This writer has noticed many top fights either going to Las Vegas or New York City. The referees are usually from those states and though they get the big fights they are not the better referees in my opinion. They just happen to be licensed in those states.
Some of the top well known referees in the past are Arthur Donovan, Arthur Mercante, Sr., Mitch Halpern, Larry Hazzard, Sr. and still doing a good active job is Steve “Double S” Smoger. Today one that stands out in this writer’s opinion is New Jersey’s Harvey Dock.
Dock was named New Jersey Amateur Boxing Champion in 1993 and 1994. As a professional boxer he was 1-0 (0), fighting out of Jersey City, New Jersey. He promoted as HD Promotions one fight at the Robert Treat Hotel in Newark, New Jersey in November of 2008.
Dock made his referee debut in April of 2004 licensed in New Jersey. He would eventually work in New York, Maryland, Connecticut, Michigan and Ohio. Outside the country he worked in Bermuda.
Dock has worked 189 bouts in his fourteen years as a referee. He has worked sixteen world title fights and fourteen minor title fights. His first world title fight was in November of 2007 in Atlantic City with WBO champion Joan Guzman and Humberto Soto.
Dock has worked five world title fights for the WBO, six for the WBA and five for the WBC. He has yet to work one for the IBF.
“I consider Harvey Dock and David Fields my protégé’s. I brought them both up from the amateur ranks where I personally tutored and mentored them on fine points of refereeing. They both have made me very proud of their accomplishments as professional referees and I consider them to be the 2 top referees in the sport today,” said Larry Hazzard, Sr. (NJ Boxing Commissioner)Brick City Boxing Editor Danny Serratelli added “I’ve known Dock a long time since we both trained at Red Brick Gym. He can fight and has always been a nice guy. One of the top referee’s around now.”
One of the top boxing judges from PA Lynne Carter had this to say “I think Harvey is a great referee. He’s one of the best in the business. His style reminds me of Larry Hazzard, Sr. who was also an excellent referee”.
“Dock is consistently good. He lets the fighters engage while officiating without being overbearing. Like any referee, Harvey may pull the trigger too quick on stoppages but he never lets them go too long,” said Frank Bartolini (Columnist the USA Boxing News)
Dock took the time from his busy schedule to answer questions.
KEN HISSNER: I think you are the best referee I have seen in boxing today. You do not get the recognition that so many in the past and present do. Does this bother you?
HARVEY DOCK: Getting recognition for my work comes from the athletic commissions that utilize me. I don’t need any recognition from anyone else. And I typically believe that the better your work, the more unassuming it is. In other words, if the fight is over, and you don’t remember who the ref is, that is typically a sign of job well done. I am very satisfied with my career as an official without the recognition, because of once you get into that angle of looking at it, you become focused on yourself, as opposed to doing your job. A good referee’s job is typically unassuming.
KEN HISSNER: You were a fine amateur boxer in New Jersey but only had one winning professional fight. Was that the plan so to be called a professional boxer?
HARVEY DOCK: Well I never had any intentions of turning professional, but after having went to different national tournaments, I thought it would be nice to have a professional fight on my ledger (just to say I did it). I’m glad it was successful, but no regrets about not pursuing it any further.
KEN HISSNER: Did you start your work as a referee in the amateurs and if you did when?
HARVEY DOCK: I did begin in the amateurs. I had one professional fight in 97’, and I started working in the amateurs at the start of 1996. I stayed in the amateurs until 2003, when I was given a professional license. The amateurs were fun, and I did some traveling on the local and national circuit. I was groomed by fellow pro’s Benji Esteves, and David Fields throughout those formative years.
KEN HISSNER: What are your thoughts on the standing count?
HARVEY DOCK: The standing 8 count was pretty much banned from professional boxing when I when I got my professional license, so the current rules are what I am used to. There are several ways of looking at the standing 8 count, but I haven’t given it much thought, being I came in under the current universally adopted system.
KEN HISSNER: New Jersey like the UK once gave the referee total responsibility of deciding the decision of a bout. Do you think a referee should also judge at the same time?
HARVEY DOCK: I am accustomed to the current system. The last bout when a referee was the sole judge was probably in the early 1980’s. I believe there is enough responsibility on the referee’s now, where the added responsibility of the scoring would/could be overwhelming. I have no desire to ever judge a match, in which I also referee; our responsibilities are more than enough for one person.
KEN HISSNER: You have worked as a referee only once while in Bermuda. Was that by choice or the assignments for out of the country just haven’t happened?
HARVEY DOCK: The Bermuda assignment just happened to be a one and done thing. I hopefully will get more opportunities to travel abroad, but at this time, those opportunities have been presented themselves to me.
KEN HISSNER: Do you have a favorite referee?
HARVEY DOCK: Larry Hazzard and Mills Lane are two of my favorites, but I learn from a great deal of my contemporaries.
KEN HISSNER: You promoted one fight. Having promoted three I know how difficult it could be. Was the one show just to promote a show?
HARVEY DOCK: I was really looking forward to promoting, and making it a career, but there is a lot of planning, and preparing I didn’t take into account. There are just so many moving parts that you could not be aware of for a first time business endeavor.
KEN HISSNER: How would you compare boxing today as it was back in 2004 when you started professionally in the business?
HARVEY DOCK: From an officials prospective, the safety of the boxers is still the same. It’s our number one priority.
KEN HISSNER: While talking to Harvey he was on a train to the Barclay Center in Brooklyn, NY, to officiate the main event.