Gary Shaw, a gregarious fight promoter who produced some of the best cross-promoted bouts of the early 2000s, died following a heart attack at age 79, several boxing officials confirmed Thursday.

Shaw, a colorful former New Jersey boxing commission inspector, led his fighter Diego Corrales to an unforgettable 2005 comeback stoppage over Jose Luis Castillo in what may still rank as the most entertaining fight of this century, and he took on a minimum fee to co-promote Shane Mosley’s repeat 2003 triumph over Oscar De La Hoya.

The master class in promotion that deeply rankled both De La Hoya and his veteran promoter, Bob Arum, goes down as the most cherished fight memory of Shaw’s longtime publicist, Fred Sternburg, who awaits induction into the International Boxing Hall of Fame in June.

“That was all Gary: He loved that stuff and was always open to new ideas,” Sternburg said of the Mosley-De La Hoya II antics. “Frankly, if he hadn’t hired me, I don’t know where I’d have been, because he got me started.”

Upon a nearly three-decade stint at the New Jersey State Athletic Control Commission, which followed an appointment by former heavyweight champion Jersey Joe Walcott, Shaw made the leap to promotion, working first as chief operating officer for the Duva family’s promotional company, Main Events.

He lost a power play for control of Main Events to Kathy Duva, the now-Hall of Fame wife of company founder Dan Duva, and oversaw ticket distribution for the 2002 bout in Memphis that became what was then the best-selling pay-per-view bout of all time: Mike Tyson versus Lennox Lewis.

In forming Gary Shaw Productions, Shaw represented a refreshing departure from business as usual, where promoters were tied to networks and there was little cross-promotion.

“He could work with other promoters and he could work with Showtime and HBO with no issues at all, which he did,” Sternburg said.

Shaw promoted bouts featuring Manny Pacquiao and Arturo Gatti, and he helped script the careers of men who would become Hall of Famers: Ronald “Winky” Wright and Timothy Bradley Jr.

His devotion to his fighters was special, and his patented symbol of that connection was to dress his fighters and their teams in specially designed matching sweatsuits.

“Everyone laughed at the sweatsuits, but the concept was great: to create a team mentality,” Sternburg said. “Everyone was treated special. All the fighters loved them.

“I’ll never forget, he made me wear a sweatsuit once during a fight week and the pants were so long, I was tripping all over myself. I just couldn’t do it anymore. I looked so bad in the light blue. So I just wore the jacket …”

Shaw was all-in, wearing the entire get-up constantly and rolling with the punches of the business by regaling in storytelling with fight people at hotel lobbies, media rooms and fight-week dinners.

It wasn’t all barrel laughs, though.

Inside the Pontiac Silverdome in 2011, Bradley’s manager, the late Cameron Dunkin, shredded Shaw for withholding $600,000 when Bradley’s total purse money for fighting fellow 140-pound champion Devon Alexander was $1.1 million.

“If you’re in boxing and a few people aren’t talking bad about you, you’re not doing your job,” veteran fight manager Sean Gibbons said. “Being a promoter in this business, you’re not going to be friends with everybody. But Gary had more friends in the business than non-friends.

“Of course, he did the best for Gary, but he did the best for a lot of fighters, too. That’s the nature of the business.”

Indeed, Shaw’s attention and care for his fighters was rooted in that 2003 Mosley bout against De La Hoya. Shaw was so hands-on for Mosley, he moved into the fighter’s Big Bear Lake, California, mountain house and secured sparring partners, tended to the fighter’s training and promotional needs and spent nights sleeping on Mosley’s sofa.

Mosley, reeling from a second consecutive loss to his Olympic Trials rival Vernon Forrest, was viewed as damaged goods by De La Hoya and Arum after Mosley’s surprise 2000 triumph over De La Hoya to open boxing at Staples Center in a bout attended by Muhammad Ali.

Mosley didn’t want Arum alone to promote the bout, so he summoned Shaw.

“We did it at cost to get our foot in the door of a big promotion. It was as grassroots as it gets,” Sternburg recalled. “We were on Oscar’s ass from day one. It was literally just Gary and I. It was the only time I stood in the corner at introductions, just because Shane wanted some bodies in there. It was a blast. Every interview Oscar turned down, we took – and we really hammered them.”

Convinced Mosley would deliver a repeat victory, Shaw let Sternburg run amok and they responded brilliantly to De La Hoya saying that if he lost, he would retire and give Mosley $50,000.

At the news conference, they produced some huge props: a deposit slip made out to Shane for $50,000 from De La Hoya’s bank account and an enormous AARP card with De La Hoya’s name on it.

“The photos ran everywhere with us holding these above Oscar and Arum’s head,” Sternburg said. “Arum went ballistic because no one had ever taken over an Oscar press conference, and Oscar wouldn’t touch it because he felt it was radioactive bad luck.”

When Mosley emerged with a narrow victory on the scorecards, Arum called for an investigation.

The highly emotional Shaw, meanwhile, was seen sobbing in joy.

“He could be the sweetest guy in the world,” Sternburg said.

Shaw relished the two 2004 showdowns between his fighters Mosley and Wright – both won by Wright.

In 2005, Shaw’s prior backing of Corrales as he was released from a prison stay paid off in the fighter’s legendary rally to stop Castillo in their high-drama thriller.

“The best times were when he’d hold court,” Gibbons said. “He loved to eat and loved to tell stories and be with his fighters. He was very hands-on. His fighters were like family to him. He spent a lot of time with them. Good Jersey guy – a guy with one of those personalities who just took over a room.”

Shaw’s compassion for all was evident in his pre-news-conference alerts calling for adult men to undergo prostate exams to help avoid the health scare he had experienced.

As his boxing success began to wane, Shaw turned to MMA promotion and formed Elite XC, landing a Showtime broadcast deal and aligning with fighters including Gina Carano and the late Kimbo Slice.

Retreating to Florida in retirement, Shaw would occasionally text or call friends from the boxing business and give his two cents on the various news events.

Before Dunkin passed away, he said he was wrong to so heatedly criticize Shaw over the way he ran his business. Dunkin said he apologized to Shaw, and was forgiven. 

“He’ll be missed by a lot of people,” Gibbons said of Shaw. “Fun guy.”