City of Reno named its justice administration building in his honor in 2006. Seven years later, he was inducted into the International Boxing Hall of Fame and the Nevada Boxing Hall of Fame.

–Field Level Media

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