Former Nevada Athletic Commission chairman and National Boxing Hall of Fame judge Herbert Santos died Sept. 5 in Portugal. He was 92.
The esteemed attorney from Reno represented the state for more than 40 years as a judge, presiding over 755 professional bouts, including 20 world title fights.
Born Herbert Joseph Santos on Aug. 15, 1931, he was raised in Plainville, Connecticut, starring as a basketball player for the local high school while participating in football and track and field, according to an obituary provided by his family to the Reno Gazette-Journal.
A naval officer and Korean War veteran, he was honorably discharged and attended Suffolk University in Boston for undergraduate and law school, relocating to Nevada in the early 1960s as a Judge Advocate General for the U.S. Air Force.
He established a private practice, focusing on criminal law, immigration, family law, wills and probate and personal injury.
Santos began judging in the mid-1970s at the advisement of family friend Al Montechelle, who as the chief inspector for NAC in Northern Nevada, told him, “Boxing needed good people like him,” according to the obituary.
He was among the three judges ringside for Marvin Hagler’s famous 1985 victory over Thomas Hearns at Caesars Palace. Other famous fighters he judged included Sugar Ray Leonard, Mike Tyson, Julio Cesar Chavez, Larry Holmes and Evander Holyfield.
Santos served as NAC chairman in 1987-88. He introduced drug testing for boxers that covered AIDS and hepatitis and other rules designed to make the sports safe.
He a licensed judge in Nevada and Texas through 2023.
Santos was preceded in death by his wife, Jeannette, and survived by children Herb Jr., Cory, Joel and several grandchildren.