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Thread: The Marksman Q n A Special: Kenny Bayless

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    The Marksman Q n A Special: Kenny Bayless


    Even though he is one of the more respected referees in the game of boxing, Kenny Bayless is the first to admit that he has made some mistakes in the ring.
    Bayless attends at least six referee seminars a year and loves to educate boxing fans about the sweet science.
    But do not expect Bayless to apologize for his performance on Saturday night during the rematch between Floyd Mayweather and Marcos Maidana.
    Bayless gives himself an ďA plusĒ for that effort, he informed me during a recent chat. It was, I think we can agree, one of the more difficult fights to officiate for any referee in recent memory.
    In our discussion, Bayless gives us a breakdown of why he did what he did on the night Mayweather was victorious. Some fans think Bayless played a major role in Mayweather winning a unanimous decision.
    Bayless says he was just doing his job, which was controlling the fight.
    Bayless also had some choice words for some of the boxing media. Bayless says many in the media ďdo not engulf themselves in the sport.Ē
    Bayless continues by explaining why we have a problem in boxing when a commentator with an untrained eye has so much influence on the public, and so much more.
    RM: Letís jump into the big fight between Floyd Mayweather and Marcos Maidana this past Saturday. Tell me about your preparationÖ Did you prepare any differently for this fight?
    KB: Well, as far as physical preparation, I trained for it the same way. I have a treadmill at my house. I get on it on a regular basis to keep my cardio up, I also workout with elastic bands. I just do enough to stay in shape on a regular basis. Now, I probably prepared more mentally as opposed to physically. The main thing for me or any other referee is not losing control of (any) fight. After watching the first fight and seeing how physical it was, I needed to make sure the fight didnít get out of hand. I needed to make sure I didnít lose control.
    RM: OK. So, what were things that you did to make sure the fight did not get out of control?
    KB: One of the things I picked up on from the first fight was whenever Mayweather went to the ropes, which made it easier for Maidana to score, a lot of the punches thrown by Maidana were roundhouse punches and several of the punches were rabbit punches. They were hitting Mayweather on the back of the head. Another thing was that Maidana has an aggressive style and he tends to lead with his head. And if you noticed in the first fight, there was an accidental head-butt. Mayweather was on the receiving end of that head-butt. And also some of the punches went a little low. All these things were happening in the first fight. It was my job to correct that. I wanted to make sure it didnít happen in the second fight because tempers can flare. I always say, in the heat of the moment, a fighter can do anything. There might be fouls that are intentional or unintentional. My job is to keep the fight even, safe, and fair on both sides.
    RM: When you referee a rematch do you think of it as a rematch or try to separate the two fights?
    KB: Well, I do look at the first fight and critique it, then decide what I have to do to make (the rematch) a better fight. And what a lot of fans donít understand is that sometimes referees have to take a difficult fight, or an uneventful fight and turn around and make it an enjoyable fight for the fans to watch.
    RM: But why is it your job to make the fight enjoyable?
    KB: Iíll give you an example. I happened to referee a fight couple of years ago, which was a rematch, just like Saturday night. It was between Sugar Shane Mosley and Fernando Vargas. In the first fight there was an accidental head-butt. Mosleyís camp said it was accidental. Vargasí camp said it was intentional. And I donít know if you remember, but Fernando VargasÖ the side of his head started to swell up and ultimately the fight had to be stopped. Well, I did the rematch for that fight. And I had to study the first fight well. The main thing for me was to hopefully not allow that (another head-butt) to happen. Both sides had their issues about the heads and other issues that I had to address. Again, the main thing for me is to make sure the fight is clean on both sides.
    RM: I see. So, what types of things were said in the dressing room when you were talking to Mayweather and Maidana before the fight?
    KB: Well there wasnít a lot said. First I went to Maidanaís dressing room. The first thing I said was that I want both fighters and the camps to be professionals. I told them that my job is to keep a level playing field. And then I went into the rules. And then I told them to hold all of their questions until after I went over the rules because a lot of times I answer the questions while I am stating the rules. When I was done, there werenít many questions asked. I believe Mr. Garcia Sr. asked a question. But it was pretty much standard. Then I went to Mayweatherís room. I started out the same way about being professional. Floyd Sr. was not in the dressing room at the time because he had a fighter at ringside. Roger Mayweather was there. I went over all the rules. Floyd didnít have any questions. I said good luck to Floyd Mayweather just like I said good luck to Marcos Maidana. And the next time I saw them was in the ring.
