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    CANASTOTA, NY - APRIL 10, 2010 - The International Boxing Hall of Fame announced its flags will fly at half-staff in memory of legendary referee Arthur Mercante. He passed away at his home this morning. He was 90.

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 and he continued officiating amateur bouts upon his discharge from the Navy. In 1954 he became licensed as a professional referee. His first world title bout was the rematch between Ingemar Johansson vs. Floyd Patterson on June 20, 1960. Mercante may be best remembered for being the third man in the ring for the “Fight of the Century” between Muhammad Ali and Joe Frazier at Madison Square Garden on March 8, 1971. Other notable matches he handled include Frazier vs. Foreman I and Ali vs. Norton III. Mercante, who retired in 2001, refereed 145 world title fights. He also boxed in the 1938 New York Golden Gloves and attended New York University, where he was a member of the varsity football and swimming teams. 

“Without a doubt, Arthur Mercante was one of boxing’s best referees,” said Hall of Fame Executive Director Edward Brophy.  “He was a complete professional inside the ring and true class act outside of the ring. We will miss our friend and mourn his passing.”

In 1995, Mercante was elected into the International Boxing Hall of Fame.

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Accepting Hall of Fame honors, June 1995Autographing copies of his book for fans during HOF WeekendCasting fist impression during Induction Weekend 1995Arthur MercanteWith middleweight champion Vito AntuofermoAcknowledging family and friends at Induction Ceremony, June 1995