By: Sean Cross
One of the most popular longtime judges in all of boxing has died. Steven Smoger, a friendly, fair-minded man who lived in the boxing ring for decades, has died at the age of 72 from an undisclosed illness. Celebrities in the boxing world have taken to social media to post their respects and condolences.
“Steve was a true ‘fighting judge’.” former junior middleweight wrestler and broadcaster Sergio Maura tweeted. “He gave boxers everything they could to fight back. Smart. Strong. Respected.
“Rest, Steve Smoger,” said announcer Lou DiBella #Box A judge and a very nice person. He loved our sport and the people in it and it was reflected in the way he lived and acted. Live every day, friends; It’s a short trip. Our deepest condolences to the Smoger family.
“So sad to hear of Steve Smoger’s passing,” said legendary broadcaster Al Bernstein. “Awesome guy and IMO the best ref in boxing of all time.”
“He was devastated by the loss of Steve Smoger,” said writer and broadcaster Chris Mannix. “One of the nicest guys in boxing, besides being one of the best judges. He transitioned – successfully – to referee/judge analyst in recent years and was quite impressive. Rip, Steve.
“The boxing community around the world is saddened by the passing of legendary referee Steve Smoger,” the World Boxing Organization wrote. “The WBO family sends its condolences to his friends and family. May he rest in peace.”
In a business where being cute is unfortunately more of a detriment than an asset, Smoger manages to be both cute and successful at the same time – no easy feat. In the year Starting in 1984, Smoger went on to referee over a thousand professional fights in a career that spanned 2018. In the year In 2015, the Atlantic City native was inducted into the International Boxing Hall of Fame.
In an interview with a friend, I told him, “It’s like winning an Oscar, an Emmy, and a Nobel Peace Prize.” Boxwelt. “My friend said, “Peace Prize?” And I said, ‘Yes,’ it’s my job to keep the peace in the ring… I’m honored and humbled.
When asked about his reputation for allowing fights to continue when others in his position could have stopped them, Smoger expressed confidence that he would improve.
“I want the fighters to decide their fight,” he replied. Give them every chance to decide the outcome. And that’s been my philosophy and it’s obviously held me in good stead.