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Mercante was boxing's invisible force

Legendary referee represented law and order in the ring

Updated: April 11, 2010, 5:02 PM ET
By Wallace Matthews | ESPNNewYork.com

Arthur Mercante believed that the best referees were the ones who were neither seen nor heard. His movements were perfectly in sync with the fighters he was watching over, but unobtrusive. His instructions were brief and to the point, his presence in the ring protective, never intrusive.

He never had a catchphrase, no Mills Lane-like "Let's get it on!" or Joe Cortez-esque "I'm firm but I'm fair."

He came from the old school, the one that understood the fans came to see the fighters, ...

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