Mills Lane, Who Refereed Tyson Ear Bite Fight, Dies at 85

“It was almost as if he wanted to get knocked out,” Mr. Lane said after the bout. “He wasn’t putting up any semblance of a defense, so I figured that was it.”

He also disqualified Henry Akinwande in a fight that year against Lewis for excessive clinching and holding.

And in 1998, Mr. Lane accidentally pushed the middleweight champion Bernard Hopkins through the ropes when he tried to break up a headlock in which Robert Allen was holding Hopkins. Hopkins was injured, and the fight was declared a no contest.

“It was just one of those things that happen,” Mr. Lane said after the fight, one of his last.

Mills Bee Lane III was born on Nov. 12, 1937, in Savannah, Ga. His father, Remer, moved his family after World War II to a plantation in South Carolina, where he raised cattle. His mother, Louise (Harris) Lane, was a homemaker. Remer had chosen not to enter the family-owned business, the Citizens and Southern Bank, and Mills later declined to as well.

Boxing became his passion. He listened to it on the radio and, after graduating from boarding school, learned to box in the Marines, which he had joined in 1956. While he was stationed in Okinawa, he won the Marines’s All-Far East welterweight championship. Determined to continue as a boxer, he enrolled at the University of Nevada, Reno, and won the 1960 N.C.A.A. welterweight title.

Although he failed to make the 1960 Olympic team, Mr. Lane soon turned professional. He lost his first fight but won the next 10 (one of which avenged his loss) before retiring in 1967, knowing he didn’t have enough talent to be a champion.

By then he had graduated from the University of Nevada, in 1963, with a degree in business and had begun refereeing. He got his law degree from the University of Utah in 1970.

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