Referee Steve “Double SS” Smoger Gets 2015 Induction into IBHOF!
By Ken Hissner, Dog House Boxing (Dec 26, 2014)
Smoger inducted for 2015
I can still remember standing with manager Cameron Dunkin watching Steve “Double SS” Smoger in the ring as the third man in Atlantic City telling me “Smoger is every manager’s favorite referee. He’s never too quick to stop a fight yet doesn’t get anyone hurt.”
Smoger finally got the overdue induction for 2015 to the IBHOF. He is the most world traveled referee who happens to be one of the most well liked officials in the game by many. He’s known to go out of his way to greet not only boxing people but how many times have I seen fans come up to him asking to have their picture taken with him is countless! He is always obliging!
Here are a few of the people wishing Smoger well with his induction:
JULIE LEDERMAN: One of the top judges in the business had this to say: Steve Smoger is one of the finest referees to ever step inside the ring. He has been a great role model, mentor and friend, and I am fortunate to have worked with him for over twenty years. He has a true passion for the sport, the fighters and the fans. He is truly the people’s ref, and now a Hall of Famer!
HAROLD LEDERMAN: HBO Boxing judge: Steve (Double S) Smoger has been one of the top referees in the world for over a decade. He is certainly worthy of his upcoming induction into the International Boxing Hall of Fame. Steve accepts assignments all over the world, and is known for his very fair handling of all bouts. He is always looking out for the safety of the fighter, and has always been known as a referee who knows exactly when to stop a fight. It has been a great honor for me to work with my friend Steve, and I am overjoyed that he is finally being recognized by the Hall of Fame.
J RUSSELL PELTZ: IBHOF Promoter & Matchmaker: The best of his generation!
JOEY EYE: Cutman and Promoter: My man double S! To me he is bar none, the best referee in the biz! Today! He’s my kind of referee. He lets guys fight! Even when a fighter is in trouble, Steve lets him try and fight his way out. And in my experiences he has let me as a cut man do my job, and give me a chance to work and stop the cut on the guy, no matter how bad the cut. I know he likes to see a fighter end on his feet, not on his stool. I know that also when I am promoting a show that Steve is assigned to it, that it will be a good night. Steve is not just a good referee but a great guy as well! I am proud to be able to call him my friend as well as proud to as worked in the same ring as double S!
STEVE WEISFELD: Boxing judge: It’s a great honor for a great referee. To say that Steve Smoger has done a lot of big fights is an understatement. It’s always a pleasure to work with him. One of my personal favorites - is Toney-Jirov. I look forward to being at his induction in Canastota next year.
JOHN DI SANTO: Writer for Philly Boxing History and Fight News: Steve is one of the best referees of this era. He has a reputation for letting the fighters settle things and not jumping the gun. This is a rarity these days. Some have criticized his style, but not me. He is always in control. If more referees were like Smoger, fights would be better and there would be less controversy. I think his inclusion in the 2015 IBHOF class is well deserved. In addition to all of this, Steve is one of the nicest guys in the sport. So I’m happy to see him honored.
CHEE: Webmaster for Doghouse Boxing / MaxBoxing: Smoger truly stands for everything that is right with Boxing. When he is the 3rd man in the ring, the boxers and the fans know they are getting the best of the best with Smoger. He is always and first most a class-act. We consider him a great friend of Dog House.. and any time our writers have wanted to speak with him... he has always accommodated us and has never ignored the readers at Dog House (That's love!). A better Ref with more integrity would be impossible to find. There are plenty of great Refs, but Smoger stands alone at the top.
JEFF JOWETT: Writer for Seconds Out: First of all, he’s “Sextuple S”. “Sweet, Super-Smooth, Strawberry Steve” Smoger. Two Ss aren’t enough. He’s a good referee for the fans. He doesn’t have a hair trigger. He protects the fighters not himself.
GEORGE HANSON: Writer for “the Mouthpiece”: When the “Mount Rushmore for Referees” is created there will be a sculpture of Steve Smoger carved into the granite face of the mountain smiling at us. He is simply one of the greatest referees!
