The much-maligned Texas referee Laurence Cole more often than not is everybody’s dart board. Well known writers (who have never been in a ring) seemingly love to crucify him citing everything from conflicts of interest to incompetence in the ring. They cite the bad stoppage in the Ward-Leija fight in 2002 and the issues arising from the Jimrex Jaca –Juan Manuel Marquez bout in 2006 as examples.
Probably they are justified in their criticisms, but in 2010, Cole made somewhat of a comeback culminating in a rock solid effort in the high-profile Pacquiao-Margarito fight in which, being savvy to the Mexican warrior culture, he gave Margarito two chances for a dignified exit by holding his fingers up. He also was virtually invisible throughout the fight. What I particularly liked was that he correctly sensed Pacquiao was beginning to carry Margarito late in the fight and allowed Tony to finish.
In 2009, Al “The Quiet Storm” Seeger stopped Benjamin “El Michoacano” Flores in the 8th round in a regional title bout in Dallas. Cole wisely sensed something was wrong with Flores and stopped the fight to loud jeers and raucous catcalls. Most thought Cole had intervened prematurely, given Flores had not been decked. After the "bad" stoppage, Cole again astutely noticed that something was terribly wrong and held Benjamin Flores up until a stool was gathered. Flores later lapsed into unconsciousness. Sadly, he passed away 5 days later.
Now Cole won’t win any awards, nor am I necessarily touting him, but he does deserve his due. There needs to be at least some balance, however small, to the over-the-top criticism he normally gets.
How do you feel about this?