Even boxing men hardened to the cavalier ways of the WBA are sometimes surprised. In 1977 a Japanese promoter of a title fight winced when Dr. Elia Cordova, then the WBA president, informed him that to sanction the bout the WBA would need seven round-trip air fares to Tokyo, plus first-class hotel and dining accommodations. When the group arrived, it included Cordova and Rodrigo Sanchez, chairman of the ratings committee; their wives; Pepito Cordero. a Puerto Rican fight manager-promoter: and two additional WBA fight observers.
"The promoter complained to me," said one of the officials there to work the fight. "I asked him why he didn't just say no. He told me that if he complained he wouldn't get the sanction. Then the next day the promoter had to take the whole group to a Tokyo discount house where they picked out pearls, jewel boxes and silk kimonos. The promoter paid for everything in cash."
Then there was the manager in Colombia, the land of inexpensive emeralds, who was desperate to have one of his fighters rated but was short of cash. "No problem," he was told by a WBA official. "My daughter collects emerald earrings." The fighter was rated—and the daughter had a new set of earrings.
Shortly after Mandry Galindez was elected president of the WBA, he took a tour of the Orient. Although he has his weaknesses, he also has certain standards. While in Korea he encountered a parade of managers and promoters, all trying to put money in his hands. One manager asked. "Are you the man we now pay for the ratings?" Galindez was so angry that as he prepared to return home to Caracas he called ahead and ordered Cordova, then the executive council chairman, and Sanchez, still head of the ratings committee, to meet him at the Panama City airport, where he had a stopover. At the airport Galindez accused the pair of taking payoffs, which they denied. "But why did those people keep offering me money?" Galindez wanted to know. Not satisfied with Cordova's and Sanchez' answers, Galindez then called a summit meeting of top WBA executives, including Barney Shankman, then the organization's legal officer. Again Galindez accused Cordova and Sanchez of taking payoffs. Finally, Cordova demanded a full investigation, and just to ensure that it was carried out correctly, he told the group, it would be under his personal supervision. The findings of the investigation were subsequently presented to the executive council.
"The whole thing was absurd, nothing but a joke," said a man who was at that meeting. "Dr. Cordova came in with a pile of letters from Korea and Japan. They all said the same thing. They all said: 'Dr. Cordova is not a crook.' "