“Double SS” Steve Smoger Interview – From Judge to Boxing Referee!

“Double SS” Steve Smoger Interview – From Judge to Boxing Referee! by Ken Hissner

“Double SS” Steve Smoger has Seven C’s for a professional boxing referee that are conditioning, communication, composure, confidence, consistency, concentration and courage. You don’t have to have seen him more than once in the ring to see that he doesn’t just preach but lives by them!

Smoger earned his position into the professional end of boxing by spending from 1974 to 1982 as an official for the United States Amateur Boxing Federation and the Atlantic City Police Athletic League. He has been licensed by no fewer than 15 commissions in the United States. As a member of the WBA and IBF he has been the referee in some 154 World Title Bouts. An amazing record that includes not only the US but Argentina, Panama, Venezuela, UK, France, Italy, Denmark, Germany, Kosova, Switzerland, Spain, South Africa, Thailand, Korea, Japan, Russia, Ukraine, Kazakhstan, China, Poland (First ever licensed pro ref) and Israel! That last country, Israel, was the first title bout in Tel Aviv, in April of 2010 in a WIBF title bout. That is some 22 countries and still going!

Smoger was inducted into the New Jersey State Boxing Hall of Fame, Lodi, New Jersey, in 1997. He has also been nominated for induction to the Pennsylvania Hall of Fame which should happen in the near future! He has served as Legal Counsel and Board Member of the Atlantic City Police Athletic League since 1978. Smoger is one that doesn’t forget his roots! His credentials of serving as a Seminar Presenter since 1991 are numerous. He has performed in this role in such countries as the UK, Bahamas, Ukraine, South Korea, Columbia and Israel.

Smoger’s awards are almost too many to mention. Let’s just say he must have a room that will never need painting or wall papering! In 2002 Ring Magazine awarded him Number One Referee in the World! He has received the same award by such publications as Ring Sports Magazine, Boxing Scene Magazine, Flash Magazine, Boxing Central.com (Internet), the Ohio Press Club and the CT Boxing Guild and the IBA.

Smoger is a retired Atlantic County (NJ) Municipal Court Judge. His military background is as a Lieutenant Colonel in the US Air Force Office of Special Investigations, Senior Reserve Office, United States Air Force Reserve and Judge Advocate General (Retired).

This writer remembers one of the top managers in the business during an Atlantic City show pointing to Smoger in the ring during a bout and saying “every corner likes him. He is fair and respectful.” Smoger is known to be there for the fighter’s well being. He is not afraid to step in between the biggest of boxers or call a halt to a fight no matter the importance if he feels the fighter can no longer defend him or her self. He also has that “trademark” after giving instructions to the fighters prior to the start of “God Bless”!

Writing primarily for a three state area in Pennsylvania, New Jersey and Delaware this writer gets to see Smoger at all three each year. Delaware has had only one event so far and Smoger was the man in charge. It is not uncommon to see him on national television, HBO, Showtime, ESPN2 or a PPV broadcast. Unlike some officials who are on top of the fighters, Smoger has the quickness to jump in when needed. He always has a smile and a wave for the writers at no matter what event.

I had the chance to ask some questions of “Double SS” recently and here are a few:

KEN HISSNER: I’ve seen you at many a major boxing event. How much notice do you usually get upon receiving your assignments especially when they are out of the country?

DOUBLE SS: It varies so I try to always stay ready. I always have my gear set. On a big fight it might be a 2-3 week notice. In the Atlantic City hay days it may be the day of the fight.

KEN HISSNER: Do you ever second guess yourself stopping a fight of great importance?

DOUBLE SS: Though I try to review the fight I worked I have never second guessed a decision.

KEN HISSNER: Have you had a favorite location that you were sent to officiate?

DOUBLE SS: Thailand. I was there in 1997 outdoors with some of the fighters coming in on elephants.

KEN HISSNER: Since starting back in 1974, were there some referee’s you admired and used as a measuring stick as the years went by?

DOUBLE SS: Several, I like Zach Clayton being he taught me motion by music. Another would be Arthur Mercante and finally Frank Cappaccino.

KEN HISSNER: How difficult is it to finally come to the point when you have to disqualify someone?

DOUBLE SS: Unless it is an aggressive foul like throwing someone out of the ring I have hard and soft warnings that may lead up to that point.

KEN HISSNER: What events would you say were some of your most prestigious that you worked?

