Mills Lane

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Mills Lane
Mills Bee Lane III

(1937-11-12) November 12, 1937 (age 81)
Other namesJudge Mills Lane
OccupationWelterweight boxer
Boxing referee
Arbitrator on the Judge Mills Lane court show
Notable credit(s)
Judge Mills Lane
Celebrity Deathmatch

Mills Bee Lane III (born November 12, 1937)[1][2] is an American former boxing referee and professional boxer, a two-term Washoe County, Nevada 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] and was likewise inducted into the Nevada Boxing Hall of Fame on August 10 of the same year.

Early life[edit]

Lane hails from a prominent Georgia family: his grandfather founded the largest bank in Georgia, and his uncle (and namesake) was the president of Citizens & Southern National Bank.[5]

After his graduation from Middlesex School, Mills joined the United States Marine Corps in 1956. Subsequently, he enrolled at the University of Nevada, Reno. Lane graduated from the University of Nevada, Reno with a business degree in 1963, then attended the University of Utah's S.J. Quinney College of Law, graduating with the class of 1970.

Boxing career[edit]

Lane became a boxer while serving as a Marine, becoming the All-Far East welterweight champ. He was an NCAA boxing champion.

He turned pro while in college, eventually earning a 10–1 record as a professional. In the US Olympic Trials in San Francisco for the 1960 Summer Olympics, Mills was defeated by Phil Baldwin in the boxing semifinals.[6]

Legal career[edit]

In 1979, Lane 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 career[edit]

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 so Lane was brought in at the last minute. Less than 3 weeks later Lane refereed the match between Lennox Lewis and Henry Akinwande. Just like Tyson Vs. Holyfield, it ended in disqualification when Akinwande used illegal tactics, these being excessive clinching and ignored Lane's repeated orders to stop.[citation needed]

After the fight between Thomas Hearns and Jay Snyder on November 6, 1998, Lane retired as a boxing referee.[8]

On August 10, 2013, he was inducted into the Nevada Boxing Hall of Fame.

Television career[edit]

Lane presided over the court show, Judge Mills Lane. 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.[9]

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


Lane suffered a debilitating stroke in March 2002, which left him partially paralyzed, and virtually unable to speak.[8]

With his blessing, 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 of Reno proclaimed December 27, 2004 as Mills Lane Day.[citation needed]

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 2013, he was elected to the International Boxing Hall of Fame.[10]

Professional boxing record[edit]

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


  1. ^ "Mills Lane III - Reno, Nevada". 1987-04-29. Retrieved 2016-11-12.
  2. ^ "Happy 77th Mills Lane ... and other Nevada tidbits". 2014-11-19. Retrieved 2016-11-12.
  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. 147–48. ISBN 978-0-7864-3828-0.
  4. ^ "Lane inducted into Boxing Hall of Fame". ESPN. June 11, 2013.
  5. ^ "Mills B. Lane Dies; A Banker 64 Years". The New York Times. 1945. Retrieved June 5, 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. ISBN 978-0-299-20424-2.
  7. ^ Sugar, Bert Randolph (2003). Bert Sugar on Boxing: The Best of the Sport's Most Notable Writer. Globe Pequot. pp. 247–49. ISBN 978-1-59228-048-3.
  8. ^ a b Carp, Steve (2008). "Stroke victim Mills Lane, family cope". Las Vegas Review Journal. Retrieved November 12, 2016.
  9. ^ Lane, Mills; Jedwin Smith (1998). Let's get it on: tough talk from boxing's top ref and Nevada's most outspoken judge. Crown. ISBN 978-0-609-60311-6.
  10. ^ a b Fitzgerald, Mike; Morley, Patrick (February 28, 2013). Third Man in the Ring: 33 of Boxing's Best Referees and Their Stories. Potomac Books, Inc. pp. 14–. ISBN 978-1-61234-242-9.
  11. ^ "Mills Lane Professional boxing record".

External links[edit]