When Manny Pacquiao lost his welterweight title to Timothy Bradley Jr. by highly controversial decision in June 2012 there was worldwide outrage over the scoring by judges C.J. Ross and Duane Ford, both of whom voted 115-113 for Bradley -- and have since left judging.
On Tuesday, the Nevada State Athletic Commission appointed the officials for the Pacquiao-Bradley rematch, which will take place April 12 (HBO PPV) at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas, undoubtedly hoping to avoid another controversy.
The commission appointed veteran judges Glenn Trowbridge of Nevada, Michael Pernick of Florida and John Keane from Great Britain to score the fight. Kenny Bayless, regarded by many as the best referee in the world, was appointed as the third man in the ring.
Because of the controversy over the first fight, the commission vowed to have a more open process when it came to selecting officials for the fight.
"What the commission did was give us a whole list of officials that were being considered -- judges and referees -- and then we circulated it to both camps and we said knock out anybody that you feel may not be suitable," said Top Rank chairman Bob Arum, who promotes both fighters. "Then we had a phone call with (commission chairman Francisco Aguilar and commissioner Bill Brady last week) and said, 'Here are the officials that both sides have no objection to,' and out of that they selected three judges and the referee."
Arum said the list he was initially given included eight or nine judges and five referees.
"Neither camp can complain about the officials selected because these are judges approved by both camps and same with the referee," Arum said. "I really commend the commission for taking the steps that they did and with all the transparency in this. It's the fighters who are most affected by this decision and now neither fighter can say anything whatever happens."
The Nevada commission typically appoints at least two Nevada judges to major fights and also often brings in one out-of-state judge. For this fight, Arum said the commission went along with his request to bring in two judges from outside of Nevada.
"We requested that because there are so many good judges around the world why limit yourself to just Nevada," Arum said.
Trowbridge will be judging his sixth Pacquiao fight. The only one of the fights where there was debate about the scoring was for the third fight between Pacquiao and Juan Manuel Marquez in their 2011 welterweight title bout. Pacquiao won by majority decision and Trowbridge had Pacquiao (55-5-2, 38 KOs) winning 116-112 while another judge had him up 115-113 and the third judge had it 114-114.
Keane has been on the judging panel for one previous Pacquiao fight, his sixth-round knockout loss to Marquez in their fourth meeting in December 2012. He was in agreement with the two other judges that night -- they all had Pacquiao ahead 47-46 at the time of the knockout.
Pernick will be working his third Pacquiao fight. He judged Pacquiao's last fight in November in Macau, China, scoring his one-sided victory against Brandon Rios a shutout. Pernick was also a judge for Pacquiao's second-round knockout of Ricky Hatton in 2009.
None of the judges has ever worked a Bradley fight. Bayless will be working his seventh Pacquiao fight. Bradley (31-0, 12 KOs) is fighting in Nevada for only the fourth time and this will be the first time that Bayless referees one of his bouts.
Officials were also selected for the other fights on the HBO PPV card.
• Vic Drakulich will referee the regional lightweight title bout between Mexico's Raymundo Beltran (28-6-1, 17 KOs) and two-time junior lightweight titlist Roman Martinez of Puerto Rico. It's a particularly significant fight for Beltran, who is the No. 1 contender for the lightweight world title held by Terrence Crawford and could get a title shot with a victory.
The judges assigned to the bout are Burt Clements and Dave Moretti of Nevada and Craig Metcalfe of Canada.
• Tony Weeks was selected to referee the fight between junior welterweight titlist Khabib Allakhverdiev (19-0, 9 KOs) of Russia, who is making his second defense, and challenger Jessie Vargas (23-0, 9 KOs) of Las Vegas. The judges for the fight will be Robert Hoyle and Jerry Roth or Nevada and Glenn Feldman of Connecticut.
• Robert Byrd was appointed to referee the fight between interim junior lightweight titlist Bryan Vasquez (32-1, 17 KOs) of Costa Rica and Jose Felix (26-0-1, 12 KOs) of Mexico. The judges will be Dick Houck and Patricia Morse Jarman of Nevada and Levi Martinez of New Mexico.