When last in the ring with Manny Pacquiao, referee Kenny Bayless was standing over the flattened fighter seconds after a sensational right hand by Juan Manuel Marquez had left him lying face-first following a sixth-round knockout loss in December 2012.
"Pacquiao walked into that right hand…Pacquaio was lying motionless…When I saw his face on the canvas, and he was making no effort to try to get up, that’s when I just stopped it. I had seen enough," said Bayless, during an interview with RingTV.com the day after the fight. "I could just look at him and see that… Pacquiao’s eyes were kind of glassy, if I recall. Kind of glassy. But I could only see one eye, because his face was sideways on the canvas. Pacquiao really took a hard fall."
Bayless will be there yet again when Pacquiao returns to the MGM Grand in Las Vegas, site of that frightening setback against Marquez, this time for an April 12 rematch with Tim Bradley, whose disputed split-decision dethroned Pacquiao in June 2012 for the WBO welterweight belt he now wears.
Bayless worked the second matchup between Pacquiao and Marquez, who was dropped in the third round of that split-decision loss at junior lightweight in March 2008. Pacquiao is 2-1-1 against Marquez, having rebounded from that last defeat with November's unanimous decision over Brandon Rios.
"Safety is always a major concern," said Bayless, who will work his seventh Pacquiao fight. "I don't think that, on his side, there will be any problem. But then, you never know."
Bayless was assigned to work Bradley-Pacquiao II by the Nevada State Athletic Commission on Tuesday, as were judges Glenn Trowbridge of Nevada, Michael Pernick of Florida and John Keane of England. Bayless and the three judges will all be working a Bradley fight for the first time.
"I'm always thankful that the commission selected me for the fight, and I think that this fight will be more exciting than the first one. [Referee] Robert Byrd did their first fight, and he was basically there to administrate," said Bayless.
"Robert didn't have a lot to administrate because both fighters were very respectful of each other and I expect the same thing this time. The first fight was very clean on behalf of both fighters, and I'm expecting a clean fight out of both fighters this time."
Bradley was awarded the controversial decision over Pacquiao by scores of 115-113 on the cards of official judges C.J. Ross and Duane Ford, Jerry Roth had the same score for Pacquiao and an informal poll of 51 writers favored Pacquiao over Bradley, 48-3.
"They're fine," said Top Rank CEO Bob Arum, referring to the judges for Bradley-Pacquiao II. "We gave gave both camps a list of the judges, and the fighters knocked off some of the judges. These judges and the referee were among those acceptable to both sides from the approved list."
Trowbridge scored Marquez's majority decision loss to Pacquiao in the third bout, 116-112, for Pacquiao, and will be working a Pacquiao fight for the sixth time.
Keane had Pacquiao ahead by a point at the time of his stoppage loss to Marquez, and Pernick scored Pacquiao's unanimous decison over Rios a shutout, 120-108.