Whenever Las Vegas hosted a major fight in the 1980s, Lou Tabat was usually sitting ringside as a judge.
He worked the Sugar Ray Leonard-Thomas Hearns fight in 1981. A year later, there was Roberto Duran vs. Wilfred Benitez, and later in 1982, Ray “Boom Boom” Mancini vs. Duk Koo Kim.
Tabat, whose career in boxing spanned four decades, died Monday of colon cancer. He was 87.
“He loved the sport,” former Nevada Athletic Commission executive director Marc Ratner said. “He was a very consistent judge, and he was always enthusiastic.”
The first world title fight Tabat judged was on Feb. 15, 1978, when Muhammad Ali lost the heavyweight championship to Leon Spinks at the Las Vegas Hilton.
But perhaps the most difficult night of his career was Nov. 13, 1982, when Mancini and Kim fought at Caesars Palace. Mancini knocked out Kim in the 14th round, and shortly afterward Kim collapsed and slipped into a coma. He died four days later.
“Lou was a sensitive guy, but he was a tough guy,” said Duane Ford, a longtime Nevada judge and good friend of Tabat. “I don’t remember him ever talking about (the Mancini-Kim fight) in a way that caused him any regret.”
Tabat also judged amateur boxing. He worked the 1984 Olympic Games in Los Angeles, and was scheduled to judge the 1988 Games in Seoul, South Korea, before having to bow out because of an appendicitis attack. He worked the 1996 Atlanta Olympics as a field of play marshal during the boxing competition, helping with security for the fighters.
“That was his real love, the Olympics,” Ratner said.
At the end of Tabat’s run as a pro judge in 2002, he was working fights in Japan and Thailand.
Tabat served in the Air Force during World War II and the Korean War and later served six terms as a Constable in Clark County. He also worked as a high school sports official.
A funeral mass will be held at 10 a.m. Monday at Saint Joseph Husband of Mary Church, 7260 W. Sahara Ave. Tabat will receive a military burial at Palm Mortuary, 7600 S. Eastern Ave.
■ COTTO-MAYORGA OFFICIALS — The commission selected Robert Byrd of Las Vegas to referee the WBA super welterweight title fight between Miguel Cotto and Ricardo Mayorga on March 12 at the MGM Grand Garden. The judges will be Duane Ford and Jerry Roth, both of Las Vegas, and Chris Wilson of Arizona.
Cotto arrives Monday from Florida to finish his camp at Top Rank Gym. His workouts are closed to the public.
On the undercard, Tony Weeks of Las Vegas will referee the IBF lightweight title fight between Miguel Vazquez and Leonardo Zappavigna. The judges, all from Nevada, will be Burt Clements, Patricia Morse-Jarman and Glenn Trowbridge.
■ BUSY TIME — Along with three major cards at the MGM Grand Garden — the March 12 show, an April 9 card featuring Erik Morales against Marcos Maidana and a May 7 card matching Manny Pacquiao and Shane Mosley — Las Vegas will host several smaller shows in the next three months.
On March 11 at Planet Hollywood, former world champions Joel Casamayor and Michael Anchondo will meet in a 10-round lightweight bout. Heavyweights Tye Fields and Michael Grant also will meet in a 10-round bout.
On April 1 at the Rio, cruiserweight Henry Namauu, a former UNLV boxer, will take on Victor Barragan in the main event, a 10-round bout for the IBA Americas cruiserweight belt.
On April 8, a card will take place in Primm. Details are expected to be released in the next two weeks.
And on May 6 at Mandalay Bay, local super featherweight Diego Magdaleno is expected to defend his NABF title against an opponent to be determined.
Contact reporter Steve Carp at firstname.lastname@example.org or 702-387-2913. Follow him on Twitter: @stevecarprj.