TOMMY KACZMAREK: Boxing Judge: Congratulations and best wishes upon your election into the International Boxing Hall of Fame. It’s a recognition by your peers of your career as a top referee and your many contributions to the sport of professional boxing.
HENRY HASCUP: President of the NJ HOF and Ring Announcer: He is not only a Hall of Famer inside the ring as a referee but he also one outside the ring as well. He is a very busy man. But if he is around the area, he will attend boxing functions including several Eulogies I have given. This really means a lot to the families. He is a really Class Act!
ROY FOREMAN: Manager, Promoter and Radio Show Host: Steve is one of the most knowledgeable and in my option more caring referees in boxing. He lets the boxer push his limit.
BENJY ESTEVES, JR.: Boxing Referee: I’m very proud of him. It’s a well- deserved honor. He has helped so many others. Double S is one of my fellow brothers. We have a mutual respect whether he has the main event or I do. He is a wonderful family man. I am always there for him.
BRUCE TRAMPLER: IBHOF Matchmaker with Top Rank: Smoger is a Hall of Fame referee. He is one of those guys who can referee for us anytime. If a sanctioning body proposes SS, its fine with us.
ED LEVINE: IBO President: Steve Smoger has always been one of the referees I can rely on when I needed one of the very best.
DWIGHT QAWI: Former WBC light heavyweight and WBA cruiserweight champion inducted into IBHOF 2004: He’s the greatest referee of all time. He moves and is always attentive. He made me feel safe in the ring when I was fighting and he was working.
STEVE MITTMAN: Ring Announcer with Mittman Entertainment, LLC: I love working with Steve Smoger. He is the ultimate professional. He always takes control of a fight, yet allows the fighters to do their thing. Standing in the ring with him and the fighters, you can feel his take charge presence. Not to mention, he’s a really nice guy and has a good sense of humor. His inclusion in the IBHOF is well deserved.
RYAN BIVINS: Boxing Writer for BadCulture.net and also a Fighter: Aside from letting fans see the most exciting fights possible, Smoger is just as excellent at making himself available for questions post-fight. If you’re ever curious about what led him to make certain decisions, he’ll gladly let you know. I’ve always enjoyed interviewing him.
BOZY ENNIS: Trainer and Run’s Bozy’s Dungeon Gym: He’s one of the best referees ever. He’s fair and when it’s time to fight he lets you fight inside unlike most referees who break you too fast.
SHAUN LEWIS: Trainer at Bozy’s Gym: He’s very approachable and a very easy going gentleman. He’s one of the best in the business and very knowledgeable. I’ve never heard anyone say anything negative about him. He is very fair and if he meets you on the street or simply outside the arena he acknowledges you. I never saw a bad stoppage by him.
MOZ GONZALES: Manager and partner with Eddie Woods (E&M Management) who now have unbeaten 18 year-old Milton Santiago under contract: Smoger is the best!
IBF: The IBF congratulates IBHOF class of 2015 especially our long time member Steve Smoger, and former IBF champions Riddick Bowe and Naseem Hamed.
BOBBY GOODMAN: PR and MM for MSG and Don King Promotions: Steve Smoger is not only one of the world’s top referee’s, but he’s also one of the sports nicest people as well. He’s earned his place in the Hall of Fame and I’m proud to call him a friend.
RICHARD QUINONES: Member BWAA & Blow-by-blow boxing voice: Steve Smoger is a consummate pro and well respected referee in boxing, but he is also very generous with his time outside the ring and very involved in the boxing community. Having known Steve for years, I can honestly say he has always been a gentleman outside of boxing and gracious with his time. Anytime I was doing a broadcast and Steve was referring the fights he would always come over to talk to me, and ask me how my career was going and if he could help me in anyway. That is the type of man he is. This is a well- deserved honor for him.
STEVE LOTT: President & COO Boxing Hall of Fame Las Vegas & co-manager of 10 world champions: I do know that there is no more competent or respected referee in boxing.
