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Bayless says Manny, Thurman left all in ring


PhilBoxing.com



Bayless (C) looks at Thurman who tries to recover from a knockdown.

LAS VEGAS. Referee Kenny Bayless said yesterday the super WBA welterweight title bout between Manny Pacquiao and Keith Thurman here last weekend ranks as “one of many top competitive fights that I’ve officiated in my career” as “they left everything in the ring when it was all over.”


Bayless, 68, worked his 11th fight involving Pacquiao who lost only twice in those assignments, once to Floyd Mayweather, Jr. and once to Juan Manuel Marquez. An All-American track star in the 400-meter relay at California State-Hayward during his varsity years, Bayless was a physical education and health teacher for 35 years before joining the Nevada State Athletic Commission initially as an inspector and later as a referee. He made his debut as a professional boxing referee in 1991. Bayless earned a kinesiology degree at Hayward and a Master’s degree in Education Administration at the University of Nevada at Las Vegas. He resume lists over 100 title fights as a referee.

“There was never a time when I was thinking about stopping the fight,” said Bayless, referring to Pacquiao’s win by split decision over the previously unbeaten Thurman. “The fight was highly competitive and I was concerned for both fighters at certain times during the fight. Both fighters gave the fight fans a fight to remember.”

Bayless said he prepared for the battle just like any other. He declined requests for interviews before the fight, explaining “I’m not in the position to talk or communicate with anyone until after the fight.”

Bayless anticipated that the fight would be a humdinger. “I believe that their styles make for a good fight,” he said. “That’s what the fans like to see.” The bout turned out to be as action-packed as expected with Pacquiao flooring Thurman in the first round then losing steam in the middle rounds only to find his second wind and break the American’s momentum with a crunching left hook to the body in the 10th stanza.

“I prepare myself for any fight by staying in shape and by working out from doing different types of activities on a weekly basis,” he said. “I practice a vegan diet most of the time. As for Lynora, she prepares a healthy diet for me and it has allowed me to be free from any diseases.” Bayless is a prostate cancer survivor who beat the illness without going through surgery, chemotherapy or any form of radiation. His wife Lynora, a wellness coach, supervised the healing process through nutrition and a healthy lifestyle. Bayless was diagnosed with cancer in 2003 and is now fully healed.

Asked about the practice in British boxing of a referee acting as the sole judge in a fight, Bayless said he would rather not score a bout. “As a referee, I’ve never judged a fight while refereeing,” he said. “Referees today have too many responsibilities in the ring to the fighters to also have to judge the contest. There is a lot of action in the ring that we have to stay focused on so the present situation (of assigning three judges to score the fight) is the best.”

Bayless said he once visited Manila for a boxing convention. “I’ve had the opportunity to referee in Thailand, Japan and China,” he said. “Once I attended a boxing convention in the Philippines and ended up refereeing a fight there. I’ve always enjoyed myself when traveling to Asian countries.”

Bayless is in close contact with his mentor Bruce McTavish, a New Zealand native who is a naturalized Filipino living in Angeles City with his Filipina wife Carmen Tayag.


Click here to view a list of other articles written by Joaquin Henson.


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