Kenny Bayless, regarded by many as the finest boxing referee in the world, was appointed Tuesday to serve as the third man in the ring for the megafight between welterweight champions Floyd Mayweather and Manny Pacquiao, who will meet on May 2 for pound-for-pound supremacy at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas.
Bayless was one of the six licensed referees considered by the Nevada State Athletic Commission for the appointment. He was appointed by a 5-0 vote of the commission at its monthly meeting in Las Vegas.
The judges, who will be under intense scrutiny as the eyes of the sports world will be on their scorecards should the fight go all 12 rounds, were also unanimously approved: Burt Clements and Dave Moretti, both of Las Vegas, and Glenn Feldman of Connecticut.
All three are vastly experienced championship judges. Each man will earn $20,000 for his night of work on a fight that many expect will generate a record of more than $400 million.
"We looked at a litany of judges from around the world and we narrowed it down," Bob Bennett, the NSAC executive director, told the commission when offering his recommendations.
Bayless, 64, of Las Vegas, is used to being under an intense spotlight. He has refereed many major fights, including the two biggest-selling pay-per-view bouts in history, both of which were Mayweather fights -- against Oscar De La Hoya in 2007 and Canelo Alvarez in 2013. Mayweather-Pacquiao is expected to break the record once again.
Bayless, who will be paid $25,000 for the night's work, has officiated five Mayweather bouts, the other ones being his rematch against Marcos Maidana last September, Shane Mosley in 2010 and his 1996 professional debut against Roberto Apodaca.
Bayless has also refereed seven Pacquiao fights: Timothy Bradley II (2014), Juan Manuel Marquez IV (2012) and II (2008), Mosley (2011), Miguel Cotto (2009), Ricky Hatton (2009) and Erik Morales II (2006).
Bennett consulted with both fighters' camps before making his recommendations public at Tuesday's meeting. He had a list of about a dozen potential judges before whittling it down to the three he recommended.
When it came time for the commission to vote on the recommendations, Mayweather Promotions CEO Leonard Ellerbe, on the phone, said he had no problem with any of those up for the job.
Top Rank's Bruce Trampler, who was at the meeting, voiced reservations about two judges on the lengthy initial list but he was OK with those who were ultimately selected. He declined to go into who he was against on the original list or why before adding, "We have submitted our concerns and feelings [to Bennett] and are ready to go forward. ... We had our fair say."
Moretti, one of boxing's most experienced judges, has been on the panel for five Pacquiao fights: his majority decision win against Marquez in their third fight in 2011, a 2012 lopsided decision against Mosley, a 12th-round knockout of Cotto in 2009 and the first two fights he had with Morales, a unanimous decision loss in 2005 and 10th-round knockout in the 2006 rematch.
Moretti has worked eight Mayweather fights and will be judging his fourth in a row. He judged both of Mayweather's decision wins against Maidana in 2014 and his decision win over Alvarez in 2013. In addition, he was ringside for Mayweather's fights with Cotto (2012), Mosley (2010), Marquez (2009), Hatton (2007), Zab Judah (2006) and Arturo Gatti (2005).
Clements has worked only one previous Pacquiao fight, his disputed split draw in his first fight with Marquez in 2004. Clements had the bout 113-113 while the other two judges each had scores of 115-110 for each man.
Clements has judged three Mayweather bouts: his first fight with Maidana in 2014, a majority decision for which he had the widest score, 117-111 for Mayweather; his wipeout decision versus Marquez in 2009; and his 10th-round knockout of Hatton in 2007.
Feldman has never judged a Pacquiao bout. He did one Mayweather fight, a 1998 third-round knockout of Miguel Melo in Mashantucket, Connecticut, four fights before Mayweather won his first world title.
But Feldman has been judging significant fights for years, including two in just the past two weeks. He had junior welterweight Lucas Matthysse beating Ruslan Provodnikov 115-113 in their hellacious battle this past Saturday night in a fight that Matthysse won by majority decision -- 115-113 (twice) and 114-114.
The week before, Feldman turned in a 113-113 scorecard in the middleweight draw between titleholder Andy Lee and former titleholder Peter Quillin. One other judge had it 113-112 for Lee and the other had the same score for Quillin.
In addition to appointing the officials for the bout, the commission unanimously approved Mayweather for a boxing license, which was a formality. Because he is over age 35, boxers must go before the commission for a license if they don't already have one.
Although Mayweather, attending over the phone, was late, he eventually showed and was briefly questioned by the commission about his training before commissioner Pat Lundvall brought up his 2012 conviction for domestic violence that sent him to jail for two months. She inquired whether all of his obligations to the sentence had been completed.
Mayweather, as well as Ellerbe, told the commission that they were, and he was licensed unanimously.
Officials were also appointed for the other world title bout on the card, featherweight titlist Vasyl Lomachenko's defense against Gamalier Rodriguez. The referee will be Robert Byrd. The judges appointed were Jerry Roth and Patricia Morse Jarman, both of Las Vegas, and John McKaie of New York.