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June 10, 1998|EARL GUSTKEY

What: "Let's Get It On," by Mills Lane (with Jedwin Smith)

Publisher: Crown Publishers (263 pages, to be published in August)

Price: $23

"Do it!"

Those two little words, direct quotes, he says, from his Marine Corps drill instructors at Parris Island, S.C., sum up the life philosophy of Mills Lane, world-famous, pistol-packing, what-you-see-is-what-you-get boxing referee/judge from Reno.

In this remarkable autobiography, Lane is profane, pulls no punches, rips nearly everyone who doesn't toe the "Do it!" credo and serves up a passionate case for the sport he loves, the one he calls "the discipline," boxing.

Boxing teaches discipline and effort, he preaches . . . and for underachieving pugilists, there is naked contempt.

Take former welterweight champion Donald Curry. Lane writes that on the 1985 night he defeated Milton McCrory, Curry "was one of the greatest-looking fighters I'd ever seen."

Lane ran into Curry five months later and was appalled to see the fighter had put on 15 pounds since that night.

"What are you thinking about?" Lane barked.

"Excuse me?" Curry said.

"You have been blessed with great talent," Lane told him. "You're abusing your tools. If you were a carpenter, would you leave your tools out in the rain?"

In his Reno courtroom, Lane is "Maximum Mills."

To a criminal defendant in his courtroom one day, Lane glared down on the young fellow who had blamed his predicament on his upbringing. Retorted Lane:

"Listen--it's not because your mama didn't breast-feed you. It's not because your daddy screamed at you. The problem is you."

And yes, Maximum Mills packs heat.

"I carry a snub-nosed .38 police special wherever I go," he writes.

"If someone were to try to rob me or assault my wife I would put a slug between his or her eyes quicker than you could say 'Miranda who?' "

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