The dean of boxing referees worldwide, Mercante began his career while serving in the U.S. Navy under Gene Tunney in 1942. Among his responsibilities was refereeing service bouts. He continued officiating amateur bouts upon his discharge from the Navy and was a fixture at the prestigious New York Golden Gloves tournament for 10 years before embarking on a career in professional boxing.
Mercante may be best remembered for being the third man in the ring for some of the sport's classic heavyweight title fights.Mercante counted out Ingemar Johansson when Floyd Patterson became the first man to regain the heavyweight title, he officiated the "Fight of the Century" when Muhammad Ali met Joe Frazier the first time and presided over George Foreman's first heavyweight title fight when Foreman stopped Frazier in Kingston, Jamaica.
Mercante, who has worked on five continents, refereed 145 world title fights. That statistic takes on a new dimension considering there was just eight weight classes and one champion per division for much of Mercante's career.
Arthur boxed in the 1938 New York Golden Gloves and also attended New York University, where he was a member of the varsity football and swimming teams.
Mercante has been a resident of New York for over 60 years.