ROBERT BRIZEL: Boxing Writer Real Combat Media, Photographer & Corner man: Steve Smoger is a spectacular gentleman, a conspicuous ‘man in the middle’ not afraid to get involved and make his presence felt in the most difficult of boxing contests. The true mark of a great professional boxing referee is to do their thing while maintaining control of the ring. Steve has made his indelible mark by remaining prominent as the ref in important bouts and will continue to do so. Not just a referee, Steve truly is a goodwill ambassador of boxing, traveling all over the world whenever a call to referee world title bouts and giving the American referee a face of respectability wherever he goes. Congratulations, Steve, on the occasion of your induction into the Hall of Fame. Many, many world title bouts, and ordinary bouts, bear the mark of your ring generalship in the future, so you can influence a whole new generation of boxing fans.
Comments from Steve Smoger: In 1997 I was elected my first year of eligibility to the NJ HOF. I sat next to Dwight Qawi at this induction. Before there was a CT HOF there was a Guild and I was their official of the year being my third year in CT.
In 2010 I was WBA Referee of the Year at a magnificent affair in Managua, Nicaragua, at a table next to Alexis Arguello and his family.
In 2012 at the Atlantic City Boxing Legends I received an award for playing a key role in Atlantic City for during their hay days along with boxing judge Joe Pasquale. I sat with former IBF light middleweight champion Charles “Hatchet” Brewer.
A much appreciated 2013 induction into the PA HOF was a big thrill with President Charley Sgrillo and Secretary John Gallagher honoring me. To be recognized in a sister state was well appreciated. I love working in PA especially with the writers and Boxing Director Greg Sirb making it my home base.
In 2014 in NY I received the Arthur Mercante Referee of the Year award in September. The Mercante family must approve the honoree which is an honor in itself. In a NJ boxing event at the AAIB luncheon in Galloway, NJ, voting member Henry Hascup (President of NJ HOF) called me aside and goes into his vest pocket and told me I was on the IBHOF ballot as the only referee. I couldn’t believe it.
At the Briscoe Awards run by John DiSanto in South Philadelphia in October at Tony Luke’s Restaurant I bump into J Russell Peltz and he tells me once you are nominated you stay in the pool if you are not voted in.
At one of the shows they showed referee’s Joe Cortez, Mills Lane and Richard Steele in the previous three years one after another being inducted into the IBHOF but all were retired and I didn’t know if that was a priority.
I was sent to Bermuda by Dean Chance to referee the women’s heavyweight IBA title fight. The phone rings and its Ed Brophy saying “congratulations” and I almost fell onto the luggage belt in surprise. I was overwhelmed! Felt like I won an Oscar, Grammy and Noble Prize in one instance. In June 14th in Canastota, NY, I look forward to being inducted.
I have requests from around the world to see this write-up. By the grace of God I’m talking to my friend Joe P of the Boxing Writers group informing me I have been an official in more states and countries since records have been kept than any other referee. I have a Euro Sport three year contract to work in Europe.
Giving you an idea how Smoger’s schedule was he opened November 8th in Bethlehem, PA, on NBC Sports Network, then to Philly International airport for Frankfurt, Germany and a connecting flight to Latvia and did the IBA Cruiserweight championship on November 14th. He returned home and then to Bermuda for the vacant IBA Women’s Female middleweight title on November 21st and returned home for Thanksgiving. He left December 1st for Sint Maarten doing the vacant IBO women’s heavyweight title fight on December 8th and December 12th for San Antonio, TX, for Lara-Smith and then Philly December 13th.
This will give you an idea how Smoger is the world traveling referee. Since his home state of NJ only had 17 shows this year he cannot depend on that for steady work. He worked 28 shows but only 1, in Atlantic City, NJ. Once he is booked and gets a call say from NJ it cannot take it due to a previous commitment.
How’s this for his 2014 schedule: Chester, PA, NGA Philly, Dover Downs, DE, Bethlehem, PA, South Africa, Sint Maarten, Panama, Atlantic City, Temple U Philly, Dover Downs, DE, 2300 Arena Philly, VA, TX, MN, Belgium, MO, CT, NY, Bethlehem, PA, Finland, Germany, CT, Bethlehem, PA, Latvia, Bermuda, Sint Maarten, TX and 2300 Philly! Now you know why Steve “Double S” Smoger is the 2015 Referee Inductee to the IBHOF!
Please send all questions and comments to Ken Hissner at: Kenhissner@gmail.com
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