The Referee For The
IKF Sanctioned Kickboxing Event
Referee is in for the Long Count
Schorle's stock rises with each PRO BOXING match that he oversees.
S. Johnson -- Neighbors Sports Writer, Sacramento BEE, Published Thursday, Dec.
His job is to be invisible yet omnipresent all at once. The
role of a boxing referee is an oxymoron. The official must always be ready to
step in -- but he also must know when to stay away.
knows that if he has done his job correctly, then he will be as anonymous as
the guy selling popcorn or taking tickets.
"I'm looking for fouls,
and I want to keep the fight in control," said Schorle, an El
Dorado Hills resident. "My goal as a referee is to be invisible, but
if they are doing things they shouldn't do, I have to act within the guidelines
the commission gives us."
Even if the average fight fan likely
wouldn't recognize Schorle, the boxing and kickboxing worlds do. Years
of working lower-tier fights paid off recently when Schorle, a
professional official licensed by the California Athletic Commission since 1990,
refereed the Floyd Mayweather-Jesus Chavez Junior Lightweight
championship bout on Nov. 11 in San Francisco.
Televised nationally on HBO,
the bout easily was the biggest for Schorle in his brief officiating
Although Schorle has worked 20 title fights as either a
referee or a judge, none have been with a fighter the caliber of Mayweather,
who is widely acknowledged as one of the top three boxers in the world.
was really nervous for that fight," Schorle said. "Not
because of who Mayweather is, but because he loves to tie up his opponent. He
loves to run. He likes to push his fighter off. He does all these things I
don't like to see as a fan but, more importantly, as a referee, I won't
To prevent Mayweather from trying to gain an edge, Schorle,
who had worked one of the World Boxing Council champion's first fights as a
professional, informed Mayweather that no funny business would be allowed.
told him if I see something I don't like, I'm taking a point away,"
Schorle said. "And he was on his best behavior." Mayweather
won by technical knockout when Chavez failed to answer the bell for the
Because Schorle does not allow himself to pushed around
by the fighters in the ring -- no matter who they are -- he has established
himself as one of the premier referees in boxing and kickboxing in Northern
"He's a great Boxing & Kickboxing referee,"
said Steve Fossum, the president of the
International Kickboxing Federation."He has
tremendous ring leadership. In the state of California, in my opinion, there
are three really great referees in the kickboxing field. Jon is one of
The 40-year-old Schorle was the first person to
International Kickboxing Federation.
fights and still works the sport despite getting more high-profile -- and
better paying -- boxing gigs. Last Saturday, he traveled to San Jose to judge a
kickboxing card and, on Wednesday , he was in Oroville to work a boxing card
that included former heavyweight contender
David Tua and former bantamweight champion Wayne McCullough.
a single father who lives with his 5-year-old daughter Andrea, prepares
for bouts through a training regimen that he sticks to in the same meticulous
manner fighters follow. Part of his program to get ready for a card is to watch
tapes of fights so he can visualize what he would do in each scenario. He
watches tapes of the fighters so he can get a feel for their style and the
tactics they use in the ring. Schorle also calls area gyms to see if he
can get in the ring with any sparring pugilists.
"I get in the
ring to work on positioning and watching for head butts and trying to find my
timing with them," he said. One of the last things Schorle does
in training is to refresh himself on the regulations by reading the rule book
before each kickboxing and boxing bout he referees. When he gets in the ring,
Schorle adopts a similar style as his mentor,
Richard Steele. While Steele, a member of the World Boxing Hall
of Fame who refereed 141 world title fights over 30 years, constantly hopped as
he circled the pugilists, Schorle paces. His deliberate pacing first
goes clockwise, then counterclockwise, then clockwise again, always a few feet
from the boxers. Schorle moves all about the fighters looking for
different views and ways of seeing what is happening, but when the action
intensifies, or the combatants exchange blows in close quarters, Schorle
Whether he is stepping in to break a clinch or counting
during a knockdown, Schorle never loses intensity or the look of
concentration on his face. And he never seems to panic or get too involved.
I teach a referee, I make sure the referee understands the fans aren't paying
to see him," Steele said. "They are paying to see the
two young men fighting. I make sure they understand when to get in, but also
when to stay out of the way."
Schorle, who worked for 13 years as a diesel mechanic
before taking a job as a prison guard with the California Department of
Corrections, will be forever grateful to Steele for helping him get
licensed after six years of refereeing amateur fights. "I wasn't
improving," Schorle said. "I noticed while watching
Richard Steele on TV that he did things differently than I did, so I
called him and we worked together twice a day for a week. I learned more in one
week with him than I did in six years in the amateurs."
57-year-old Steele, who retired from officiating in January and is now
working as a promoter, remembers thinking of Schorle as someone who
belonged in the ring. "I looked at him and he had a lot of talent and
natural ability," Steele said. "I put him in the ring
with guys sparring to see how he moved and how comfortable he was. I saw that
he was a natural, and I could definitely see that he could make the crossover
from amateur to professional." Although Steele and legendary
referee Marty Denkin vouched for him, Schorle had a difficult
time getting his first professional assignment. Schorle finally got the
chance to work when Steele called the California Athletic Commission and
persuaded officials of the organization that oversees boxing in the state to
give his protégé a shot. Schorle worked a fight for free,
and, according to Steele, was given rave reviews. He has had no trouble
getting work since.
Schorle said he referees 15 to 20 bouts a year,
many of which average between $300 to $400 each. He said his highest payday was
$3,250 for the Mayweather-Chavez fight. "This was an
exceptionally good year (2001) for me," Schorle said. "I
did six world title fights." Now that he has retired from the
Department of Corrections because of back problems, Schorle has plenty
of time to take any assignment given to him. Denkin, a Hall of Fame
referee who has officiated 155 world title fights during the past 31 years,
believes Schorle has excelled because he is willing to listen. "He
was always there and wanted to listen. And when somebody wants to listen, that
is a blessing," Denkin said. "People that believe they
are there and don't ask (questions) never learn. Even to this day, I ask my
peers if there was anything I could have done better. He keeps trying to excel,
and I'm hoping he believes there is no top. As long as you keep looking, you can
One thing Schorle will continue to do, no matter
what level he achieves in boxing, is to phone Steele in search of a
critique. "Every time I do a fight on TV, I take my cell phone and call
him immediately after I step out of the ring to get a report card,"
Schorle said. And, so far, Steele gives high marks to Schorle's
work. "He's going to be one of the top officials in a few years,"
"When I see this guy referee, I see myself. I just see so much of
myself and, to me, that's a blessing."
Schorle with Dana White
Weeks, Jon Schorle, Steve Mazzagatti and Mario Yamasaki. WEC Sacramento
Schorle with Lucia Ryker, San Jose, Strikeforce
Schorle with a WBC VIP Tito Gonzàlez Rodrìguez Mexico City.
Disneyland is the Happiest Place on Earth, then the Playboy Mansion for Jon
Schorle is the second happiest place on earth!
Schorle with IKF Champion Mike "MachineGun" Marinoble
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