Newspaper article The Canadian Press

Canadian Boxing Referee Marlon B. Wright Dead at 51: Worked Top Fights Worldwide

Newspaper article The Canadian Press

Canadian Boxing Referee Marlon B. Wright Dead at 51: Worked Top Fights Worldwide

Article excerpt

Referee Wright dead of cancer at 51

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MONTREAL - Marlon B. Wright was remembered Friday as a promising welterweight fighter who went on to become one of Canada's top boxing referees, officiating title bouts around the world.

The 51-year-old Wright died Thursday night at Sacre-Coeur Hospital surrounded by his family, said Michel Hamelin, head of Quebec's combat sports commission.

The Jamaica native who grew up in Montreal had been suffering from melanoma, a form of skin cancer, since 2014 but was still working as recently as Feb. 24 when he handled a bout in Quebec City between former super-middleweight champion Lucian Bute and Eleider Alvarez.

Wright's resume in two decades as third man in the ring includes Kell Brook's loss to Gennady Golovkin in a middleweight title unification bout in London in September and David Lemieux of Montreal's middleweight title win over Hassan N'Dam in 2015.

He worked title fights in Europe, Asia and North America but was also a regular on fight cards large and small around Quebec.

"It's a big loss," said Hamelin. "We'll miss him for sure."

Several fighters, including Bute, Lemieux and World Boxing Council light heavyweight champion Adonis Stevenson of Montreal, posted messages of condolence on social media.

Despite the accolades, Wright is perhaps best known in the boxing world for his controversial call in 2008, when Bute retained his International Boxing Federation title despite being knocked senseless late in the final round by Librado Andrade.

Wright stopped midway through his count to wave Andrade back to a neutral corner. What some criticized as a long count gave Bute time to get up just before the final bell and get the victory by decision in a fight he had dominated through the first 10 rounds. Wright's actions, televised live in the U.S., were scorched by many fans and media members, including some who nicknamed him Marlon B. Wrong.

"The Andrade fight really gave him a scar on his career that might have hurt his advancement, but to me, he was one of the best referees I've ever seen," said trainer, cutman and broadcaster Russ Anber. "I always thought he should be up there with the best refs in the game. …

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