Thousands of Rounds of Knowledge
“Harvey Dock” Boxing Referee(Profile)
Harvey Dock moves in his natural orbit around the fighters, staring at them, concentrating on seeing what the crowd and judges can’t. His actions are smooth, effective, and non-disruptive.
He measures distance like the fighters. Keeping his perimeter when needed or poised to step in front of the left hook of Jerry Odom. Protecting Andrew Hernandez while calling a stoppage by TKO, 13 seconds into the first round, it’s over.
“The referee should be in position to manage the actions of the match and have his eyes fixated on the action to make the best decision” said Dock. “Looking away from the action is asking for trouble, which leads to boxers taking matters into their own hands.”
Just like a fighter, a referee’s style is built on ability, experience, and influence.
Dock was a mentee of Benjy Estevez, a veteran referee of global assignments and world title bouts. Estevez has been the third man in the ring with fighters such as Arturo Gatti, Shane Mosely, Bernard Hopkins, and Floyd Mayweather Jr.
Docks style of remaining cool when the action is hot is influenced by Estevez. Their positioning, mechanics, and concentration resemble one another.
This is not a one generation lesson. You can see a more kinetic version of the same mechanics, positioning, and concentration in Larry Hazzard. One of Estevez’s many mentors, former referee and current commissioner of the New Jersey State Athletic Control Board.
“In my opinion Dock’s among the top five boxing officials all over the globe at this point.” said Hazzard.
Dock’s professionalism and presence make him the recognizable new school ref bringing the old school ref style to fans of boxing on ESPN, HBO and Showtime.
Hazzard knows what it’s like to be Dock. He mentored him during his infant stages as a ref. Hazzard has also been the young referee, bringing the old school discipline to the new school fans.
Before becoming a boxing commissioner twice and advocating and instituting improved fighter safety guidelines. Hazzard was refereeing high profile fights in the eighties during a surge in boxing popularity.
Boxers are not the only ones that train for the ring. Dock and Hazzard take their own physical conditioning seriously.
Mistaking Dock for a fighter would be easy. Training amateur boxers, personal training clients, and running a half marathon in support of cancer make him a young, fit 44. At 6’1, He looks like he could fight instead of ref.
“He’s in top condition” said Hazzard. “That’s very important.”
Hazzard knows the benefits of fitness in the ref world. In 1967, he began a referee career that fans still talk about today. Before that he was a three-time New Jersey Golden Glove Champion in the 1960’s. He also won the New Jersey A.A.U. Championship and is a practitioner of Jiu-jitsu.
Dock is also an accomplished amateur boxer. Dock was the New Jersey State Champ and state representative to England on the international team in 1993. The following year he was Region One champ, Golden Gloves Champ, and New Jersey’s representative to Denmark on the international team. After dominating his one pro fight against Charles Mack in 1997. Dock analyzed his own boxing future and set aside his gloves.
“After seeing the results of some of the older, tougher, fighters I was friends with going pro, I assessed my own skills and felt as if I had already fought at my highest level.” said Dock. “For me transitioning to referee went smoothly. Because, as a fighter, I spent my time diligently and analytically studying boxing live and on TV.”
In 2003 he began the process of becoming a recognizable young master of the sweet science of refereeing the sweet science.
“I feel somewhat pleased with his development” Hazzard said, “He has excelled above and beyond many young ref’s over the years. He climbed the ladder quickly and that’s attributed to the fact that he has remained a student of the game. He was a champion boxer on a national level. All these qualities manifested itself in his work, no compunction what so ever.”
Both men are from Newark and Dock said when he was younger the “The city was better then and the kids had a tighter community.” He’d like to run a boxing program to Newark because he feels it would bring focus, discipline, and inclusion to the youth.
Hazzard is rebuilding Jersey’s fight legacy throughout the state right now and that includes fights at Newark’s Prudential center.
It’s a good time in boxing for a referee who transcends the mixture of fans.
Boxing’s profile is rising higher, fueled by a new Saturday night primetime deal on NBC. Hazzard is the unofficial scorer on this program. This will add to the cable fight programming and reach those without premium cable packages.
Dock just appeared on NBC refereeing the high profile fight between Danny Garcia and Lamont Peterson.
“I’ll put him on any calendar in the sport of boxing.” said Hazzard.
Add in the rising participation of rap moguls and tons of new marketable fighters. Plus the fact that Mayweather and Pacquiao will finally get it on. Poises boxing for tremendous additional success.
In reference to the new fans Dock laughed lightly as he responded “While working the Dusty Harrison vs Tommy Rainone at Madison Square Garden. Which was a fight produced by Jay Z’s company Roc Nation. I looked into the crowd between rounds and witnessed a traditional boxing fan. Visibly confused by the new fan sitting directly in front of him who was standing and dancing to the music in between the rounds.”
Boxing, Hazzard, and Dock are currently in a transition period at this time.
Dock got hit with a layoff after 14 years at Port Authority. He replaced that with personal training and training boxers. He is refereeing high school basketball. He had begun writing about boxing. Dock also took a ten minute break from this interview to collect a check for property he manages.
Hazzard appointed Dock to conduct the New Jersey Boxing seminar in 2014. This led to executive director of the New York State Athletic Commissioner David Berlin to request Dock to do the same for the New York Boxing seminar.
Hazzard is returning to Commissioner after an eight year hiatus. He remained in the fight game by drafting the Unified Rules of MMA in 2001 and worked on returning state-sanctioned status to the UFC.
Hazzard’s back and more relaxed. He acknowledged this new approach is making life easier on himself and those working with him.
Hazzard began his professional refereeing career while also attending the graduate program at Montclair State. In 1980 he received his Master’s Degree in Administration and Supervision of Education.
Dock just graduated from Rutgers Newark in 2014 with a degree in Journalism. This was the completion of something he started 20 years ago at Essex County College.
“I wanted the diploma!” said Dock. He used the time at Rutgers to enhance his communication and writing ability for further endeavors in the boxing world.
The depth of Dock’s expertise and perspective on fights is available in writing at his web-site ringsideboxingshow.com. The Dock fight breakdown includes commentary about the referee’s effect on the bout.
“Dock has the kind of mind that would be good at whatever he chose, he’s tactful and thinking, he has the pedigree, mentality, attitude, he could have been anything” said Hazzard.
Dock applied his 20 years of boxing education to his University education. “My analytical mind set mixed with my introversion helps in all aspects of my life” said Dock. “The analysis of what’s going on in my world works for me and applies to my boxing and got me to graduate.”
“Dock takes criticism well and he respectfully asks questions and never challenges constructive criticism. You can see him think, you can see he make a correction. He’s an outstanding student. He’s a perfect student.” Hazzard said. The added “He’s tactful and thoughtful and he has the type of mind that opens an individual to rounds of knowledge.”
Each student at Newark Rutgers had their own Dock moment as he would speak in class and the mind would flash back to HBO on Saturday as the two worlds blurred together.
So watch the fighters come and go as Dock and Hazzard remain for decades to come. Bringing rounds of old school knowledge and history to the new school boxing fans.
If you follow championship boxing, then you know championship refereeing and you can bet on Dock.
“He’s on his way to being the top official in the world.” said, Hazzard.
BY: Josh Spear