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Mills Lane

Mills Lane
Born Mills Bee Lane III
(1937-11-12) November 12, 1937
Savannah, Georgia
Other names Judge Mills Lane
Occupation Retired television judge and former boxing referee
Notable credit(s) Judge Mills Lane
Celebrity Deathmatch

Mills Bee Lane III (born November 12, 1937)[1][2] is a retired boxing referee, a former boxer, was a two-term Washoe County District Court Judge and television personality. He is best known for having officiated several major heavyweight championship boxing matches in the 1970s, 1980s, and 1990s, and for starring in the syndicated court show Judge Mills Lane.[3] On June 9, 2013, Lane was inducted into the International Boxing Hall of Fame.[4]


  • Biography 1
  • Boxing referee 2
  • Television 3
  • After TV 4
  • Stroke 5
  • Professional boxing record 6
  • References 7
  • External links 8


Lane hails from a prominent uncle (and namesake) was the president of Citizens & Southern National Bank.[5] Mills, however, had other aspirations, and joined the United States Marine Corps in 1956, after his graduation from Middlesex School. He became a boxer while serving as a Marine, becoming the All-Far East welterweight champ. After leaving the Marine Corps, he enrolled at the University of Nevada, Reno and became the NCAA boxing champion. He turned pro while in college, eventually earning a 10–1 record as a pro. He was in the 1960 Summer Olympics boxing finals held in San Francisco, California. He was defeated by Phil Baldwin in the semifinals.[6]

Lane graduated from the University of Nevada, Reno with a business degree in 1963, then attended the University of Utah S.J. Quinney College of Law, graduating with the class of 1970. In 1979, he became Chief Deputy Sheriff of Investigative Services at the Washoe County Sheriff's Office. He was elected District Attorney in 1982 and District Judge in 1990.[3]

Boxing referee

Lane refereed his first world championship boxing match in 1971, when Betulio González had a fifteen-round draw with Erbito Salavarria for the WBC flyweight title.[3] Lane became a household name in the United States the night he refereed "The Bite Fight" rematch between world heavyweight champion Evander Holyfield and challenger Mike Tyson on June 28, 1997. After Tyson bit Holyfield's ears twice, Lane disqualified him. Lane's shirt was stained with blood from the incident, and he sold it to a memorabilia collector on the same night.[7] Mitch Halpern was supposed to referee the fight, but Tyson's camp protested him, so Lane was brought in at the last minute. Less than 3 weeks later Lane refereed the boxing fight between Lennox Lewis and Henry Akinwande. Just like Tyson Vs. Holyfield, it ended in disqualification when Akinwande used illegal tactics and ignored Lane's repetitive orders to stop.


Lane presided over the court show, Judge Mills Lane, as a tough and sassy judge known for his locution of "Let's get it on" upon the outset of each case. The court show lasted for three seasons, from 1998 to 2001.[3] In addition to this show, the producers of MTV's Celebrity Deathmatch approached him about having his character and voice used in their show as the referee of their plasticine figure matches.[3] Lane accepted the offer, and became an MTV personality. As a referee, Lane started boxing matches by declaring "Let's get it on!", which became his catchphrase. This was reproduced in Celebrity Deathmatch as his character would shout the same phrase to initiate fights.[3] Lane titled his autobiography Let's Get It On: Tough Talk from Boxing's Top Ref and Nevada's Most Outspoken Judge.[8]

Lane guest voiced on an episode of Buzz Lightyear of Star Command, in which he played a judge.

After TV

After the fight between Thomas Hearns and Jay Snyder on November 6, 1998, Lane retired as a boxing referee.[9]


Lane suffered a debilitating stroke in March 2002 which left him partially paralyzed, and virtually unable to speak.[9] This led to his Celebrity Deathmatch alter-ego being voiced by Chris Edgerly (who played Nick Diamond) for the remainder of the series' run. His adopted city, Reno, celebrated him on December 27, 2004, proclaiming it "Mills Lane Day". In May 2006, Lane made his first public appearance in years at the dedication of a new courthouse which is named after him.[10]

In 2012 he was elected to the International Boxing Hall of Fame.[10]

Professional boxing record

10 Wins (5 knockouts, 5 decisions), 1 Loss[11]
Result Record Opponent Type Round Date Location Notes
Win 10–1 Buddy Knox Unanimous decision 6 May 9, 1967 Centennial Coliseum, Reno, Nevada
Win 9–1 David Camacho Unanimous decision 10 February 28, 1963 Mathisen Hall, Reno, Nevada
Win 8–1 Al Walker Unanimous decision 6 January 31, 1963 Mathisen Hall, Reno, Nevada
Win 7–1 Larry Sanchez KO 2 (6), 1:04 December 12, 1962 Mathisen Hall, Reno, Nevada
Win 6–1 Artie Cox KO 3 (8), 0:43 August 7, 1962 Memorial Auditorium, Sacramento, California
Win 5–1 Al Carroll TKO 5 (8), 3:00 July 17, 1962 State Building, Reno, Nevada
Win 4–1 Dick Smith Decision 6 June 26, 1962 Sacramento, California
Win 3–1 Marva Hawkins KO 6 (6) June 12, 1962 Sacramento, California
Win 2–1 Sonny King TKO 1 (6), 2:10 May 27, 1962 Wagon Wheel Convention Center, Stateline, Nevada
Win 1–1 Carlos Loya Unanimous decision 10 May 10, 1962 State Building, Reno, Nevada
Loss 0–1 Artie Cox TKO 1 (4), 0:35 April 7, 1961 State Building, Reno, Nevada Lane's professional debut.


  1. ^
  2. ^
  3. ^ a b c d e f Erickson, Hal (2009). Encyclopedia of television law shows: factual and fictional series about judges, lawyers and the courtroom, 1948-2008. McFarland. pp. 147–148.  
  4. ^ "Lane inducted into Boxing Hall of Fame".  
  5. ^ "MILLS B. LANE DIES; A BANKER 64 YEARS". New York Times. 1945. Retrieved 5 June 2015. 
  6. ^ Moe, Doug (2005). Lords of the Ring: The Triumph and Tragedy of College Boxing's Greatest Team. University of Wisconsin Press. p. 117.  
  7. ^ Sugar, Bert Randolph (2003). Bert Sugar on Boxing: The Best of the Sport's Most Notable Writer. Globe Pequot. pp. 247–249.  
  8. ^ Lane, Mills; Jedwin Smith (1998). Let's get it on: tough talk from boxing's top ref and Nevada's most outspoken judge. Crown.  
  9. ^ a b Carp, Steve (2008). "Stroke victim Mills Lane, family cope". Las vegas Review Journal. Retrieved 11/09/2008. 
  10. ^ a b Fitzgerald, Mike; Morley, Patrick (28 February 2013). Third Man in the Ring: 33 of Boxing's Best Referees and Their Stories. Potomac Books, Inc. pp. 14–.  
  11. ^ "Mills Lane Professional boxing record". 

External links

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