As a professional boxing referee, Steve Smoger has long ranked at the pinnacle of his profession. He has refereed 185 World Title fights all over the globe and has officiated in more states and countries than any other professional boxing referee in the history of the “sweet science”.
Honored several times as “Referee of the Year” by boxing’s bible, Ring Magazine, as well as Boxing Scene Magazine, he won “Best Referee in the World” in a poll conducted by Boxing Illustrated. He has the distinction of being inducted into both the New Jersey and Pennsylvania Boxing Halls of Fame.
Growing up in Atlantic City, boxers were always heroes in the Smoger household. At an early age, he was permitted to stay up to watch the Gillette Friday Night Fights on television, and his most unforgettable memory was the night his Dad took him to see Jersey Joe Walcott defend his Heavyweight title against Rocky Marciano in Philadelphia. It was none other than the great Jersey Joe who, as commissioner of the New Jersey State Athletic Commission, issued Smoger his first referee’s license thirty years later.
In boxing circles, Smoger’s liberal philosophy in the ring often results in exciting bouts because the action is stopped only when absolutely necessary.
The most historic moment in his long career came when he officiated at the Trinidad-Hopkins fight in Madison Square Garden only eighteen days after the devastation of 9-11. “The feeling in the Garden that night was incredible”, Smoger recalls. “Packed house! The national pride! The intensity! Seeing the survivors sitting in the front row was surreal…goose bumps”.
Out of the ring, Smoger, a graduate of Atlantic City High School and Penn State University, was awarded his Juris Doctor from George Washington University. In 1980, he became the first full time City Prosecutor in his hometown where he served until 1992 and was then appointed to the Atlantic County Municipal Court Bench. In 2002, Smoger accepted the position of City Solicitor and maintained that role until 2005 when he entered the private practice of law.
Smoger served in the Air Force Reserve for 30 years. He held the post of Staff Judge Advocate and obtained the rank of Colonel in the U.S. Air Force Legal Services Agency in Washington, D.C.