    RM: Now take me through the fight. Was the fight just as physical as you expected?
    KB: Yes, Basically I wanted to be in control initially. I wanted to keep control so it didnít get out of hand. And believe it or not, fouls will occur when fighters are in a clinch. And before the fight I told both fighters, I will give you an opportunity to fight out of a clinch. But if you donít fight out of the clinch I am I going to stop the action. Thatís when the fouls start, the rabbit punches and the possible low blows. So when they got into a clinch and I didnít see hardly any action, I stopped it immediately. I separated them and let the fight continue.
    RM: I noticed Maidana complaining about having a free hand during the clinch. Even the Showtime broadcast team said something about it. What did you think?
    KB: Well, he might have had a free hand but you have to fight out of the clinch. I have to determine if it is a hard clinch or a soft clinch. Usually if it is a soft clinch or soft hold then I will let them fight out. But if it is a hard clinch or a hard hold then I have to step in and separate the fighters.
    RM: Floyd was holding pretty hard and thatís why you broke them up, right?
    KB: Yes. But it is neutral in a sense. When both fighters have a glove under the arm and I see they are trying to work out of it, then I will step back. As a matter of fact, there were a couple of times they did work out. Couple of times I was so close one of the fighters, I think it was Maidana, almost backed into me. But the key thing is to determine the difference between the hard hold versus the soft hold. I had to make my decision on the spot. Right then and right now. And knowing what happened in the first fight, as far as rabbit punches, accidental head-butts, and low blows. My intent was to not get a repeat of that. So I got in as quick as I could to prevent any fouls from happening.
    RM: So, how do you respond to the criticism afterwards? Iím sure you heard some of the comments made all over the boxing world.
    KB: Well, Iíve had some calls from friends that told me some of the comments the sports announcers said about me getting involved, and not allowing Maidana to fight out. Apparently in the first fight he was able to score mostly on the ropes. The announcers said I wasnít allowing him to score or fight because I was getting in there too fast. Their comments arenít accurate. I had to keep the fight under control. Between the executive director of the Nevada State Athletic Commission, Bob Bennett and the commissioners and my colleagues, the officials and judges, they said I did a great job in refereeing a tough fight. So the comments I hear donít bother me at all. I have been refereeing for over 23 years. I wouldnít be in the position I am in now if it wasnít for the fact that I do a clean job. I am unbiased. If I donít perform well, we have the executive director and commission sitting at ringside; they will without question let me know that I wasnít on my A game. So, I have to bring my A game for every assignment. Whether itís a four round fight or six round fight or a championship fight because we get critiqued after every fight card.
    RM: What would you grade yourself for Saturday?
    KB: I would give myself an A+.
    RM: Why?
    KB: It is because of my ability to move around the ring. I had to stay consistent to see everything that happened. Thatís another thing that fight fans and people donít understand. You have to be in great shape to move around in that ring. You have to be in position at all times to see what happens. We have to be in position to make the right call. You know, Iíll tell you Ray, our work is not easy. It is very difficult. Saturday night was no walk through the park.
    RM: Was it because of all the movement?
    KB: The movement. Exactly.
    RM: What exactly happened during the bite incident?
    KB: Well, Maidanaís head was down. Every once in a while, you will get that type of hold. It usually happens when a fighter comes in and misses a punch. As I separated the two fighters, Floyd stepped back and indicated that he got bit.
    RM: Right.
    KB: And he just said, ďHe bit me. He bit me.Ē I called timeout, told Maidana to go to a neutral corner. I looked at Floydís glove and I didnít see anything. But Floyd kept indicating that he got bit. This was a situation where I had to make some decisions. And, Floyd Sr. gets up on the ring apron. And he is upset and mad. He is talking about what he wants to doÖ Now, I have to defuse the situation. It can get out of hand.
    RM: Right.
    KB: I got Floyd Sr. to go back down the stairs and I asked the doctor to come up. I specifically asked for the doctor to come up to give some time for things to settle down.
    RM: OK.
    KB: I knew the doctor was going to see what I did. Whatever happened was on the inside of the glove. It wasnít like his glove was bleeding or anything. There was nothing. The doctor came up, he saw what I saw, and he didnít see anything. So, I sent the doctor back down. Again, I was just buying time to defuse the situation. Then at that point, I told Floyd there is nothing that I could see. The fight has to continue.
    RM: Interesting. So, you were just buying time?
