Lou Filippo died in Downey, California on November 2 after suffering a stroke. He was 83 years old.
Filippo had a long, distinguished career in and around boxing. He was a top amateur in California during the 1940s, and was a Navy boxing champion when he enlisted during World War II. After over 250 amateur fights, he turned pro in 1947. Four days before his professional debut, he was cut during sparring. Cuts would plague his pro career, eventually essentially ending it in 1957
His final two fights were his most famous, a somewhat notorious back-to-back no-contest and loss to Carlos Ortiz. In the no-contest on March 2, 1957, Filippo was originally declared the winner by disqualification for hitting Filippo after the bell sounded to end the ninth round. Boxing historian Don Fraser discusses what happened:
Boxing historian Don Fraser of the California Boxing Hall of Fame recalled that Filippo was originally awarded a victory in the first bout against Ortiz after being hit after the bell, but a Times reporter questioned a member of the California State Athletic Commission about that ruling, and the no-contest decision was invoked.
Fraser said about 40 gamblers who were set to lose money on the Filippo victory then forced the ring announcer to re-enter the Legion Stadium ring in Hollywood and announce the ruling so they could avoid the payoffs.
Filippo lost the next fight to Ortiz about a month later, and retired at 23-9-3 with eight knockouts and one no-contest. But he wouldn't leave boxing.
He managed some and trained some, but gained further fame as a judge and referee. He officiated over 85 championship fights, and was the judge who scored Hagler-Leonard for Hagler (115-113), and also scored Oscar de la Hoya-Shane Mosley I (Mosley 116-112).
Filippo was also involved in the first five Rocky movies. He was a referee in Rocky II through Rocky V, and served as a fight announcer in Rocky. He also played a referee on "Fantasy Island," "The Fall Guy," "The A-Team" and "Moonlighting," and in the films City Heat and Knockout.