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Mayweather vs Pacquiao referee: Does Floyd really have Bayless in his back pocket?

Lee Cleveland Updated
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The esteemed Kenny Bayless will the the third man in the ring when Manny Pacquiao and Floyd Mayweather square off May 2.

Bayless, of course, was criticized by some for his actions in Floyd's rematch with Marcos Maidana in September. As a result, Golden Boy Promotions CEO Oscar De La Hoya told Yahoo Sports earlier this week:

"I think it [the Bayless selection] favors Mayweather, absolutely. There is no secret about that. That’s one point for Mayweather right there.”

“if you notice every fight Mayweather has had with Kenny Bayless as referee, the ref should break them up if both hands are tied up and they are not throwing punches.

"When they got in close Bayless would break them up. One hand would be free from the clinch but he still broke them up . Its an advantage for Mayweather.”

Is Oscar saying Floyd has referee in his 'back pocket' as some insinuate?

Answer: Of course not. Well, hopefully not.

Bayless hasn't gotten this far in his career by playing favorites.

If he had favorite fighters or biases, those imperfections would have reared their ugly heads a long time ago. Moreover, no quality official wants to be the topic of discussion after a big fight because heavily scrutinized referees win fewer big assignments going forward.

It won't be easy being the Mayweather vs Pacquiao referee so don't envy Bayless one bit. He has a tough job and every decision he makes - or doesn't make - will be examined closely by the public;  And rest-assured, he's well aware of that.

In boxing, as in most sports, a referee has a lot of discretion and fouls, especially those of the less serious variety, are subjective. Like powerful decision-makers in other roles, boxing referees have varying thresholds for certain actions.

A referee's discretion is similar to that of a policeman's. Some officers will issue drivers a ticket for exceeding the speed limit by only 7 mph while others, in the same situation, won't ticket motorists unless they are going in excess 15 mph over.

Another example is the courts system. Not only do those judges interpret the same laws differently, knowledgeable magistrates on both sides can legitimately support their respective claims despite their difference in opinion. 

Boxing is no different.

If De La Hoya's account of Bayless is accurate, the latter's style of officiating is not conducive to grappling and mauling on the inside. Conversely, Tony Weeks, who was the referee for Mayweather vs Maidana I, was criticized for allowing a rough and raw Maidana to get too physical on the inside.

Marcos, who cut Mayweather in Round 4 with an unintentional headbutt, drew warnings throughout the fight for pushing and unleashing shots that drifted 'south of the border' but Referee Weeks failed to deduct a point.

So who is right, Bayless or Weeks?

Bottom line: When officiating, rules are sometimes not nearly as important as one's interpretation of them.

So while Bayless' style of officiating may or may not be conducive to Floyd's ring style, the former is not biased in any way, shape or form and will be 100 percent fair on fight night. 

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