Advertisement
Advertisement
Boxingscene.com

Respected Referee Wayne Kelly Passes Away At Age 63

By Jake Donovan

As has been evidenced in recent years, death within the boxing scene seems to come in bunches.

In a recent wave that saw the sport lose renowned trainers Angelo Dundee and Goody Petronelli in the same week, so too came another passing that managed to get lost in the shuffle.

Highly regarded referee Wayne Kelly (11/19/1948-02/01/2012) was found dead Wednesday morning, suffering a heart attack at age 63.

An Army veteran who proudly served his country in the Vietnam War, Kelly was involved in every aspect of the sport. The Long Island native enjoyed a brief stint as a pro fighter in the light heavyweight division during the mid-1970’s before turning his attention to officiating.

Randy Gordon – who has formerly served as NYSAC commissioner and the youngest ever Editor-In-Chief for The Ring magazine during the 1980’s – is described by many as Kelly’s closest friend. It was Gordon who gave Kelly – previously held back by unnecessary politics once surrounding the easily-influenced NYSAC - his first big break as an official in 1988.

Kelly was a part of some of boxing’s best and lowest moments over the course of an officiating career that touched four decades. Several of those occasions took place at Madison Square Garden, which involved heavyweight championships, titles changing hands, knockdowns, bribe offerings and a riot.

Most noted among the bunch - for all the wrong reasons – was the July ’96 riot that erupted following Andrew Golota being disqualified for excessive low blows against then-top heavyweight Riddick Bowe.

Kelly was also on hand for Arturo Gatti’s first title win (versus Tracy Harris Patterson) and his roller coaster ride of a first title defense in an instant classic against Wilson Rodriguez, as well as the infamous bribe attempt offered by Ray Mercer to Jesse Ferguson in their Feb. ’93 heavyweight clash. In more recent times, Kelly was third man for Wladimir Klitschko’s 6th round knockout of Calvin Brock.

More fitting eulogies from closer friends are forthcoming. Having never personally met Kelly and only viewing his work from ringside or on-screen, it would be a disservice to comment further on a life well-spent though cut short way too soon, especially given the high regard in which he was held by his boxing peers.

The following is an offering from Bob Duffy, chairman of the New York-based Ring 8 organization and former NYSAC commissioner. The message was posted verbatim on the Ring8NY.com website in honor of the dearly departed.

On behalf of the board and members I wish to extend our condolences to the family of Wayne Kelly, a member and a personal friend for over 25 years. In his passing I can only remember the many good times I had with Wayne, my wife and daughters also feel the grief that Wayne has left us . There was never a sad day when Wayne was around, he had that Irish gift of always bringing a smile and a good feeling that you were among a good friend. The one great attribute that Wayne showed he lived in a world of no fear, serving a year in Vietnam, boxing Pro for 4 years and working as a referee for over 20 years, always in the spotlight but always in control and you knew that …..I can truthfully say with Pride …I never worried about Wayne in the Ring, in fact, I feel it was where he was most secure …..I truly Love Wayne and I am dearly going to miss not just a wonderful man but a great friend to me, my family and the boxing world.

Bob Duffy, President of Ring 8

Services for Mr. Kelly will be at the New Hyde Park Funeral Home located at 506 Lakeville Road in New Hyde Park, NY. Viewing is Friday, February 3 and Saturday, February 4, from 2:00-4:30PM and 7:00-9:30PM on both days.

The service will be February 4 at 8PM At New Hyde Park Funeral Home with interment at Calverton National Cemetery.

