MANILA, Philippines – Respected boxing referee Kenny Bayless is “honored” to be chosen as the third man in the ring when rivals Manny “Pacman” Pacquiao and Juan Manuel Marquez battle for the fourth time on December 8 at the MGM Grand.
“I’m always honored to get an assignment like this,” Bayless said in an interview with Chris Robinson of the Examiner last week. “I’m always thankful that I was chosen.”
It was revealed last week that Bayless will get the officiate the fourth Pacquiao-Marquez fight, while Adelaide Byrd, Steve Weisfield and John Keane will be the judges.
“After 36 rounds of seeing these guys tangle, I think it’s going to just add to what they've done in the past,” Bayless said of the fourth encounter between the rivals. “They’ve fought three great fights, and I see the fourth fight being pretty similar to the last three.”
Pacquiao and Marquez battled to a draw when they first fought in 2004, before Pacquiao won the rematches in 2008 and 2011. All three fights were controversial, however, with Marquez adamant that he won all bouts.
It will be Bayless’ second time to referee a Pacquiao-Marquez bout: he was also the third man in the ring during their 2008 rematch, which Pacquiao won via split decision.
“It was an electrifying night,” Bayless said of the second Pacquiao-Marquez fight. “The fight was a very close fight, just like they’ve all been.”
The veteran referee said he knew Marquez would get up after getting knocked down by Pacquiao in the third round.
“In the first fight, he went down three times in the first round. I just knew that he was going to get up and Marquez has a lot of heart and he’s a warrior,” Bayless said. “I knew it was going to take more than one knockdown, at least.”
He is expecting a similarly electrifying fight on December 8.
“This is such a good match-up, because both of them are warriors. They both come to fight,” Bayless said.