Friday, February 03, 2023  |



Referee Laurence Cole discusses Orlando Salido-Vasyl Lomachenko

Orlando Salido vs Lomachenko farina

Orlando Salido (L) vs. Vasyl Lomachenko. Photo by Chris Farina/Top Rank.


By Thursday, referee Laurence Cole still had not watched his performance in last Saturday's featherweight bout between Orlando Salido and Vasyl Lomachenko, which Salido won by split decision.

Cole said that he was advised against it.

"I was going to watch it, and I was told by a friend of mine, not to," said Cole, admitting to that his effort, "might not have been my 'A-game.'"

"My friend said, 'You don't need to watch it now, you need to watch it later, so that you can learn from it. But if you watch it now, you're going to be in a very defensive position.' The reason being is that it appears that it was a broadcast that was pro-Lomachenko." The fight was shown on HBO, on the undercard of Julio Cesar Chavez Jr.'s rematch with Bryan Vera.

Cole came under fire for appearing to allow Salido to land an inordinate amount of low blows. The final scores were 116-112 and 115-113 on the cards of Jack Reiss and Oren Shellenberger, with Levi Martinez scoring it for Lomachenko, 115-113.

Among Cole's chief critics was Top Rank CEO Bob Arum, who handles Lomachenko and promoted the event at The Alamodome in San Antonio.

"He allowed Salido to throw so many low blows like I've never seen before, and he didn't warn him at all. I think that he should have warned Salido," said Arum.

"Then, if Salido persisted, then he should have taken points away. But obviously. I think that Salido is a pro, and, that if he had been warned a couple of times with the threat of taking points away, then I believe that he would have stopped throwing low blows."

Salido (41-12-2, 28 knockouts) failed to make the 126-pound weigh-in limit, losing his WBO belt at the scales as well as $15,000 of his purse to Lomachenko. As a result, the title has become vacant, even as Lomachenko was eligible to win it if he had been victorious.

During an interview with, Cole contended that he is an easy target as the son of Dickie Cole, the longtime program manager for The Texas Combative Sports Program, which operates under the auspices of The Texas Department of Licensing and Regulation.

Cole addressed several issues about the fight below:


Laurence Cole on why he did not penalize Salido:

"They started saying that I didn't take any points away from Salido for low blows. Well, I warned him a couple of times just like I did Lomachenko for holding, and, in hindsight, yeah, I probably should have done it for both at one point in time.

"But if I would have taken a point away from Lomachenko for holding, then I would have had to take another point away from Salido in the 11th round when he was trying to surive when he was clinching and holding as well."

"The low blows that I did see were being caused by the fouls, or the beginning of the fouls, or the positioning of Lomachenko. For instance, if they're going in, and Lomachenko grabs or intends to grab, and pulls Salido off balance, some punches were landing low.

"Well, you can't get on him for that, because the intention of the punch was to land it in a scoring zone. But because something else happened, the punch landed outside of the scoring zone. "


On the warnings:

"I warned Salido twice for low blows, and I warned Lomachenko twice for holding. Lomachenko never looked at me or complained about the low blows."


On his role in the fight:

"Should you be overly assertive and have that really aggressive cop mentality, and for everything that happens you jump on it and start taking points away instantly, or do you allow the fight to kind of progess on its own?

"It doesn't seem like you can please the media in any way you do the fight, because they're focused on one fighter, and not on both. The fans are the same way. They're focused on one fighter, and not both."

On his contention that he is an easy target due to his father, Dickie:

"They always come back to the fact that I'm Dickie Cole's son. But when you look at my body of work, it is because Dickie Cole got me into the game, and got me a lot of fights earlier. But not for this one. I was assigned by the WBO.

"If Dickie Cole had everyone in his pocket, don't you think that I would work every main event? That's an easy thing for people to say when I don't work a perfect fight. They don't want to blame the athlete. They always want to blame the officials."


On learning from the experience:

"I don't know any ring officials who are not trying to get better. We all have experiences where we can do things differently, and we can learn from them. We're trying to learn from every experience to make ourselves better.