By Keith Idec
Juan Manuel Marquez has every reason to be mistrustful of judges as his fourth fight against Manny Pacquiao approaches.
Marquez is 0-2-1 against Pacquiao, yet makes very valid arguments regarding winning at least two of those fights. Not that knocking judges before facing Pacquiao again would do him any good, but Marquez claims he is confident the three judges assigned to Pacquiao-Marquez 4 will score their fight fairly Saturday night at MGM Grand in Las Vegas (HBO Pay-Per-View; 9 p.m. ET).
“I am happy with the selection of the judges and I really don’t think about them,” Marquez said. “I am thinking about the fight, not the judges. I expect them to do a clean job and to clarify what his happening in the ring. I have no concern for the judges.”
The Nevada State Athletic Commission assigned Nevada’s Adalaide Byrd, England’s John Keane and New Jersey’s Steve Weisfeld to score the 12-round welterweight fight.
Harold Lederman, HBO’s unofficial ringside scorer the past 26 years, applauded NSAC executive director Keith Kizer for assigning judges from outside of Nevada to score a big fight in Las Vegas. Typically, the NSAC picks Nevada residents to judge high-profile fights in Las Vegas.
“Steve Weisfeld is one of the best, upcoming, young judges in the world,” Lederman said. “He’s totally deserving of this big fight. He’ll do a fabulous job — he always does. It’s about time they got a great judge for one of these fights. … And they’re bringing John Keane from England. He’ll do a great job, too. I don’t think you can do better than that.”
Weisfeld and Keane are widely regarded as quality judges.
Weisfeld most recently scored Austin Trout a 117-111 winner over Miguel Cotto on Saturday night at Madison Square Garden. Byrd, however, scored Trout a 119-109 victor against Cotto, whom she credited with winning just one round in a WBA 154-pound title fight that was much more competitive than that.
None of the three judges assigned to this fourth fight judged any of the first three bouts between the Philippines’ Pacquiao (54-4-2, 38 KOs) and Mexico’s Marquez (54-6-1, 39 KOs), who settled for a draw in their first fight 8½ years ago, a split-decision loss in their rematch in March 2008 and a majority decision loss in their third fight last Nov. 12.
Byrd, Keane and Weisfeld weren’t involved in Pacquiao’s dubious split-decision defeat to Timothy Bradley on June 9 at MGM Grand, either.
“I am very happy that none of the judges that worked the other three fights will be working this one,” Marquez said. “The only thing I am asking is for them to be fair … I am confident because I know it is a great selection of judges. They are very professional and I am very confident about them.”
Keith Idec covers boxing for The Record and Herald News, of Woodland Park, N.J., and BoxingScene.com. He can be reached on Twitter @Idecboxing.