Muskegon boxing legend Kenny Lane dies at 76
Kenny Lane, one of the all-time greats in Muskegon area sports history, died Tuesday of a heart attack. He was 76.
Lane was the most accomplished boxer in area history, a crafty lightweight southpaw who compiled a career record of 77-14-2.
But as good of a fighter as he was, Lane forged an even greater legacy as a trainer of young men, working with area kids for the past 40 years, freely giving his expertise to several generations.
"I've never met anyone who loved kids more than Kenny Lane," said Jack Crowell, who was trained by Lane and then coached with him for years at the Muskegon Area Boxing Club, now known as the Muskegon Recreation Center.
"Kenny was the glue of our organization. We are going to miss everything about him so much."
Lane was at the Muskegon Recreation Center, located at Smith-Ryerson Park in the Jackson Hill area of Muskegon, sparring in the ring with young fighters on Monday, the night before his death. He died while playing golf, which replaced boxing as his obsession in his later years.
Chronicle file photoSouthpaw lightweight professional boxer Kenny Lane, left boxed in 1950s and 1960s. He won the Lightweight title n 1963. He is shown with Walter "Pete" Petroskey, who boxed from 1923-1939.
Lane, who honed his skills under the guidance of legendary area trainer Pete Petroskey, turned professional in 1953. He was known for his unorthodox style, which is why many top boxers of the day avoided fights with him.
He is the only area boxer to ever fight for a world championship, losing a controversial 15-round decision to Joe Brown in 1958. Calls for a rematch were ignored.
Lane continued to maintain his top?ranked challenger rating for several more years and won the Michigan version of the World Lightweight crown in a 15-round battle with Paul Armstead. In 1964, five and a half years after the first fight, Lane finally earned another title shot against Carlos Ortiz.
Once again, the southpaw lost a close 15?round decision. Lane fought for one more year. On October 25, 1965, at the age of 33, after losses to future Junior Welterweight Champion Carlos Hernandez and former Junior Welterweight Champion Eddie Perkins, he called it quits.
In 1982, he startled the boxing world by coming out of retirement at age 50 and proceeded to win three of four matches against younger opponents. As a result, Lane became the oldest professional boxer to appear in his 100th professional bout.
"We all know him now because of his great sense of humor and everything else, but make no mistake, Kenny was one of the greatest lefthanded fighters of all time," said Crowell. "I've traveled all over the world with boxing, but no matter where I go, people know about Kenny Lane. He was that good."
Lane, who made a living as an electronics repairman, was inducted into the Muskegon Area Sports Hall of Fame in 1988 and the World Boxing Hall of Fame in 2004.
He is survived by his wife, Ruth, and four children.
Categories: Breaking News
I am sad to hear, he used to come out and fix our tv's all the time. My thoughts and prayers are to his family. RIP Kenny.
Posted on 08/05/08 at 7:23PM
A Muskegon legend indeed. Rest in peace Kenny