    KB: Yeah. I was buying time to calm things down. Usually when a fighter gets fouled and nothing is done about it, he has a reason to retaliate. Iím not saying Floyd was going to foul him back. But I addressed the incident and hoped that he wouldnít retaliate. And he didnít retaliate.
    RM: Why did you take a point away from Maidana in the fight?
    KB: I told both fighters in the dressing room, two wrongs donít make a right. If you deliberately commit a foul, I can take up to two points from your score. Maidana threw a forearm in Floydís face then he threw him to the ground. How deliberate is that? And this comes after the possibility that he bit him? I couldnít tell if he bit him then he comes back two rounds later and throws him to the ground?
    RM: Yeah.
    KB: For me, remember, taking control of the fight is the main thing. I felt it was appropriate at that time to take a point, to slow Maidana down because Floyd Mayweather has a way of frustrating his opponents simply because they canít hit him. I refereed the Mayweather/Canelo Alvarez fight. Canelo Alvarez couldnít hit him and he (Canelo) did some stuff that I had to give him some very hard warnings about. I was very close to taking points from him. Fighters get frustrated because they canít hit Floyd. Maidana hit Mayweather with a great shot. I believe it was at the end of the third round, right at the bell. That was his best punch of the fight. But he was not able to follow up. So that is something I have to be alert to. I have to know where the fight is going as far as Fighter A and Fighter B.
    RM: You have to be in tuned with the fight?
    KB: Yep. I have to be in tuned with all that is happening. We get a forearm to the face and a throw down. So I took a point. And there was no argument when the round ended. And I went over to the Maidana corner to warn him to keep the fight clean. Robert Garcia said that he didnít see the foul. But thatís OK. I donít know how he didnít see it. When fans or trainers see their fighter do something wrong itís ok with them because they want to win the fight. In the following round Floyd hit Maidana with a low blow. I believe it was unintentional. I gave Maidana time to recover. But it was low. That was just simple mechanics.
    RM: One big misconception for the fans or even some of the media is that we donít get to hear the stuff you say to the fighters in the dressing room. You said that you deducted the point from Maidana because you warned him about infractions before the fightÖ You said that you warned both fighters about breaking the rules. Maybe fans get upset because we donít see you tell the fighters these rules.
    KB: Well I was surprised Ray. Usually Showtime or HBO will come in the dressing room and film my instructions. They usually give the fans every aspect. The reason why I donít have a problem taking the interview with you is because I like to educate the fans. The fans are the least educated as far as what referees do when we are in the ring. It is difficult for fans because when I step in the ring, I have to be unbiased. When fans step in the arena they already know in their mind who they want to win.
    RM: Thatís a good point.
    KB: Look Ray, if I had a criticism about the sports announcers and the boxing media making the comments like they do Ė A lot of these commentators donít engulf themselves into the sport. They donít go to referee seminars. They donít learn how we are thinking. They donít know what we are doing in the ring. I have been to four seminars this year. And I will go to two more seminars before this year is out. Sometimes I will host the seminars. I continue to critique my status as an official. I work hard for the fightersí fans and for myself. These sportswriters and sports fans, they donít go to any of the seminars to see how we work on our craft. They can just make comments about us and the fans can just engulf what they say. And thatís the sad part. If one commentator says, ďWhy doesnít Kenny do this or that?Ē thatís enough for at least 10,000 fans watching at home on PPV to think I am favoring Mayweather. But I am just doing my job. I call it the way I see it. I canít call it the way the fans see it, or the way the sports announcers see it. I have to call it the way I see it.
    RM: So is there a misconception because many of the sports writers and commentators are uneducated?
    KB: Well, a lot of them have been around the business for many years. I am not saying they are uneducated. But I know of only one sports announcer that has attended seminars. His name is Colonel Bob Sheridan. Him and me have talked about it. He always says, ďI donít know why these other sports announcers donít attend these seminars.Ē They should attend the seminars. So they can at least have a vision of what the referee is looking at. The fight isnít about what they are looking at. I officiate based on what I am looking at. If anyone cannot see that control was my main objective, then they need to start attending some seminars. They need to start educating themselves. There is more in boxing than what they think they know. There is so much more a referee has to deal during a fight.
    RM: I think what you are pointing out here is the accountability factor. Commentators, media, I mean, I am probably guilty of it as well, we can say some things about the professional referees and fighters and people will accept it because there is a platform.