Jake Donovan is the Managing Editor of Boxingscene.com. Follow Jake on Twitter at twitter.com/JakeNDaBox or submit questions/comments to [email protected]

Tags:
User Comments and Feedback (Register For Free To Comment) Comment by BostonGuy on 02-03-2012

Rest in Peace - Wayne.... [IMG]http://imageshack.us/photo/my-images/84/waynekelly1.jpg/[/IMG] [IMG]http://cdn.newsday.com/polopoly_fs/1.3500718.1328237985!/httpImage/image.JPG_gen/derivatives/display_600/image.JPG[/IMG] [IMG]http://cdn2-b.examiner.com/sites/default/files/styles/image_full_width_scaled/hash/00/53/0053c48d14f5d5dc986070a34a6c34b6.jpg[/IMG] [IMG]http://www.ringsidebooks.com/images/waynek.jpg[/IMG]

Comment by nycsmooth on 02-03-2012

Leaving too sudden, I hope Wayne is at peace. A very under=rated NY ref, but pretty much always in control in the ring...Vegas refs can learn a lot from hi...RIP...

Comment by MaZ X on 02-03-2012

Rest peacefully, you were a good ref

Comment by Superflo777 on 02-03-2012

Rest in Peace.

Comment by Slick561 on 02-03-2012

R.I.P to one of the best referees ever.Thoughts and prayers to his family

Post a Comment - View More User Comments (5)
Top Headlines Lomachenko Manager: No Surprise Rigondeaux Quit, It's a Shame Canelo vs. Golovkin Rematch Deal is "Getting Very Close" Photos: Francesco Patera, Edis Tatli Ready For Rematch Battle Former Manager: Rigondeaux Will Be Remembered For Quit Job Cletus Seldin Vows To Put Real Hurt on Ulysse in HBO Clash Lomachenko vs. Linares a Possibility, Says Golden Boy President Saunders: When I Beat Lemieux, Would Love to Fight Canelo Next Photos: Katie Taylor, Jessica McCaskill - Face To Face at Presser Hearn: Joshua vs. Parker Deal is Close, We're Ready To Overpay BJ Flores Expects Boost, Big Fights From Salita Promotions Deal Tyson Fury No-Shows UKAD Hearing, Creating Further Delay Kell Brook vs. Sergey Rabchenko on March 3 in Sheffield Weekend Review: Lomachenko Rises, Rigondeaux Sinks Frank Warren: DeGale Used Wrong Tactics, He is Not Washed Up Arum Not Least Bit Surprised Lomachenko Made Rigondeaux Quit Andre Ward: Lomachenko vs. Mikey Garcia is 50-50 Super Fight! Vasyl Lomachenko-Guillermo Rigondeaux: Post-Fight Report Card Corcoran: I'll Bring Horn Right Back To 9th of Pacquiao Fight Coldwell on a "Crazy" 2017: Bellew vs. Haye, McDonnell, More Darren Till, UFC Fighter, Inks Pact With MTK Global Parker: I Think We're Close To Locking in Anthony Joshua Fight Jeff Horn Angry: Online Keyboard Warriors Say I Fight Dirty! Wilder: I'll Make Cuban Sandwich Out of 'Bubbles The Chimp' Ortiz! When is a Loss Not a Loss? Photos: Jeff Horn, Gary Corcoran - Face To Face at Final Presser Luis Ortiz: Deontay Wilder is a Coward, I Saw Fear in His Eyes! Arum Denies Pacquiao-McGregor Talk: It's Total Nonsense Salido: All of The Wars Caught Up With Me, I'm an Old Fighter Now Andre Ward: Farmer Robbed, But He Can Bounce Back From This Arum: Lomachenko is Superhuman, Rigo Was Totally Bewildered! Video: Francisco Vargas Talks Comeback Win, Future Plans Lomachenko: Gary Russell Really Doesn't Want a Rematch With Me DeGale Unsure of Career Future, To Decide After New Year White Warns Arum: We'll See Where You Stand When Smoke Clears! Video: Miguel Roman Reflects on KO of Salido, Future Opponents Tevin Farmer: I Worked Too Hard To Get Robbed, I Deserved Win Video: Andre Ward on Loma-Rigo, Salido, Kovalev Return, More Lomachenko On Rigondeaux Injury: I've Fought With One Hand Macklin Expects Michael Conlan To Step Things Up in 2018 Lomachenko vs. Rigondeaux Generates Big Rating For ESPN
Advertisement

Latest Active Forum Threads
Advertisement
Advertisement