PASSINGS: Arthur Mercante, Robert Franks

Arthur Mercante

Referee in 100 world title fights

Arthur Mercante, 90, a Hall of Fame boxing referee who was the third man in the ring for more than 100 world title fights, died Saturday at his home in Westbury, N.Y., said Edward Brophy, executive director of the International Boxing Hall of Fame. No cause of death was given.

Mercante, who was born in 1920, began his career while serving in the Navy.

He became a professional referee in 1954 and, six years later, was in the ring for his first world title fight when Floyd Patterson knocked out Ingemar Johansson at the Polo Grounds in New York.

Mercante was the referee for the first fight between Muhammad Ali and Joe Frazier on March 8, 1971. He retired in 2001.

His son, Arthur Mercante Jr., also is a boxing referee.

Robert Franks, a four-term Republican congressman from New Jersey who narrowly lost a U.S. Senate race to Jon Corzine in 2000, died Friday in New York City, said a former aide, Mike DuHaime.

Franks, who had cancer, was 58.

-- times staff and wire reports