Hall-of-fame referee and former fighter, Mills Lane, has passed away at age 85.
The beloved boxing figure died on Tuesday morning, December 6. He had previously suffered a stroke in 2002 that severely affected his movement and ability to speak. Tommy Lane, Mill’s son, spoke to the Reno Gazette Journal about his father’s health and passing.
“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.”
Lane was a US Marine and took up boxing whilst serving. He became the All Far-East welterweight champion when stationed in Okinawa, Japan.
Following a defeat in his first fight as a pro, Lane went on to win his next ten before hanging up the gloves. He turned his hand to officiating, his first bout being in 1971.
Lane’s ‘let’s get it on’ catchphrase is as well-known a saying as the sport has, signalling to fight fans across the world that the action was about to begin, and to fighters that they were in capable hands.
For the MTV generation, the referee voiced a character on the popular and gruesome show, Celebrity Deathmatch – bringing his fame to a whole new level.
He was the man to disqualify Mike Tyson for the biting of Evander Holyfield’s ear in their rematch, and called over 100 championship fights throughout the seventies, eighties and nineties.
A hometown legend, Lane had a day named after him in Reno, Nevada as well as a courthouse – a tribute to his career as District Attorney. He passed away in the city he loved with his sons, Terry and Tommy, and wife, Kay, by his side.