DOUBLE SS: April of 1988 at Palais des Sports, Berck-sur-Mer, Pas-de-Calair, in France for the first Simon Brown and Tyrone Trice fight for the vacant IBF welterweight title. They must have liked my work because when they had their rematch in April of 1990 in Washington, DC, I got the call. Another was working the James Toney IBF Cruiserweight title bout against Vassiliy Jirov at Foxwoods Resort in April of 2003. (One of the best fights this writer has seen). I couldn’t ever forget working the Hopkins and Trinidad fight that was postponed right after 911 until September 29th at Madison Square Garden. It was the most emotional night I have ever worked. In the front row were families of the fire and police departments along with one of the Irish Tenor’s who sang the national anthem.

KEN HISSNER: In a sport that can be brutal at times and being an obvious compassionate person, have you found yourself reacting any differently when you officiate a women’s event?

DOUBLE SS: When you mention women’s boxing right away Lucia Rijker comes to mind. In May of 2005 I worked a bout with Mia St. John in Beijing, China. She is beautiful outside the ring but when she gets in the ring she is all business. I recently did a WIBF bantam title bout featuring Hagar Shmoulefeld Finer in Tel Aviv, Israel. I have to say with total respect there is a difference. When I would break them I would tap them on the shoulder. If they didn’t break I would separate them by the waists. Never across their chests as I would in a men’s bout.

KEN HISSNER: Is there that one assignment that you haven’t received yet that you are waiting for that phone call?

DOUBLE SS: I would love to get an assignment in Australia. I know people there and would jump at the chance.

KEN HISSNER: How do you keep yourself so fit for a position that some people may not realize takes a lot physically and mentally to be at the top of your game?

DOUBLE SS: I have a gym at home or go to the Ocean Club in Atlantic City. Sometimes I may go to the Atlantic City PAL, or just go on the beach or boardwalk. You have to be careful especially at fight time because you do not want to step on something that could cause an injury preventing you from working.

KEN HISSNER: How difficult do you find handling a bout when neither boxer speaks English?

DOUBLE SS: There are three words all boxers are taught. Stop, box and break. Besides I speak Spanish and have gone for a refresher at Atlantic Community College recently.

KEN HISSNER: How did you ever get started in this business over some 35 years ago?

DOUBLE SS: I boxed some as an amateur at the YMCA and at Penn State. I approached Pat Duffy one of the legends especially in amateur boxing. He told me if I wanted to learn to be a referee I should come to a fight early and see how the entire event is prepared. When I got there Pat hand’s me a broom. He tells me the spot the ring will be set up on should be dirt free so get started. I started judging and being a referee in the amateurs. I was also a State Inspector from 1978 to 1982 in New Jersey. I got my first license handed to me by the former world heavyweight champion and then New Jersey Boxing Commissioner “Jersey” Joe Walcott.

KEN HISSNER: Being a man of faith myself, do you ever get any flack saying “God Bless” after giving the boxers instructions? Especially since I know you have worked Communist China.

DOUBLE SS: No, I never have.

KEN HISSNER: In all the fights you have officiated have you ever taken an “accidental” punch?

DOUBLE SS: Yes, in the Carl “The Truth” Williams and Tim Witherspoon fight in Atlantic City in March of 1991. Both were holding the entire fight. I leaned in to break them and Williams hit me with a left hook from about 6” away. If you ever saw Batman and how they go “pow” well I was seeing stars but stayed on my feet and stayed to the outside of the ring until my head cleared.

KEN HISSNER: How do you feel about how in times past and possibly currently in some places, the referee also serves as a judge for the same fight?

DOUBLE SS: I think it would be too difficult. I try to stay focused on the fight itself and don’t think I could see it the same way as if I was a judge.

KEN HISSNER: In closing what do you think of the idea of a “Boxing Czar”?

DOUBLE SS: In states like North Carolina where they have a part-time commission they could use someone from another state to assign commission people there. In general it may be difficult appointing someone.

KEN HISSNER: Is there something that stands out about fighters?

DOUBLE SS: When I see a fighter get hurt and come back to overcome his opponent. For instance in the Pavlik-Taylor first fight when Pavlik was hurt in the 2nd round, but I saw how he reacted when he was hurt in the Edison Miranda fight. He was able to come back by the end of the round and finish Taylor off in the 7th round. He thanked me after the fight for not stopping it in the 2nd round. I told him I would have done the same for Taylor.

KEN HISSNER: Steve, it has been my pleasure you taking the time to answer these questions.

DOUBLE SS: It has been the same here in talking to another boxing man!

49 thoughts on ““Double SS” Steve Smoger Interview – From Judge to Boxing Referee!”

  1. Having read this I thought it was very informative.
    I appreciate you finding the time and effort to put this short article
    together. I once again find myself spending a
    lot of time both reading and leaving comments.
    But so what, it was still worth it!

  2. I simply want to say I am just very new to blogging and definitely enjoyed you’re blog. Most likely I’m likely to bookmark your website . You amazingly come with outstanding articles. With thanks for sharing your blog site.

