The Ultimate List: Top 10 Boxing Referees of All Time

The Ultimate List: Top 10 Boxing Referees of All Time

The Ultimate List: Top 10 Boxing Referees of All Time

Boxing has some of the greatest and most memorable moments in sports history. The Ref: Every great fight has a ref, which may seem like a boring job, but the referee is the man ensuring that the fight remains fair and competitive from start to finish. Here, we will take a trip down memory lane as we dissect the top 10 boxing referees of all time and analyze the value in the careers of each among sport.


1. Kenny Bayless

Kenny Bayless is truly one of the best referees in the history of boxing. Bayless has worked some of the biggest matches ever officiated, such as De la Hoya--Floyd Mayweather Jr., Manny Pacquiao--Juan Manuel Marquez and Mayweather--Shane Mosley, and he has always been in control and able to make snap judgments.

That he is a deft hand at calling fights exactly when they should be and notoriously stays out of the way during fights has made him highly regarded, and popular with both fighters and fans.


2. Tony Weeks


Tony Weeks has a popular among boxing fans for good reason, he has a tendency to allow fighters go at it without interjecting themselves unnecessarily in the fight. Most importantly in the Lightweight Title bout between Jose Luis Castillo and Diego Corrales, where he let the two warriors work away on the inside in what would result in one of the greatest fights of all time. His good displays and sportsmanship have made Weeks on of the very best in the business.


3. Steve Smoger


The career of referee Steve Smoger has hardly been worthwhile. What His Way of Giving Fighters a Second Chances Lead to is Another Classic. As once displayed in the fight between Pawel Wolak and Delvin Rodriguez, Smoger's flexibility to adjust his refing to the ebb and flow of a fight has made him a revered figure in the world of boxing. Barnes is in the International Boxing Hall of Fame and other halls of fame. His career will forever be remembered as one of the best of all time.


4. Arthur Mercante, Sr.


The impact Arthur Mercante, Sr. had on the sport of boxing is beyond measure His groundbreaking work to score appearance and break down rounds by the third to expunge the influence of last-second flurries, and his effort to scout and develop young referees to referee not speed or power, but proper angles, shows the depth of his passion for the sport. Mercante's teaching ability, and his enduring influence in the training of the next generation of referees, makes him a hall-of-fame boxing referee.


5. Mills Lane


Mills Lane career as boxing referee has shaped the sport and life of many. Lane's handling of the famous ear-biting incident has fortified his status as one of the best referees in boxing despite that controversial moment in the Tyson/Holyfield rematch. Well, his rough, no-nonsense officiating and his memorable role in so many top fights will mean that he goes down in the annals of boxing history.


6. Joe Cortez


In his illustrious career as a referee, Joe Cortez has been associated with rousing incidents and controversial calls. Although the man can be a bit of a love or hate figure with the fans, Cortez is a man who made a difference in the sport.

The ethering tales countless have heard based on his experience and coverage of major fights from Mayweather vs. Victor Ortiz have long added to the cannon of combat lore. Although he has many detractors as well, Cortez belongs in the upper echelon of boxing referees for his work in some of the sport's most iconic matchups.


7. Richard Steele


Richard Steele leaves a legacy as a compassionate intelligent man who looked out for the safety of the boxers he reffed. The way Taylor and Chavez were handled and the "Fair but Firm" mantra he attached himself to has helped the sport a great deal. Steele's uncanny ability to keep his composure and make split-second decisions inside the ropes has earned him a spot among the great referees in the history of the sport.


8. Frank Capuccino


Frank Capuccino has been an impartial and honest referee throughout his career. The respect for his work has come from both fighters and fans as he has allowed fighters to fight when it was necessary and some of his best work has come in some classic battles. While you might not have anywhere near the same number of answers, the sheer fact that you're still reading and wondering probably tells you all you need to know: Capuccino's strict dedication to quality in boxing and approach to officiating make him one of the best boxing referees of all-time.


9. Richard Steele


Known for his attention to the fighters' safety and professionalism, Richard Steele will be remembered through his boxing referee legacy. The Taylor-Chavez fight, and his "Fair but Firm" approach are something the sport of boxing can hold in it's heart forever. That type of calm under pressure combined with his ability to make the right call has made the highly respected Steele one of the best to ever walk into a boxing ring.


10. Pat Russell

One of the reasons so many fans, and fighters, trust and rightfully respect Pat Russell is his control and quick decision making in the ring, and he has put that on display time after time. In every regard, his body of work as an official speaks to his accuracy, his professionalism to go with his long career officiating some of the most memorable fights in the history of the sport (i.e.. Marquez-Vazquez/Marquez-Diaz). He was one of the best referees in the history of the sport, partly because of the fact that he actually played a part in defining it.

This dedication, accuracy and ability to make decisions in less than a second have not only raised the level of the whole sport but also made it a better and more entertaining show for everyone — fighters, viewers and fans from all around the world.

The careers of these referees are powerful examples of where the human tapestry of boxing is stitched: adding its thread of purpose and honor to the sport —a legacy that will forever influence and direct future referees.

 


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