Famous Boxing Referees

The following article contains a list of notable boxing referees and judges. A boxing referee (also known as a judge) is responsible for enforcing the rules of boxing, supervising the fight, and controlling the ring as well as responsible for scoring a match with the help of ringside judges based on the ten-point must system. 

Judges are used to assisting referees in both amateur and professional events. This list includes officials who have refereed boxing matches at high-level championship and professional level fights.

Table of Contents

famous boxing referees

Famous Boxing Referees List

* Nat Fleischer (1887-1972) – American sports journalist and boxing historian.

* Jules Bergman (1912-2000) – American television news reporter; at ringside calling the action for CBS and NBC coverage of heavyweight championship bouts from 1949 to 1977, including every Muhammad Ali bout.

* Bill Goodman (1914-1995) – American journalist and boxing judge who was one of the sport’s most esteemed historians. He compiled his research in an unpublished book “The History of Boxing” which is available at the International Boxing Hall Of Fame library, along with his collection of more than 60 scrapbooks that chronicled every aspect of the sport in America. He was a boxing judge who presided over most of Muhammad Ali’s bouts, including his 1965 fight against Floyd Patterson at Yankee Stadium.

* Tony Castellano (1921-2007) – one of the world’s longest-tenured professional boxing referees, officiating 2,479 bouts from 1939 to 1993 when he retired at the age of 72.

* Jack Dempsey (1895-1983) – World heavyweight boxing champion from 1919 to 1926, who was inducted into the International Boxing Hall Of Fame in 1990.

* Larry O’Connell (1920-2006) – American boxing judge who called matches right up until his death, officiating bouts including the Mike Tyson-Dwight Qawi fight in 1986 and other major championship fights. He judged 17 heavyweight title fights between 1978 and 2006.

* Richard Steele (born c. 1938) – former British boxer who became one of his country’s most senior boxing referees, officiating at many world title fights throughout a distinguished career that lasted several decades.

* Chuck Hassett (1922-2003) – American referee who was the third longest-tenured boxing referee in history, officiating over 2,000 fights from 1943 to 2002. “Associated Press” sportswriter Tom Canavan wrote: “Chuck Hassett is one of those unsung people in sports who was such a great guy and so good at his job that nobody ever had a bad word to say about him.”

* Carlos Padilla (born c. 1941) – Nicaraguan boxing judge who, as of 2009, had judged more than 500 world championship fights and refereed 18 title bouts. He was the first Latin American boxing judge elected to the International Boxing Hall Of Fame.

* Joe Cortez (born c. 1942) – American judge who served as a referee at four world championship bouts from 1977 to 1982, before becoming one of boxing’s most senior referees from 1989 to 2013.

He worked the ring at 48 world title fights, including the 2002 heavyweight championship bout between Lennox Lewis and Mike Tyson.

* Duane Ford (1912-1975) – American boxing referee from 1940 to 1975 who officiated at many historic fights, including Joe Louis’ 1951 comeback fight against Rocky Marciano where he knocked out the future world champion in the eighth round.

Present Boxing Referees Include:

* Robert Byrd (born 1951) – American judge who has refereed more world championship bouts than any other referee in boxing history, and was inducted into the International Boxing Hall Of Fame in 2009.

He is one of only two judges to have officiated at heavyweight title fights across seven different decades from 1980 to 2017, along with Arthur Mercante.

* Arthur Mercante (born c. 1939) – American judge who was the first to officiate 40 world title fights in boxing history, including Wladimir Klitschko’s heavyweight championship win against Sam Peter in 2005 – the only time that a fighter has won that title on a disqualification.

He also umpired more heavyweight championship bouts than any other referee in history and was inducted into the International Boxing Hall Of Fame in 2010.

* Tony Weeks (born c. 1953) – American judge who is ranked by the BWAA as one of boxing’s ten most influential people in 2016. Weeks refereed 18 world title fights from 1993 to 2007 and has been a judge since 1989.

He judged bouts including Lennox Lewis’ victory over Mike Tyson in 2002, Evander Holyfield’s heavyweight championship win against Riddick Bowe in 1992, and the rematch, Holyfield’s defeat of Bowe in 1993. He also judged numerous title fights at middleweight, light heavyweight, and cruiserweight.

* Robert Hoyle (born c. 1958) – American judge who has officiated at 18 world title bouts since 1995. Only Weeks and Harold Lederman have refereed more championship fights than Hoyle.

* Chuck Giampa (born c. 1944) – American judge who has judged 29 world title fights since 1988, as well as dozens of notable matches at light heavyweight and cruiserweight.

One of three judges to have officiated at Evander Holyfield’s heavyweight championship win against Riddick Bowe in 1993, Giampa also judged the rematch 12 months later, Holyfield’s defeat of Bowe in 1993. Giampa has twice been named BWAA Judge of the Year, in 1993 and 2001.

Who Is The Most Famous Referee In Boxing History?

The most famous boxing referee, Joe Cortez, died in 2018. He was inducted into the International Boxing Hall Of Fame in 2009 after officiating at more world title fights than any other referee in history.

Who Is The Most Famous Referee In present Boxing?

The most famous boxing referee in present boxing is Robert Byrd who already was mentioned in this article.