Lem Satterfield

Lem’s latest: Margules’ bad streak in Texas continues with Molina

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Leon Margules admits that his success with fighters in Texas has not been good recently.

On Feb 18, in Corpus Christi, Texas, light heavyweight challenger Gabriel Campillo appeared to have the edge, only to lose a split decision to IBF beltholder Tavoris Cloud on Showtime

Margules is the attorney who acted on Campillo’s behalf, sending a letter to IBF President Daryl Peoples and Championships Chairman Lindsay Tucker “formally asking them to order an immediate rematch under rule 5-K” of the organization’s rules governing the defense of a title.

In accordance with the rule, “The Championships Chairman and The President in their discretion may direct two contestants to engage in a rematch for the championship within a perscribed time.”

The IBF has since denied the request of Margules.

Margules’ misfortune continued on Saturday night at the Reliant Arena in Houston, Tex., this time while he was in his role as president of Warriors Boxing Promotions.

In Houston, Margules’ junior middleweight contender, Carlos Molina (19-5-2, 6 knockouts), lost by controversial, 10th-round disqualification against James Kirkland, who was trailing on two of the three judges’ cards at the time, though most observers felt that the one card in Kirkland’s favor was, in itself, controversial.

Referee Jon Schorle acted in response to Molina’s cornerman briefly hopping into the ring in reaction to a round-ending bell that had sounded almost at the same instant that Kirkland knocked Molina down. The intrusion briefly halted Schorle’s 10-count, which resumed as a standing eight.

“I had called the Texas commission beforehand, and I told them that I want your A-Team… The referee, Schorle, is usually pretty good, so I felt comfortable going in,” said Margules. “I thought we were winning the fight. We knew we were winning the fight. I didn’t think that we would get robbed.”

Margules has also filed a complaint with the Texas commission regarding Campillo, and that investigation still is ongoing.

“The Texas commission has not yet ruled on my appeal on Campillo. And they’re about to get another appeal on this one. But this was Carlos’ night. I wasn’t going to talk about Campillo,” said Margules.

“You have millions of people watching a fighter beat the crap out of another guy, and then he gets knocked down, and there’s a little drama, and then the bell rings. Then some referee waves his hands? People are going to watch this and say, ‘why am I watching this s–t?’ I felt sick for our sport. Our sport sucked tonight.”

MARGULES: ROUND’S OVER WHEN BELL RINGS, IN ACCORDANCE WITH TEXAS RULES

Margules said that he is planning to appeal for a no-contest with the Texas commission on Kirkland-Molina.

“It’s got to be a no-contest. The Texas commission can’t order a rematch. They can only order a no-contest. But I don’t think that anybody at ringside knew this particular rule that you are not supposed to hear the standing eight count after the bell once the fighter reaches his feet,” said Margules.

“I really believe that if they follow their rules, then they will have to reverse it and make it a no-contest because the decision that was made was acted upon after the bell, and after Carlos had already reached his feet.”

Citing the commission’s governing literature, Combative Sports Administrative Rules governing the state of Texas, Margules said Schorle’s decision violated the section entitled “Responsibilities of The Referee” relating to knockdowns.

“When a round ends before a contestant who was knocked down rises, the bell shall not ring, and the count shall continue. If the contestant rises before the count of 10, the bell shall ring ending the round.”

“What that means to me is that the referee doesn’t need to do the count. You can’t be saved by the bell, but all that the fighter has to do is to rise. Carlos jumped right up. The bell rang, Carlos was on his feet, and the round was over pursuant to this rule. You don’t have to do the eight count if the fighter is on his feet,” said Margules.

“If the bell hadn’t sounded, then the referee would have had to continue the count until Carlos stood up. As soon as he stands up, then if the bell rings, then the round’s over, and the referee should discontinue his count. In this particular case, the bell rang, the kid got up, and the corner got into the ring. But the referee continued his count for no particular reason.”

As far as the cornerman, Lou Askennette, is concerned, Margules said he did nothing wrong by entering the ring after the bell had sounded.

“When a fighter gets knocked down at the end of the round, and the bell sounds, as soon as he gets to his feet, the round is over. So as long as his corner did not come up onto the ring apron before Carlos reached his feet, then they did nothing wrong,” said Margules.

