The Nevada State Athletic Commission announced the officials for next Saturday’s junior middleweight championship between Floyd Mayweather Jr. and Saul Alvarez.
The referee will be respected veteran Kenny Bayless, a selection the boxing public responded to positively.
The three judges will be Dave Moretti, CJ Ross and Craig Metcalfe. Moretti and Ross both hail from Las Vegas while Metcalfe is the neutral judge from Alberta, Canada.
When asked about the appointed officials on Wednesday’s conference call, Mayweather seemed fine with the selection.
“Kenny Bayless is a great referee who’s going to let us fight,” said Mayweather. “He’s not for the bulls__t. He treats every fighter fair.”
“I’m comfortable with whatever judges,” said Mayweather. “My job is just to go out there and compete. They chose the right judges, the right referee.”
However, the selection of the three judges was met with a bit of criticism by the press.
Moretti has been judging fights since 1977 and is as respectable as they come. He has a decorated background and has been involved in close to 100 world title fights.
Metcalfe doesn’t have the experience of Moretti, having only judged fights since 2005. Metcalfe has only judged five men’s world title fights in that period, but doesn’t have a knock against him. The most questionable score he rendered was the December 2012 super middleweigh championship bout between Andre Ward and Carl Froch. Metcalfe scored it 115-113 for Ward, the rightful winner, but by a slimmer margin than most saw.
The third judge invokes the most controversy. Ross was part of last June’s controversial decision that was rendered in the Manny Pacquiao-Timothy Bradley fight, which Bradley won by split decision.
Ross scored the fight 115-113 for Bradley, which is the same score Duane Ford had. Ross has been judging fights since 1992 and has a bit of a spotty record, none more magnified than the Pacquiao-Bradley score.
Ross scored the November 2011 pay-per-view undercard fight between Juan Carlos Burgos and Luis Cruz a draw at 95-95. Burgos won a majority decision and was considered the easy winner by most experts.
A month before, Ross scored a clear victory for Toshiaki Nishioka over Rafael Marquez as only 115-113 for the traveling champion, who was defending his title.
Ross scored a January 2010 fight 97-93 in favor of Vanes Martirosyan over Kassim Ouma in a fight that could have easily gone to the latter. Much further back in time, her 114-114 score in the 2002 bout between Kevin Kelley and Humberto Soto was very questionable as Kelley was the clear winner of that bout.
RingTV.com reached out to NSAC executive director Keith Kizer after the announcement for a comment on the selection of the judges. This writer pointed out the controversial score CJ Ross rendered on the Pacquiao-Bradley fight in particular.
“Didn’t you score Bradley-Pacquiao 114-114?” shot Kizer back in an e-mail.
Kizer’s memory served him correct. This writer scored that fight 114-114. My tweet limit was reached defending my score that night. Even so, I felt I gave every possible round to Bradley that you could and there was no wiggle room to give Bradley another round.
I told Kizer my score doesn’t reflect I know what I’m doing.
“You know what you’re doing,” said his follow-up e-mail. “She’s a great judge, including that night.”
Kizer pointed out that for the Pacquiao-Bradley fight, Ross scored 12 out of the 12 rounds in the majority, which is quite interesting. That meant that in all 12 rounds she scored, one of the other two judges sided with her.
“Metcalfe has done some very big fights and has a great reputation,” continued Kizer’s e-mail. “It’s time.”
“Most important perhaps – Mayweather, Alvarez, and GBP all had no objections with any of these judges (or the others I had listed). You know them all well enough they would have raised objections if there were any to raise legitimately.”
Kizer made fair points and defended the NSAC’s decision well enough. Now fight fans just have to hope no controversy emerges if the fight reaches the cards.