  3. Can I simply say exactly what a relief to get somebody that really knows what theyre talking about on the net. You actually learn how to bring a worry to light making it important. Lots more people ought to check out this and understand why side in the story. I cant think youre less well-known because you certainly provide the gift.

  4. Awesome write-up. I am a normal visitor of your blog and appreciate you taking the time to maintain the excellent site. I will be a frequent visitor for a long time.

  5. Super comfortable! This produced my lifestyle a great deal easier when we were actually astonishing our boy for his 5th birthday party with a brand new room set.

  6. I got what you mean , appreciate it for putting up.Woh I am glad to find this website through google. “Money is the most egalitarian force in society. It confers power on whoever holds it.” by Roger Starr.

  7. I truly appreciate this post. I have been looking all over for this! Thank goodness I found it on Bing. You’ve made my day! Thx again!

  8. I think this is one of the most important information for me. And i’m glad reading your article. But should remark on some general things, The site style is perfect, the articles is really great : D. Good job, cheers

  9. I simply want to say I am newbie to blogging and site-building and honestly liked you’re page. Probably I’m planning to bookmark your site . You really have excellent well written articles. Thanks a bunch for revealing your web page.

  10. you are really a just right webmaster. The web site loading pace is incredible. It sort of feels that you are doing any distinctive trick. Also, The contents are masterwork. you’ve done a wonderful activity in this subject!

  11. Great ¡V I should definitely pronounce, impressed with your site. I had no trouble navigating through all tabs as well as related info ended up being truly easy to do to access. I recently found what I hoped for before you know it in the least. Reasonably unusual. Is likely to appreciate it for those who add forums or anything, site theme . a tones way for your customer to communicate. Nice task..

  12. RETSPRO reviews and information are typically available inside our sites. RETS PRO serves a group of developers and real estate brokers who require the ultimate flexibility inside their IDX output. RETS PRO rets plugin is the essential software for any real estate website developer. RETSPRO was built with regard to web developers to provide them with the various tools to fully customize a website used for real-estate clients.

  13. Thanks for some other great article. Where else could anybody get that kind of information in such a perfect approach of writing? I have a presentation subsequent week, and I’m on the search for such info.

  14. Faytech North America is a touch screen Manufacturer of both monitors and pcs. They specialize in the design, development, manufacturing and marketing of Capacitive touch screen, Resistive touch screen, Industrial touch screen, IP65 touch screen, touchscreen monitors and integrated touchscreen PCs. Contact them at http://www.faytech.us, 121 Varick Street, New York, NY 10013, +1 646 205 3214

  15. MetroClick specializes in building completely interactive products like Photo Booth for rental or sale, Touch Screen Kiosks, Large Touch Screen Displays , Monitors, Digital Signages and experiences. With our own hardware production facility and in-house software development teams, we are able to achieve the highest level of customization and versatility for Photo Booths, Touch Screen Kiosks, Touch Screen Monitors and Digital Signage. Visit MetroClick at http://www.metroclick.com/ or , 121 Varick St, New York, NY 10013, +1 646-843-0888

  16. Good ¡V I should certainly pronounce, impressed with your web site. I had no trouble navigating through all tabs as well as related info ended up being truly easy to do to access. I recently found what I hoped for before you know it at all. Reasonably unusual. Is likely to appreciate it for those who add forums or anything, site theme . a tones way for your customer to communicate. Excellent task..

  17. Hiya, I am really glad I’ve found this info. Nowadays bloggers publish only about gossips and net and this is actually annoying. A good blog with exciting content, that’s what I need. Thank you for keeping this site, I will be visiting it. Do you do newsletters? Can not find it.

  18. RETS PRO ripoffs are currently online, mostly in the form of nulled/old copies of our RETSPRO plugin. There is only one legitimate place to buy our software and that is on our own RETS PRO website.

  19. Attractive section of content. I just stumbled upon your web site and in accession capital to assert that I get actually enjoyed account your blog posts. Anyway I will be subscribing to your augment and even I achievement you access consistently quickly.

  20. I’m extremely impressed with your writing skills and also with the layout on your blog. Is this a paid theme or did you customize it yourself? Either way keep up the nice quality writing, it’s rare to see a great blog like this one these days..

  21. I simply desired to say thanks yet again. I’m not certain the things I might have accomplished without the entire basics shared by you directly on such problem. It absolutely was a scary circumstance in my view, however , seeing a specialized technique you processed it made me to jump over delight. I will be thankful for this advice and thus hope that you comprehend what a great job you are undertaking training the others through your site. More than likely you’ve never got to know all of us.

  22. I am not sure where you’re getting your information, but great topic. I needs to spend some time learning more or understanding more. Thanks for great info I was looking for this info for my mission.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *