The promoter of junior middleweight contender Carlos Molina has filed an appeal with the Texas Department of Licensing and Regulation seeking to overturn last Saturday night’s controversial 10th-round disqualification loss to James Kirkland at the Reliant Arena in Houston, Tex.
“I want a no-contest or a no-decision,” said Leon Margules, president of Warriors Boxing Promotions. “That’s what I want. Period.”
Referee Jon Schorle disqualified Molina in response to his cornerman briefly hopping into the ring after a round-ending bell 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.
In response to the infraction, Schorle directed Molina’s cornerman, Lou Askennette, to leave the ring, held a brief discussion at ringside with commission representative Greg Alvarez and WBC supervisor Craig Hubble, and then turned and waved off the fight.
“I don’t remember the exact conversation, but it wasn’t more than a couple of seconds,” said Hubble, whose organization’s Continential Americas belt was on the line.
“Schorle came over to explain that they came in during the round, and he was talking, I assume, to me, and I know that he was talking to Big Greg Alvarez, with the state of Texas,”
Rule 61.41 (b) of the commission’s governing literature, Combative Sports Administrative Rules for the state of Texas, allows for a discretionary decision by the official in such a situation, stating: “The referee may eject from an event any person who violates the Code or department rules. If a second violates this chapter or the Code, the referee may disqualify the seconds’ contestant.”
“I remember that he said that they came in during the count,” said Hubble. “But I don’t know if he then said, ‘I’m going to disqualify them,’ or, ‘should I disqualify him?’ or, ‘is he disqualified?’, but it was something to that effect. I think that Big Greg said, ‘okay,’ and I think that he then turned and waved it off, and that was it.”
Kirkland 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,
Citing the Texas Rule 61.41 of the Texas commission’s governing literature, 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.”
In Margules’ complain, a copy of which he e-mailed to RingTV.com, he contends that two violations of the rule were made in round 10.
“First, the bell sounded prematurely. Carlos Molina fell to the canvas either immediately before, or simultaneously with, the sounding of the bell meant to end the round. [Under the rule cited,] when Molina was knocked down, the bell should not have sounded; instead, the count should have continued until Molina rose from the canvas,” states Margules in his report.
“After Molina rose, the bell should have sounded to end the round. Because the bell sounded prematurely, one of Molina’s cornermen (who are trained to get into the ring as soon as possible after the bell rings) entered the ring.”
Margules writes that the second violation was that “the referee wrongfully gave Molina a standing eight count.”
“[The rule] does not direct the referee to give a standing eight count. Instead, the rule provides that the count should stop immediately when the contestant rises before the count of 10. If the rules had been followed, the bell would not have sounded when Molina was knocked down, the referee would have stopped counting when Molina rose, and the bell would have then sounded to end the round,” states Margules’ report.
“At this point, the cornerman would have properly entered the ring. The violations of the rules as described above caused massive confusion in the ring and resulted in the improper disqualification of Carlos Molina. Therefore, Molina and his cornerman did nothing improper, and Molina should not be penalized for violations of the rules by others.”
Hubble said that Schorle’s verdict is supported by lines 5 and 10 of the Association of Boxing Commissions (ABC) Unified Rules of Boxing. The ABC is a highly-respected record-keeping organization that binds all of America’s various boxing commissions.
“You go to rule 10, which says that a boxer who is knocked down can’t be saved by the bell in any round, and then rule 5, which is mandatory eight count is standard procedure after a knockdown. So basically combining those two rules, I we went over this at the pre-fight rules meeting,” said Hubble.
“I reminded them that if you’re knocked down at the bell, you’re not out of the round until the referee finishes his count. Both corners were advised at the rules meetings ‘don’t get into the ring.’ They were both fully aware of that, and I actually went over that in both dressing rooms before the fight.”
Margules has a different interpretation of the ABC’s Rule 10.
“Carlos Molina had to get to his feet before the Count of 10 before the round was officially over,” said Margules. “Once Carlos Molina reached his feet (at the count of 4), the round was over, the bell had already sounded, and the cornerman properly entered the ring.”
The appeal is the second over the course of as many months that Margules has had to file with the Texas commission in association with a fighter.
Acting as an attorney, Margules has also filed a complaint with the Texas commission regarding a fight that took place on Feb 18, in Corpus Christi, Texas, when light heavyweight challenger Gabriel Campillo appeared to have the edge, only to lose a split decision to IBF beltholder Tavoris Cloud on Showtime.
Margules sent a letter on Campillo’s behalf 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, but “the Texas commission has not yet ruled on my appeal on Campillo,” said Margules.
Photos by Tom Hogan, Hogan Photos, Golden Boy Promotions
Lem Satterfield can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org