With less than two weeks remaining until Floyd Mayweather vs. Manny Pacquiao, the Nevada Athletic Commission has announced the four men who will play a role in the outcome of the fight. Kenny Bayless has been named the referee, while Burt Clements, Dave Moretti and Glenn Feldman will be the judges.
Bayless has refereed fights for both Mayweather and Pacquiao in the last few years. He was in the ring for two of Mayweather’s last three fights, as well as Pacquiao’s bout with Timothy Bradley in April of last year.
It’s possible that the fight will end in a knockout and the judges won’t have a say in who wins the bout, but that isn’t likely. Despite his perfect record, the 38-year-old Mayweather has recorded only one knockout since he was 30 years old. Pacquiao’s last knockout came in 2009.
Bayless will be paid $25,000, and the judges will earn $20,000 each. Pacquiao promoter Bob Arum and Leonard Ellerbe of Mayweather Promotions both stated that they were pleased with the choices, though Top Rank matchmaker Bruce Trampler had objections to two of the officials that he wouldn't name publicly.
Below is a closer look at each official and their history behind the judges table.
Clements has been the judge in three of Mayweather’s fights, scoring all three bouts in the undefeated boxer’s favor. Most recently, he scored Mayweather’s first bout with Marcos Maidana, 117-111. The other two judges didn’t agree that Mayweather won as handily as Clements thought. While Moretti’s scorecard had the fight, 116-112, in favor of Mayweather, judge Michael Pernick saw it as a draw, giving Mayweather a majority decision.
In the other two Mayweather fights that Clements was made a judge, he also gave Mayweather his best score. In Mayweather’s 2009 unanimous decision over Juan Manuel Marquez, Clements scored the fight 120-107, while Moretti had it 119-108 and judge Bill Lerch scored the bout 118-109. When Mayweather’s previous fight against Ricky Hatton was stopped in the 10th round, Clements scored the fight 89-81, along with Moretti. Judge Paul Smith had it 88-82.
Judging just one Pacquiao fight, Clements did not award the bout to Pacquiao. His 113-113 scorecard was the deciding factor in the draw for Pacquiao-Marquez I. Clements scored the first round for Pacquiao, 10-7, after the boxer had knocked down Marquez three times. Had he scored the round 10-6, as the other two judges did, Pacquiao would’ve been victorious.
"I thought I won and I didn't think it was close,” Pacquiao said afterwards. “I thought I took his fight away from him.”
Moretti is one of the most experienced judges in boxing. He’s judged Mayweather’s last three fights, and seven of his last nine bouts. The judge has scored six Pacquiao fights, including four of his five highest-grossing pay-per-views. The only time Moretti has scored a fight against either boxer was in Pacquiao-Morales I, in which all three judges gave Morales the victory, 115-113.
The judge has been involved in his share of controversy, including one of Pacquiao’s fights. When Pacquiao was given a split decision win over Marquez in their third meeting, many fans and analysts believed that the Mexican star had been robbed in the majority decision. One judge scored it a draw and another gave PacMan the 116-112 win, Moretti scored it 115-113 for Pacquiao.
Moretti also had a hand in maybe the most controversial decision of all time. He scored the 1987 fight between Sugar Ray Leonard and Marvin Hagler in favor of Leonard. While many fans thought Hagler was the better boxer on that particular night, Moretti awarded the boxer who he believed was more aggressive.
“You’re supposed to judge on the most effective punches and obviously if the punches are the same then now you’ve got to look for the aggressiveness and stuff like that,” Moretti said, via Redefine Combat. “The most effective punches are what you’re looking at when you’re judging a fight.
“You can’t sit there and jab and jab and jab and then the (other) guy catches you with a solid punch and then he hits you with another solid punch. You’ve got to give it to the guy who scores the bigger punches. I just thought that in that Hagler-Leonard fight, Hagler gave up too many of the first few rounds.”
Feldman’s experiences scoring Mayweather or Pacquiao fights is almost nonexistent. He’s never sat at the judges table with Pacquiao in the ring, and the only Mayweather fight he ever judged was the boxer’s third-round knockout of Miguel Melo in 1998.
But some in Mayweather’s camp might not be too thrilled that Feldman will play a role in determining the biggest fight in recent memory. In October 2013, Feldman scored the fight between then-welterweight champion Timothy Bradley and Juan Manuel Marquez in favor of the challenger. Bradley was named the winner in a split decision, and trainer Floyd Mayweather Sr. voiced his displeasure over Feldman’s scorecard.
“I think all of these judges now is b-------,” Mayweather Sr. said in 2013.
“They did it when Bradley fought Pacquiao. They did it when my son fought Alvarez. Now, they did this s--- again with Marquez. One judge had him [winning]. That’s what I’m saying about all of these judges.”