Referee Robert Byrd will once again be looking forward to Manny Pacquiao and Tim Bradley squaring off (Photo: Naoki Fukuda)
By Chris Robinson
On Tuesday afternoon, inside of the Mayweather Boxing Club in Las Vegas, I caught up with respected referee Robert Byrd.
Byrd is often in consideration to be the third man in the ring for some of boxing’s biggest events, having recently overseen such bouts as Timothy Bradley vs. Juan Manuel Marquez and Floyd Mayweather vs. Robert Guerrero.
While 2013 wasn’t a banner year for boxing in Las Vegas, there are three notable pay per view events already lined up this year for the MGM Grand.
On March 8, former junior middleweight titlist Saul ‘Canelo’ Alvarez will look to bounce back from his lone professional defeat when he faces off with Alfredo Angulo.
Alvarez lost a wide majority decision to Floyd Mayweather this past September and Byrd feels the 23-year old will return a wiser fighter.
“I think it’s going to be a tough fight,” Byrd stated. “I really do. Canelo, I think, has definitely learned a lot from the Mayweather fight. I think he’s going to be motivated after that. Angulo always comes to fight. I think it’s going to be a very competitive fight.”
Byrd also feels, for various reasons, that Canelo can one day return as one of the faces of the sport
“Yeah, because he’s young, he’s strong, he’s got quick hands,” said Byrd. “He has a good following. He has that thing, charisma.”
On April 12, a much-needed rematch will be taking place between WBO welterweight champion Timothy Bradley and eight-division world champion Manny Pacquiao.
Bradley won an unpopular split-decision over Pacquiao in June of 2012 and Byrd feels each man will have a chip on their shoulder.
“I think both of them are going to be motivated to prove whatever happened in the first one shouldn’t have happened that way,” Byrd explained. “I think that Pacquiao is going to be very motivated. I don’t see him having more than two or three fights, so I think he really wants to go out on a high.
“I think Bradley is much improved,” Byrd added. “I think this is going to be a very, very competitive fight, because Bradley wants to prove the first time wasn’t just an accident too. Both of them have something to prove.”
On May 3, Floyd Mayweather will return to the ring in pursuit of his 46th victory as a professional, with British fan favorite Amir Khan seemingly the leading candidate to land the big shot.
Byrd feels Mayweather will be ready regardless of who he sets foot in the ring with.
“Whoever Floyd fights is going to be in for a fight,” Byrd noted. “I think that he is definitely on a mission now, with these next three fights to finish out the contract and I think he wants to go out on a very high note. Whoever he fights is going to get the best of Floyd.”
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Chris Robinson can be reached at Trimond@aol.com