Meet Gale Van Hoy– Boxing judge, former labor leader, and esteemed citizen of Dickinson, Texas.
Mr. Van Hoy leads a charmed life. While I don’t know the man personally, I can make reasonable assumptions on his character based on what I’ve seen of his boxing work. As such, I feel I can safely assume that the semi-retired union rep must wander through life blissfully ignorant and gloriously blessed.
Imagine if you will, the aged boxing judge with the failing vision mistakenly adding rat poison to his 7-11 coffee instead of sugar, only to stumble and spill it all before drinking. As he bends over to wipe off his shoes, he finds a discarded lottery scratch-off that brings him a $5,000 prize.
Or picture Van Hoy ignoring all road signs, falling off a mountain road, and rolling downhill only to hit the bottom miraculously unscathed and face to face with a bag of precious jewels.
This is the charmed life of boxing’s very own Mister Magoo, a universally recognized horrid judge who somehow, someway still finds himself with plenty of judging gigs.
To some of us, this looks very fishy, indeed.
But some media members and boxing “insiders” will tell you that corruption in boxing is vastly overstated. So, we can only deduce that Mr. Van Hoy’s perpetual employment is due to blessed good luck and a little angel residing on his osteoporosis-riddled shoulder. After all, they’re the “experts.” They see things that the rest of us, with the untrained eyes, must be missing.
Whatever you think about Van Hoy’s work, though, you can’t knock his loyalty. As a matter of fact, Van Hoy is so loyal that, since 2007, he has never ruled against the house fighter in a major bout. Of the last twelve major fights that have gone the distance under his watch, he has given nine decisions to the house fighter/money fighter and ruled three draws. So, if you’re an outsider without the right connections, Van Hoy isn’t voting for you, no matter what you do– or so it appears. In Texas, they apparently don’t take kindly to strangers.
On March 24, in Houston, we saw Van Hoy’s loyalty at work as he had Golden Boy fighter and fellow Texan, James Kirkland, one point ahead at the time of Kirkland’s DQ win over outsider, Carlos Molina. Forget that the other judges had the bout scored 88-83 and 87-84 for Molina. Van Hoy was in the zone that night and, if referee Jon Schorle had not disqualified Molina on a technicality, the gloriously blessed judge would’ve proudly handed in a pro-Kirkland card.
Van Hoy’s Texas hospitality was best seen in the now infamous first Juan Diaz-Paulie Malignaggi fight at Houston’s Toyota Center in 2009. In that contest, the blessed boxing judge saw fit to give Diaz a one-sided decision in a bout where most had felt Malignaggi did enough to take a close call. Sure, judges Raul Caiz Sr. and David Sutherland also ruled for Diaz, but they issued scores of 115-113 and 116-112, respectively. Only Van Hoy went full out and truly committed to upholding the Texas commission’s unofficial motto of “You pay, we play” with a 118-110 score.
The down-home, good ol’ boy loyalty of Van Hoy didn’t escape the attention of the WBC, an organization always looking to associate itself with like-minded creeps, crooks, and thugs. Following the unfortunate mugging that was Diaz-Malignaggi I, the vainglorious sanctioning body saw fit to deliver Van Hoy a paid trip to Germany for a judging gig three months later. They would also give the much-maligned official the privilege of scoring seven straight WBC-sanctioned title fights.
Now, three years after the horrid Diaz-Malignaggi score and the nearly-as-awful Rocky Juarez-Chris John draw, also in 2009, Van Hoy is once again a member in good standing of the Texas community of criminally inept officials.
You see, Texas is a friendly, blessed place where grudges are forgiven and ineptitude is not held against you– just as long as you remember who pays the bills.
In life, it’s said that you can’t keep a good man down. In boxing, however, the exact opposite is true. Willful ignorance and deceit will always be considered a selling point for those looking for gainful employment.
I can’t tell you what’s in the heart and soul of Gale Van Hoy, but I can tell you that he’s a horrible judge that has, for some reason, found himself to be in greater demand than ever. Make of that what you will.
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