Hall of Fame Referee Mills Lane Passes Away At 85

Goodbye and Thanks to Referee Mills Lane

Referee Mills Lane dies at 85
Referee Mills Lane dies at 85 | Credit: Donna Connor/Savannah Morning News, Jeff Haynes/AFP

Referee Mills Lane Dies Surrounded by Family

With much sadness, 3Kings Boxing has learned that Hall of Fame referee Mills Lane has passed away at age 85. Lane’s son, Tommy, told the Reno Gazette-Journal that his father had been in hospice for the last week.

“He took a significant decline in his overall situation. It was a quick departure. He was comfortable, and he was surrounded by his family. 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.”

A former collegiate boxing champion who almost made the 1960 United States Olympic Team, Lane became one of the sport’s most prominent and respected figures.


A judge as well as a former prosecutor and a district attorney, Mills Lane began refereeing prizefights in the 1970s. He presided over 100 world championship fights during his professional ring career. With his distinctive bald head, scraggly voice, and final words of “let’s get it on” during his ring instructions, he was a fan favorite for fans and pundits.

Lane’s most well-known ring assignment was the second fight between Evander Holyfield and Mike Tyson on June 28, 1997, when Tyson infamously bit the ear of Holyfield. After Retiring from refereeing in 1998, Lane landed his own reality syndicated show, Judge Mills Lane, from 1998-2002.

His health took a turn for the worse after suffering a stroke in 2002 that impaired his ability to speak. In 2013, Lane was inducted into the International Boxing Hall of Fame. We at 3Kings Boxing send our deepest condolences and heartfelt wishes to his family, friends, and loved ones.

By: Michael Wilson Jr.

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About Mike W.1993 Articles
Mike is the host of boxing podcast "Pound 4 Pound Boxing Report" and is a Senior Writer for 3kingsboxing.com.