    KB: Thatís exactly right, Ray. People are very opinionated in this country.
    RM: Thatís true.
    KB: The Twitters and the Facebooks. Everybodyís got a comment about something.
    RM: Globalized media. We all have a voice.
    KB: People that are making comments are not even educated in the sport. They have a platform to voice their opinion. But as I said in the HBO piece, (HBO Cornered) we referees have to train our mind to call what we see right then and right now. And I will be the first one to tell you Ray I have made mistakes in the ring. We are not perfect. But we try to be as close to perfect as we can. We know the opinionated sports writers and sports announcers are going to be very critical if we make mistakes. I gave myself an A+, Ray, because with the bite and all of the movement, and the fouls, etc. etc. I have a very high standard for myself. I donít care if itís a four round fight or a ten round fight. I gave myself the highest grade, Ray. Itís easy to get in there and the fighters are listening to everything you are saying. I could give a verbal break and theyíll break. If I use voice command and everything goes well. Thatís like a dream fight for a referee. As opposed to moving, getting in position, physically breaking them, making sure they hear your voice commands over the loudness of the crowd.
    RM: Man, there was a lot of movement in that fight.
    KB: There was a lot of movement.
    RM: OK. Do you want to discuss anything else about the fight?
    KB: Well, a lot of people donít know this but the last time I refereed Marcos Maidana, he fought a kid by the name of Soto Karass. In that fight, I took away two points from Marcos Maidana. I took away points because of the illegal stuff he was doing. I also took one point away from his opponent. Thatís where control becomes an issue. In my entire career I have never taken a point from both fighters at the same time until I did it in that fight between, Soto Karass and Marcos Maidana. I took points for all the roughhousing and not listening to my commands. And then about a round or two later I took another point from Maidana for hitting on the break.
    RM: I see.
    KB: So, am I supposed to forget that? No. I will keep it in the back of my head. I didnít go in the dressing room and say, ďYou know Marcos, I have taken two points from you before.Ē I didnít say that. I didnít even mention it. Even after Mayweather was saying all those things before the fight about him (Maidana) being dirty, I remembered I took two points from him in a previous fight, but I still said nothing. Then Saturday night, first there was the bite, then the forearm and the throw down. So you have to look at the full picture.
    RM: So, you studied the previous fights you refereed with both fighters and used it as a reference?
    KB: Yeah. But every fight is different. But is Marcos Maidana capable of infraction? Well, I refereed him two times now. And in two fights have taken three points away from him.
    RM: How did you get selected to referee this fight? Is there a selection process?
    KB: Yes. There is a selection process. The executive director makes his recommendations to the commissioners, and the commissioners will vote on it. The executive director has us on rotation. The rotation dictates the order you come up. Sometimes the commission gives the camps an opportunity to express how they feel about the referee that is doing the fight. And when my name was mentioned to Marcos Maidanaís camp they had no problem with me refereeing this fight. We got the same thing from the Mayweather camp. I accepted the assignment, knowing I had to be in tiptop shape. I did what I had to do to prepare and keep the fight clean and fair.
    RM: Hey, what did you think of the HBO show Ė Cornered?
    KB: Well, I thought it went very well. Believe it or not, the show was shot back in 2012. We shot it right around the time it was announced that I was going to work the fourth fight between Manny Pacquiao and Juan Manuel Marquez. It was originally supposed to air in February but apparently HBO had different plans. They just finally aired it last week. Itís still all good because I thought it was an excellent piece.
    RM: Iím sure you were eager to see it after almost two years.
    KB: Yeah. I just had a lot of people eager to see it. But other than that everything went well.
    RM: Great. Can you tell me about the WBC Cares program that you will attend next month?
    KB: Yes. WBC Cares program is ran by a lady named Jill Diamond. She reaches out to the community and works with the individuals in bringing fighters to the local Boys and Girls clubs. The last convention was in Las Vegas about two or three years ago. We went to the local Boys and Girls club and got about three hundred kids. Some of the kids were from Richard Steeleís boxing gym. Fighters like Sugar Ray Leonard, Tommy Hearns, and Larry Holmes were there giving autographs to the kids. I am going to Stockton to reach out to the community and work with some trainers that have been in the sport for many years. The WBC wants to recognize them. So personally I will fly to the Bay Area and be a part of that event. It is just something that is really great. It is well worth the time and effort that we put into it.
    You can email Ray at Raymond.Markarian@yahoo.com or follow him on Twitter: @raymarkarian

