Here’s a sure bet in Nevada.
On Wednesday, the state athletic commission will officially name the referee and the judges for the May 7 Sugar Shane Mosley-Manny Pacquiao welterweight title bout at the MGM Grand.
Lay the odds that the third man in the ring will be either Las Vegans Kenny Bayless or Tony Weeks or Reno resident Victor Drakulich.
While Bayless and Weeks are higher profile, Draklulich is a veteran referee who used to sport a bit of an Abe Lincoln beard.
Which is not unfitting, either, since Drakulich has spent many years practicing law in Northern Nevada. Just don’t call him “the Lincoln Lawyer” as a long shave eradicated the look a decade or so ago.
Of Pacman’s last 10 bouts, seven took place in Vegas with two at Cowboys Stadium in Arlington and one in San Antonio. The San Antonio bout was April 14, 2007, against Jorge Solis (KO 8) and Drakulich flew in to ref it.
Drakulich handled Pacquio’s prior fight, a three round KO over Erik Morales in Las Vegas.
Texas refs Laurence Cole (Antonio Margarito) and Rafael Ramos (Joshua Clottey) were the refs at Jerry Jones’ fancy football playpen while Bayless was the ref for both the Miguel Cotto and Ricky Hatton bouts held before that in the gambling mecca.
The Bayless-Weeks-Drakulich pattern comes up again in Pacquiao victories over Marco Antonio Barrera (Weeks), Juan Manuel Marquez (Bayless) and David Diaz (Drakulich).
The steady Weeks handled Manny’s TKO 8 over Oscar De La Hoya on Dec. 6, 2008.
Adding it all the Pacman Referee Standings over his last 10 bouts are: Bayless and Drakulich, both three; Weeks, two; Cole, one, and one for Ramos.
As far as Nevada’s chosen judges, I’d say look for the names of Duane Ford, Dave Moretti, Patricia Jarman, Adalaide Byrd or any combination thereof.
Here’s the Nevada boxing officials roster, taken from the NSAC website:
The following are licensed ring officials in the State of Nevada.
Adalaide Byrd, Tim Cheatham, Eric Cheek, Burt Clements, Duane Ford, Lisa Giampa, Dick Houck, Robert Hoyle, Patricia Morse Jarman, Al Lefkowitz, Dave Moretti, Ricardo Ocasio, C.J. Ross, Jerry Roth, Herb Santos, Pat Schellin, Paul Smith, Glenn Trowbridge.
Kenny Bayless, Robert Byrd, Joe Cortez, Vic Drakulich, Russell Mora, Jay Nady, Tony Weeks
(Note: Former University of Nevada-Reno boxing and football star Nady is on the “injured reserve” list, recovering from recent surgery.)