Kenny Bayless As Mayweather Vs Pacquiao Referee Is Disappointing

Kenny Bayless, the ref Floyd Mayweather got for his Marcos Maidana rematch after Tony Weeks was too permissive with Maidana’s tactics the first time around, is going to be the ref for Mayweather’s upcoming bout with Manny Pacquiao. This is disappointing.

Whether it makes a difference or not? Unclear.

That’s because Pacquiao is no Maidana. Maidana can be rough, and at times he deserves penalizing. But Weeks was “letting them fight,” so to speak, when Mayweather faced Maidana. It’s a time-honored tradition to rough up slick boxers, and it should be allowed, within reason. Ricky Hatton still probably smarts about having more luck against Mayweather early than he did late, when Joe Cortez began cracking down on his own rugged approach. Bayless didn’t let Maidana get away with anything — he probably was aware of Mayweather’s extensive complaints about Weeks and Maidana — and that surely contributed to the second fight being closer.

Pacquiao is fairly angelic about the rules of the ring. You just don’t find him cheating very often. So maybe, on his end, Bayless won’t make a difference. Maybe that’s why his trainer, Freddie Roach, is happy with Bayless as the choice. But certainly, if he planned to be a little more devilish, that option is probably foreclosed.

What’s disappointing about Bayless getting the nod is that he was widely seen as favoring Mayweather in his last fight, and now he’s the guy reffing Mayweather’s next fight? I’m not saying the Nevada State Athletic Commission surprises with this choice — they’ve always let Mayweather have his run of the place — but it’s odd. If Bayless had demonstrated he was still the #1 ref in the business, which he was for some time, then it would be less odd, but he’s not the top ref anymore.

The second part of it being disappointing is that Bayless has shown no more interest in cracking down on Mayweather’s own rules-skirting — namely, the forearm/elbow to the head/throat thing he does — and this insures that he’ll get away with it some more.

It’s probably safe to say that if there’s a call that could go one way or the other, Mayweather will get the nod. That’s good news for Mayweather fans, bad news for anyone who wants a fairly contested Mayweather vs Pacquiao bout.

(As for the judges selected: There’s a little cause for concern there, too, with Burt Clements having judged Mayweather to have won the first Maidana fight by a wide margin.)

About Tim Starks

Tim is the founder of The Queensberry Rules and co-founder of The Transnational Boxing Rankings Board ( He lives in Washington, D.C. He has written for the Guardian, Economist, New Republic, Chicago Tribune and more.