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Kirkland vs Molina: Spotlight On Texas After Another Miscarriage of Justice

Another questionable bit of officiating has the Texas boxing commission back on the hot seat.
Another questionable bit of officiating has the Texas boxing commission back on the hot seat.
Scott Christ is the managing editor of Bad Left Hook and has been covering boxing for SB Nation since 2006.

After his absurd and controversial disqualification loss last night in Houston to James Kirkland, Carlos Molina was asked by HBO's Max Kellerman why he seems to lose fights that either most thought he won, or, well, something like this, where the judges don't even get a chance to give him the sort end of the stick.

"I don't know if it's my record or what it is, but it seems to happen to me all the time," said Molina.

Molina, now 28, left his fight last night with a record of 19-5-2 (6 KO). Most losses have been debatable. Both draws were highly questionable, as most draws are. The fact that last night's ridiculous loss happened in Texas took some of the shock away. After all, we're talking about what may be the worst major boxing commission in all of the sport. Add in the fact that noted Texas judge Gale Van Hoy -- noted for all the wrong reasons -- had Kirkland up 86-85 at the time of stoppage, and you've got your icing on the cake to make that argument.

I don't know if it's corruption, incompetence, or what it is, but it seems to happen there all the time. And sooner than later, it has to be stopped.

Texas, it should be noted, should be a fabulous place for professional boxing. With major cities like Dallas, Houston, Fort Worth, and San Antonio, plus multiple smaller cities with good venues for fights like El Paso, Laredo, Corpus Christi, Hidalgo, and many more, there's no shortage of good locations.

[ Related: Danny Garcia Beats Erik Morales, Wins WBC Title ]

There's no state income tax in Texas, which makes it attractive for fighters and promoters the same way that Nevada has been for years. And the potential fan base in the state is huge. It's no stereotype or big secret to say that Mexican people have a deep love for boxing, and there's a sizable Mexican population in Texas.

It's a state that begs to be a great helping hand for American boxing. Its central location and year-round decent weather make it attractive as a travel spot for big fight fans, too. And it's true that Texas is landing more and more bigger fights in the last couple of years, with an influx of televised cards recently. But all that's doing is shining a brighter spotlight on what's wrong down there.

I've got love for the state of Texas. It produced Waylon Jennings and Terry Funk, two of my all-time favorite celebrity human beings. It currently hosts the best country music scene in the nation, with younger standouts like Jesse Dayton and Hayes Carll.

"You just can't live in Texas unless you've got a lot of soul," Waylon once sang in his great song, "Bob Wills Is Still the King."

But in boxing, you just can't fight in Texas unless you're favored. Ask Paulie Malignaggi. He'll be glad to give you his thoughts on the home cooking, the bias, and the questionable officiating that stretches all the way from the don of the whole outfit, Dicky Cole, on down to the people who should have kept Molina's cornerman from entering the ring last night.

Common sense was thrown out the window when referee Jon Schorle elected to disqualify Molina for that infraction. Yes, it's the rule, but to say there was "no choice" is absurd. Schorle spent most of the fight ignoring Molina's tactics, which included constant clinching and holding, some headbutting, and trapping Kirkland's right arm repeatedly. That he chose to suddenly become the paragon of virtue on something that clearly had zero impact on the fight whatsoever would be mind-boggling -- except it's Texas, so it really isn't all that surprising.

Most bizarre was Schorle interrupting his count to instruct the cornerman back out of the ring, then continuing the count, and allowing the fighter to "continue" -- apparently with no intention of having the fight continue anyway.

Leon Margules, Molina's promoter, asked the question that just about everyone is asking. From Doug Fischer at The RING:

"Why couldn’t the referee use some discretion and allow the bout to continue? Why couldn’t he make that decision? Why did he have to talk to the commissioners? At the end of the day, they cheated both fighters of a fight."

There should be a rematch, but early talk is that Kirkland's team -- not Kirkland and Ann Wolfe so much as "the team" -- doesn't want one, but that is just early talk. Molina once again deserved better, but so did Kirkland. With Molina seemingly reeling, Kirkland could well have come out with an excellent stoppage win in the final two rounds, showcasing his stamina and hunger, his ability to gut out a tough fight against a tough opponent and come out on top.

Kirkland didn't get the chance to seal a good rally for the win. Molina didn't get the chance to survive or come back hard in the 11th and 12th rounds. Everyone in boxing, though, got yet another reason to consider avoiding Texas like the plague.

It feels like eventually, someone is going to have to do something. You just can't keep screwing the pooch on national TV, in high-profile fights, without someone finally stepping in and wondering what in the hell is going on here. Maybe in the end, the Texas commission will get what it has deserved for some time, which is something many fighters under its "watchful" eye haven't received.

As far as I'm concerned, "the end" can't come soon enough for the Texas commission as currently constructed.

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