Retired referee returns to ring as a promoter

Dec 12, 2000 9:26 AM

One of boxing’s most respected figures and recognizable ones with his signature bald head — retired referee Mills Lane — announced last week he will return to professional boxing as a promoter.

The move is part of a joint venture with Tony Holden, president of Holden Productions.

The announcement came at a mid-week press conference. "I’m excited to be joining forces with Tony Holden, certainly one of the most respected promoters in boxing," Lane said. "Tony and I share the same commitment to integrity and love of boxing."

In addition to promoting about 30 fights a year beginning in 2001, Lane added that his new company, Let’s Get It On Promotions, will also work toward helping and protecting fighters, both inside and out of the ring, by offering financial advice and general counseling.

Lane has more than 30 years of experience as a referee, including 102 world title fights. He has also served on the National Association of Attorneys General Task Force on Improvement of Boxing.

Plus, he’s the star of his own daytime TV show, "Judge Mills Lane," a People’s Court clone that is now in its third season.

Although Lane retired from boxing in 1998, technically he is still a referee. And no other referee has been involved in so many controversial fights. From the Tyson-Holyfield "bite" fight to Oliver McCall’s tear-filled fifth-round breakdown against Lennox Lewis, Lane always seemed to draw the high-profile fights that frequently shock the fans.

"The second Tyson-Holyfield fight was the most bizarre fight I’ve ever been involved in, and I’ve had a few," he said.

Lane’s new partner may not have been involved in such dramatic moments, but he is not a lightweight.

Over the years, Holden has gained a reputation in producing world class events with honesty and integrity — something sorely needed in the boxing industry. He is most widely-recognized as Tommy Morrison’s former promoter, but he has a long list of accomplishments. He has been involved in the careers of world champion Johnny Tapia, Iran Barkley and several others.