“Clearly, the bell had already sounded before the corner entered the ring. So there’s no rules violation and there is no possible way to disqualify Carlos. Under Texas rules, the corner did nothing wrong, and there is no violation.”

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REFEREE LAURENCE COLE HAD BEEN A GOOD OMEN FOR ERIK MORALES UNTIL SATURDAY NIGHT

Kirkland-Molina took place on the undercard of the junior welterweight main event during which Erik Morales (52-8, 36 KOs) of Mexico, was dethroned as WBC titleholder following a unanimous decision loss to 140-pound contender Danny Garcia (23-0, 14 KOs), of Philadelphia, who dropped Morales in the 11th round.

For Garcia, who turned 24 on March 19, it was the third straight triumph over a current or former world titleholder. Garcia had scored consecutive decisions over ex-world titleholders Nate Campbell and Kendall Holt in April and October, respectively.

Texas-based referee Laurence Cole was the third man in the ring for Garcia-Morales, just as he was nearly 15 years ago, when a 21-year-old Morales stopped WBC junior welterweigbht titleholder Daniel Zaragoza in the 11th round for his first major crown on September 6, 1997.

Morales defended that crown nine times, including a fourth-round KO of Junior Jones, a decision over Wayne McCullough and an the split-decision win over Marco Antonio Barrera in their first meeting, which became THE RING’s Fight of the Year for 2000.

Cole also worked Morales’ seventh-round stoppage of John Lowey and Kevin Kelly in December of 1997 and September of 2000, respectively, giving Morales a mark of 3-1, with three KOs when Cole works his fights.

“That was about 15 years ago that I worked that fight with Morales when he won the 122-pound title against Daniel Zaragoza in El Paso,” said Cole.

“So the irony is that on Saturday night, it’s like Morales passed the torch to another young fighter who happens to have the same first name as Daniel Zaragoza.”

Having turned turned professional at the age of 17, Morales was 26-0, with 20 knockouts entering the clash with Zaragoza, who announced his retirement after the fight. Morales dropped Zaragoza with a perfectly-placed right-handed body shot to the solar plexis, and Cole remembers vividly how Zaragoza failed to beat the count.

“It was a very competitive fight. I even thought that Zaragoza was winning the fight. But he gets hit with a body shot and sits down, and it’s almost in the center of the ring. Obviously, Morales goes to the neutral corner, and I pick up the count. So as I’m counting, Zaragoza is sitting on his butt. His arms are kind of down at his knees,” said Cole.

“As he looks up at me, and I’ve got the count, he almost seems relieved that this part of his life is done. He looks over his shoulder, picks up his left hand and points it at Morales, almost symbolically passing him the torch, almost as if to say, ‘it’s yours.’ And he sort of sits there and takes the count.”

There was no such imagery in the aftermath of Garcia-Morales, said Cole. 

“When the final bell rang, Erik and Danny were literally right next to each other near a neutral corner, and as Danny reached out to embrace him, Erik sort of turned and walked back to his own corner,” said Cole.

“I’m not saying that Morales shunned him or anything else, but Morales did turn away. He almost seemed sort of frustrated with his performance. I think that Erik is so prideful, and I think that he thought that he had so much left, but then, he realized that he just might not have it anymore.”

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It had been on March 20 of 2005, one day after Garcia’s 17th birthday, the now 35-year-old Morales had become the last man to defeat Manny Pacquiao. Morales is also known for his trilogy with fellow Mexican and three-division titlewinner Barrera, having lost twice.

Following consecutive knockout losses to Pacquiao and falling by decision to David Diaz in 2007, Morales had lost four straight after his triumph over Pacquiao.

Morales took a 31-month hiatus, ending it with a unanimous decision over Jose Alfaro in March of 2010. In April of last year, his right eye completely closed after a contentious first round, Morales lost a disputed majority decision to hard-hitting Marcos Maidana, a fight that most ringsiders thought he had won.

Before facing Garcia, Morales had become the first Mexican to win four belts over as many different weight classes, doing so with September’s 10th-round TKO over the previously unbeaten then-21-year-old prospect, Pablo Cesar Cano.

Morales entered his fight with Garcia after having endured gall bladder surgery in December that forced him to withdraw from their initially scheduled matchup on Jan. 28.


 

Photo by Chris Cozzone, Fightwire Images

Lem Satterfield can be reached at lemuel.satterfield@gmail.com

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