Kenny Lane

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Local product Kenny Lane gave the Muskegon area its most legitimate contender for a world professional boxing title in the lightweight division during the 1950’s and 60’s. A crafty southpaw with lightning speed, Kenny honed his skills under the watchful eye of one time Muskegon professional boxer Pete Petroskey, who also managed many other promising local fighters. Lane’s amateur career was climaxed by a victory in the 1952 Grand Rapids Press Golden Gloves competition.

He turned pro in 1953 and soon began to attract national attention. In 1956, the Chicago Boxing Writers and Broadcasters named him the most improved boxer for that year. His upward surge in the lightweight rankings finally earned him a title match against champion Joe Brown in 1958. Kenny lost his bid with a controversial one-point, 15-round decision that many observers believed he had clearly won. Calls for a rematch were ignored.

He 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. He finished with an impressive record of 79-15-2.
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. In 2004, he was inducted into the World Boxing Hall of Fame.
Lane still remained active in boxing after retirement from the sport. He dedicated much of his free time to assisting area youth at the Muskegon Area Boxing Club, training, sparring with and working the corner for some of the area’s boxing talent.

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