Once again, there’s a judging controversy involving Manny Pacquiao and Timothy Bradley. This time, it came before the first punch was thrown.
John Keane of Great Britain, who was scheduled to work Saturday’s rematch between the two welterweights at the MGM Grand Garden, pulled out of the fight due to illness. Keane informed the Nevada Athletic Commission Monday that he is suffering from a severe viral infection and has been advised by his physician in England not to travel to Las Vegas to work the World Boxing Organization title fight.
In an email to the NAC, which was obtained by the Review-Journal, Keane said: “It is with much regret that I am unable to accept this assignment. I am sorry for any problems this might cause. I felt very honored to be considered for such an important match and I am very disappointed that I am unable to officiate.”
NAC chairman Francisco Aguilar moved quickly Monday to replace Keane, selecting Canada’s Craig Metcalfe to join Las Vegas’ Glenn Trowbridge and Florida’s Michael Pernick to work Pacquiao-Bradley 2. Las Vegas’ Kenny Bayless remains in place as the referee.
Aguilar said he consulted with both camps regarding the use of Metcalfe, one of 14 potential judges on the initial list, and there were no objections from either side. According to Boxrec.com, Metcalfe has never worked one of Pacquiao’s or Bradley’s fights.
Pacquiao arrives in Las Vegas Tuesday and his 1:30 p.m. arrival at the MGM Grand lobby is open to the public. Bradley arrives Wednesday.
Contact reporter Steve Carp at email@example.com or 702-387-2913. Follow him on Twitter: @stevecarprj.