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    Re: The Marksman Q n A Special: Kenny Bayless

    i don't think his job is controlling the fight...Controlling the fouls, but not the tempo of the action. I don't care how many seminars he attends, he looked like a deer lost in the headlights when Maidana bit Mayweather.

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    Re: The Marksman Q n A Special: Kenny Bayless

    There should be a seminar on identifying and addressing clandestine fouls, such as the lead elbow/forearm!

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    Re: The Marksman Q n A Special: Kenny Bayless

    Quote Originally Posted by Buzz Murdock View Post
    i don't think his job is controlling the fight...Controlling the fouls, but not the tempo of the action. I don't care how many seminars he attends, he looked like a deer lost in the headlights when Maidana bit Mayweather.
    He did what he was suppose to do. He didn't see it. And said that he didn't because it didn't happen.

    Part of being a great or even good boxer is to be cunning and conning. Pug try to pull fast ones on refs all the time.

    Kemit Cintron was a master of it. A pug clocked Cintron straight on his chin, but Cinton conned the referee that he was hurt from a headbutt after he was counted him out.

    Money May was working a con to get Maidana D'Qed. And Bass wasn't havin' it. Holla!

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    Re: The Marksman Q n A Special: Kenny Bayless

    Not just any pug, that was Sergio Martinez I do believe.

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    Re: The Marksman Q n A Special: Kenny Bayless

    "Look Ray, if I had a criticism about the sports announcers and the boxing media making the comments like they do – A lot of these commentators don’t engulf themselves into the sport. They don’t go to referee seminars. They don’t learn how we are thinking. They don’t know what we are doing in the ring. I have been to four seminars this year. And I will go to two more seminars before this year is out. Sometimes I will host the seminars. I continue to critique my status as an official. I work hard for the fighters’ fans and for myself. These sportswriters and sports fans, they don’t go to any of the seminars to see how we work on our craft. They can just make comments about us and the fans can just engulf what they say. And that’s the sad part. If one commentator says, “Why doesn’t Kenny do this or that?” that’s enough for at least 10,000 fans watching at home on PPV to think I am favoring Mayweather. But I am just doing my job. I call it the way I see it. I can’t call it the way the fans see it, or the way the sports announcers see it. I have to call it the way I see it."

    Those were the words of referee Kenny Bayless in the above interview. I agree with him. Many boxing writers and announcers have absolutely no clue about the intracacies of what goes into being a referee. Many of these so-called "experts" don't know the rules.

    At a recent small show in New York, a fighter took a hard shot and sagged onto the ropes. The referee jumped in, sent the guy who delivered the blow to a neutral corner and began a count. A writer next to me starts yelling, "A standing eight-count? Why in the world is the fighter getting a standing eight-count? There is no standing eight-count in New York." I had to inform this internet boxing writer--a member of the Boxing Writer's Association of America--that what he was watching was a knockdown, not a standing eight-count. Then I explained. He just looked dumb-founded and said "Oh, I get it."

    Whew. I'm glad he got it. If he didn't, he should try covering horseshoes.

    I saw Bayless buying time to diffuse the situation, as Uncle Roger--a notorious hothead--was ready to start a full-scale war. Bayless was fair and, in my opinion, totally unbiased.

