Tuesday, January 31, 2023  |


Hall of Fame referee Steve Smoger dies at age 72

Steve Smoger at the International Boxing Hall of Fame.

Steve Smoger, the International Boxing Hall of Fame inducted referee, has died Monday at the age of 72.

Pennsylvania based promoter Russell Peltz made the announcement on Twitter, stating that Smoger had passed after a long illness.

The Norfolk, Virginia born, Atlantic City raised Smoger graduated from Penn State University and earned his Juris Doctor from George Washington University. He became Atlantic City’s first full time city prosecutor in 1980, and also served in the U.S. Air Force Reserve for three decades.

He began making his name in the sport in 1978 as an inspector for the New Jersey Boxing Commission, and began working as a referee in 1984. He kept busy working the fights during the heyday of Atlantic City boxing in the 1980s, and refereed his first world title fight in 1986, when Jong Kwan Chung defended the IBF flyweight title with a majority decision over Bi Won Jung.

Over the years he has worked a number of notable fights, including Bernard Hopkins vs. Felix Trinidad, Kelly Pavlik vs. Jermain Taylor, James Toney vs. Mike McCallum I, Andre Ward vs. Carl Froch and many more in his over 200-world title fights.

He last worked as a boxing referee in 2018, when he refereed a four-round majority draw between Rome Cruz and Jose Lopez in Philadelphia. His last fight judged was a year ago, when he worked a card in New Hampshire in November of 2021.

Smoger was inducted into the International Boxing Hall of Fame in 2015. He was also a member of the Atlantic City, New Jersey and Pennsylvania Boxing Halls, as well as the Philadelphia Sports Hall of Fame.

Peltz says sympathy cards can be sent to the Smoger family at 8 South Cambridge Avenue, Ventnor, N.J. 08406. No funeral arrangements have yet been announced.

Ryan Songalia has written for ESPN, the New York Daily News, Rappler and The Guardian, and is part of the Craig Newmark Graduate School of Journalism Class of 2020. He can be reached at [email protected].