Monday, April 08, 2013
Noted Maryland Referee and Judge Ray Klingmeyer Passes!
Long-time Maryland referee and judge Ray Klingmeyer passed away on April 5 at the age of 88.
The native of Baltimore, MD was an amateur who won 70 bouts and turned professional in 1946. Klingmeyer had a pro record of 39-8-3 (31-11-3, with 14 KO's, according to BoxRec) before his career was halted in 1951 by an arm injury suffered on a construction site.
In 1977, Klingmeyer joined the Maryland State Athletic Commission as a judge and referee. Klingmeyer was a judge at the first pro bout I ever attended as a boxing fan -- Muhammad Ali's world heavyweight title defense against Alfredo Evangelista on May 16, 1977 at the Capital Centre in Landover, MD.
Klingmeyer would add refereeing to his duties in 1978 and was the third man for hundreds of bouts in the Beltway area. Two were very notable in my career -- One was on July 3, 1990, a nationally televised (USA Network) battle at the old Washington Convention Center for the USBA Flyweight title between DC's Louis "Heidi" Curtis and Pedro Feliciano. Curtis, a member of the 1976 US Olympic team, was the defending champion but lost the title because of a nasty welt over his left eye (reminiscent of what would happen to Hasim Rahman against Evander Holyfield years later)
The other notable contest would be one of Klingmeyer's last as a referee -- April 29, 1995 -- when Baltimore's Vincent Pettway would defend his IBF Junior Middleweight title against two-time former world champ Simon Brown at "The Beltway Brawl" at the renamed USAir Arena (formerly Capital Centre). Klingmeyer would retire from refereeing in 1996 because of failing eyesight.
Klingmeyer is a member of the Maryland Boxing Hall of Fame. Survivors include his wife of 65 years, Bess.
Klingmeyer brings back fond memories of my "Boxing Spotlight" days as a reporter where he was a part of the officiating crew in Maryland that included men like Leo Schumacher, Larry Barrett, Bill Holmes, Jodi Wingfield and Karl Milligan. I always liked the way Klingmeyer would stop a contest on a TKO. It would always look like he was saying to the defeated boxer "Son, believe me, it's best" as he walked him back to the corner. Ray Klingmeyer was a very nice, softspoken man and may he rest in peace.