    Seminars? I doubt any commentator or member of the BWAA has ever gone to a Referee's Seminar.

    That's why they make the inane, uneducated remarks that they do.

    Know what? Maybe the guy who sat next to me--and others like him--really SHOULD be covering horseshoes!

    -Randy G.

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    Re: The Marksman Q n A Special: Kenny Bayless

    I think Bayless is an excellent referee. But even the best ones make mistakes from time to time. I think he did error in the Mayweather-Maidana fight.

    In my opinion, he was breaking the fighters way too soon and giving Mayweather an advantage. I am not saying he did this intentionally to give Mayweather an advantage but he pre-determined before the fight to break the fighters quickly thinking if he didn't Maidana may use dirty tactics. The problem in my eyes was the breaks were so early that often times Maidana had one hand free and should have been allowed to work. Mayweather would lunge in to grab Maidana and then instantly Bayless break them. It got to a point where Bayless was even anticipating the clinch and ready to separate the fighters before the clinch happened.

    Showtime is re-running the fight tonight. Watch carefully particularly Maidana's hands which often times at least one are free and he should have been allowed to work.

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    Re: The Marksman Q n A Special: Kenny Bayless

    Quote Originally Posted by The Commish View Post
    "Look Ray, if I had a criticism about the sports announcers and the boxing media making the comments like they do – A lot of these commentators don’t engulf themselves into the sport. They don’t go to referee seminars. They don’t learn how we are thinking. They don’t know what we are doing in the ring. I have been to four seminars this year. And I will go to two more seminars before this year is out. Sometimes I will host the seminars. I continue to critique my status as an official. I work hard for the fighters’ fans and for myself. These sportswriters and sports fans, they don’t go to any of the seminars to see how we work on our craft. They can just make comments about us and the fans can just engulf what they say. And that’s the sad part. If one commentator says, “Why doesn’t Kenny do this or that?” that’s enough for at least 10,000 fans watching at home on PPV to think I am favoring Mayweather. But I am just doing my job. I call it the way I see it. I can’t call it the way the fans see it, or the way the sports announcers see it. I have to call it the way I see it."

    Those were the words of referee Kenny Bayless in the above interview. I agree with him. Many boxing writers and announcers have absolutely no clue about the intracacies of what goes into being a referee. Many of these so-called "experts" don't know the rules.

    At a recent small show in New York, a fighter took a hard shot and sagged onto the ropes. The referee jumped in, sent the guy who delivered the blow to a neutral corner and began a count. A writer next to me starts yelling, "A standing eight-count? Why in the world is the fighter getting a standing eight-count? There is no standing eight-count in New York." I had to inform this internet boxing writer--a member of the Boxing Writer's Association of America--that what he was watching was a knockdown, not a standing eight-count. Then I explained. He just looked dumb-founded and said "Oh, I get it."

    Whew. I'm glad he got it. If he didn't, he should try covering horseshoes.

    I saw Bayless buying time to diffuse the situation, as Uncle Roger--a notorious hothead--was ready to start a full-scale war. Bayless was fair and, in my opinion, totally unbiased.

    Seminars? I doubt any commentator or member of the BWAA has ever gone to a Referee's Seminar.

    That's why they make the inane, uneducated remarks that they do.

    Know what? Maybe the guy who sat next to me--and others like him--really SHOULD be covering horseshoes!

    -Randy G.
    Nicely put. A lot of these internet keyboarding warriors would do much better covering horseshoes or birds crapping on people domes from the blue skies. Hehe! Holla!

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    Re: The Marksman Q n A Special: Kenny Bayless

    I call BS on Bayless and stopped reading his fake answers...

    The man was reffing for Floyd, not for two fighters.

    It was clear as day Chino was not to have any chance of fighting inside or pushing Floyd around. Floyd getting hit in the back of the head? Well then dont bend over or turn around!!!

    Bayless did the job he was paid to do and took an exciting first fight and made it a complete BORE.

    Well done, I was asleep by the 9th round.

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    Re: The Marksman Q n A Special: Kenny Bayless

    Bayless gets pretty involved as a ref.

    I wouldn't say he was reffing for Floyd, but his style certainly favoured the A side.

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