If you’re surprised that the Texas Department of Licensing and Regulations dropped the ball in the Julio Cesar Chavez Jr.-Marco Antonio Rubio drug testing controversy on February 4th, then you really haven’t been paying attention to the fabulously corrupt/inept world of big-time Texas boxing.
To re-cap, of the 18 fighters on the February 4th card at the Alamodome in San Antonio, only two were made to give samples for post-fight urine tests–and those samples had to be destroyed because no provisions were made by the state commission to actually test them.
None of the four fighters on the HBO broadcast were tested, including a Julio Cesar Chavez Jr. who had been suspended for testing positive for Furosemide, a diuretic/masking agent, in a 2009 bout against Troy Rowland.
81-year-old Executive Director of the Texas commission, Dicky Cole, has become the bloated, American equivalent to Mexico’s WBC kingpin, Jose Sulaiman, in terms of dirty, rotten douche-baggery served with a side order of careless incompetence. The difference being, however, that while Sulaiman presides over a sanctioning body with limited reach and scope, Cole is, ostensibly, in charge of the health and safety of every fighter who competes under his jurisdiction.
For those unfamiliar with Bossman Cole, he’s the one who insisted back in 2010, when he was trying to lure Manny Pacquiao vs. Antonio Margarito to his state, that Antonio Margarito might have been wearing doctored knuckle pads “only to protect his hands.”
An executive director pushing long and hard to lure a disgraced, unlicensed boxer to fight in his commission is pretty bad, but such things as decorum and integrity never concerned Big Dickie all that much.
Cole is the guy who arranged for his son’s firm to be the official insurance provider to promoters who seek to do business in Texas and then, on top of that, appoints that same son, Laurence, as referee to many of those high-profile fights despite being widely recognized as one of the sport’s least competent referees by media and fans.
The bad calls and questionable dealings of Laurence Cole require their own Rant, but a simple Google search of Laurence Cole will reveal what this insurance salesman-turned-official has been up to over his 22-year career as a cringe-worthy official working under Daddy’s protective bear hug. A listen to this podcast will also give you a good idea of why fans roll their eyes when they hear Cole has been appointed as the third man in a high-profile fight.
In Texas, though, if the refs don’t get you, the judges probably will. That is, if you don’t happen to be the lead promoter’s fighter or a Texas home-grown star.
Gale Van Hoy, who has earned a reputation as an ultimate hometown judge, turned in the ridiculous 118-110 score favoring Juan Diaz over Paile Malignaggi in 2009 and has been reaping the benefits ever since. Since that stunningly bad call, Van Hoy has become a WBC darling, officiating seven consecutive WBC-sanctioned bouts as well as three of the fights on the Chavez Jr.-Rubio undercard at the Alamodome.
Van Hoy, when questioned about his obscene score back in 2009, told Mitch Abramson of The Daily News that bossman, Dickie Cole, “was not unhappy at all” with his performance. Sadly, this is completely believable.
Cole has never given any indication that he really cares about anything other than bringing big fights into his state and raking in the dough as a big-time commission willing to be exceedingly “promoter friendly.”
Edwin Valero, after being diagnosed with bleeding on the brain and declared unlicensable by every other major commission in the country, found a home in Texas. Lanardo Tyner, who failed an EEG (electroencephalography) examination last November suddenly experienced an amazing brain recovery when re-tested by the right doctors under the auspices of the Texas Commission.
And speaking of doctors, how about the wonderful story of “Dr. Ray?” For those unfamiliar, Ray Ybarra was a ringside physician appointed by the Texas State Commission. He also performed physical examinations for several fighters who passed through the state of Texas and needed medical clearance. Unfortunately, Ybarra was NOT a doctor…Ooooops.
After realizing that one of their approved physicians was a fraud, the Texas commission “forgot” to inform other state commissions of this fact, allowing more than a dozen fighters to freely fight in other states with a bogus medical clearance.
Texas, as bad as it is, isn’t even the worst among a horrid collection of inept and/or corrupt state commissions. Wyoming, for example, at one point had HIV-positive Tommy Morrison as its heavyweight state champ. But Texas has become a major player in the world of professional boxing and is attracting more major fights, quite possibly because they are so lapse in their willingness to actually enforce certain regulations.
Don’t think that this convenient ineptitude and state-sponsored chaos has escaped the attention of promoters from all over the country. For management with fighters that may be skirting some dark areas of conduct, Texas is like an oasis in the middle of the Chihuahuan Desert. With a boxing-hungry populace and a commission too busy lining its pockets to actually enforce any of those silly little safety regulations, the Lone Star State is a paradise for someone looking to take a few shortcuts or get some heat off his back. This is not to say that every fighter who chooses to compete in Texas has something to hide, just that if a fighter did have something to hide, Texas would offer up the ideal commission.
Expect more and more fights to be headed to Texas in the near future. The added Texas presence should prove to be grotesquely interesting and offer up plenty of Rant material in the coming months. It should be a laugh-riot for all those who find boxing corruption and incompetence amusing…unless someone dies or gets seriously hurt, of course.
In the meantime, every faker, fraud, drug cheat, brain-battered fighter and their carpetbagging management will find themselves headed to the protection offered by Bossman Cole’s beefy embrace.
You can email Paul at firstname.lastname@example.org or catch him as he infuriates boxing nerds and self-proclaimed experts across the Universo Pugilistico. Paul is a full member of the Burger King Kids’ Club, a born iconoclast, and an ordained minister in the Universal Life Church.