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  • Wilder vs. Fury 2 Referee: Will Kenny Bayless prove to be an advantage for Deontay in rematch?

Wilder vs. Fury 2 Referee: Will Kenny Bayless prove to be an advantage for Deontay in rematch?

Joseph Herron Updated
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On Wednesday morning, February 19th, the Nevada State Athletic Commission assigned the official judges and referee for the highly anticipated rematch between Deontay Wilder and Tyson Fury, which is slated to take place this Saturday, February 22nd, at the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas, Nevada.

The NSAC assigned Glenn Feldman of Connecticut, Dave Moretti of Nevada, and Steve Weisfeld of New Jersey as the three "kings" of the ring, and approved Kenny Bayless of Nevada as the official referee for the scheduled 12 round contest.

Although both heavyweights have guaranteed a knock-out victory and don't anticipate the three judges being a factor in the return bout, the third man in the ring could prove to be crucial in determining the eventual winner on Saturday night, depending on what strategy one fighter specifically chooses to implement in the ring.


Fury vs Wilder 2
WBC Heavyweight Title
February 22, 2020
MGM Grand Las Vegas, Las Vegas, NV, USA
US - ESPN, FOX | UK - BT Sport

Referee: Kenny Bayless


Wilder vs Fury 2 Referee: What to expect

Should Tyson Fury elect to box from mid to long range, just as he did back on December 1st, 2018, the 69-year-old veteran referee more than likely won't be a big factor in the super heavyweight match-up, and should have a relatively easy time managing the fight.

The only time fans at the Staples Center and spectators watching from home even noticed California based referee Jack Reiss throughout the first fight, was when "The Bronze Bomber" floored "The Gypsy King" in the ninth and twelfth rounds respectively.

Interested observers should expect more of the same from a seasoned professional like Kenny Bayless should Fury elect to try and control range with his feet and lead left hand once again.

But that very well may not be the case this time around.

Leading into the highly anticipated event, the lineal heavyweight king has stated that he plans to implement a much more aggressive strategy and make it a substantially greater physical affair, due predominately to the controversial decision of Wilder-Fury 1.

That could place the referee on center stage and keep him incredibly active all night long.

There's a very good chance Kenny Bayless could indirectly determine the outcome of Saturday night's main event.

Because Deontay Wilder depends on distance to create the maximum amount of leverage on his punches, the current WBC champion is most dangerous from mid to long-range. A very smart fighter like Tyson Fury and an astute trainer like Javan "Sugar" Hil-Steward have indeed recognized this variable.

So if Tyson can avoid getting hit while working his way inside Wilder's lengthy 83" reach, Fury has the advantage underneath. Not only does the experienced Briton have better fighting abilities on the inside, but Wilder's punches aren't nearly as potent from that range.

But when facing a legitimate home run hitter like Deontay Wilder, he's always looking to time the fastball on its way towards home plate. In other words, Dee will be waiting to catch Tyson as he attempts to close the distance with the straight right hand or check left hook.

Obviously, staying with the baseball metaphors, if you limit the amount of times Barry Bonds or Mark Mcgwire steps up to the plate, the less likely he is to smack a home run over the center field fence and win the game.

But what if, rather than allowing both fighters to work effectively on the inside, Bayless elects to break up the action and create distance between both heavyweights every time they get in close quarters?

The result would be like allowing Barry Bonds to have 20 at bats in nine innings of play.

Every time the third man in the ring creates distance between the two fighters, Wilder has a new chance to reset and time Fury has he attempts to make his way inside with a hard right hand or check left hook.

More opportunities always increases the chances of connecting big.

Advantage - Wilder

Unfortunately for the lineal champion, the newly selected Wilder vs Fury 2 referee has already shown a propensity to break up the action every time two fighters get in close.

During the rematch between Floyd Mayweather and Marcos Maidana, which took place in September of 2014, Bayless implemented an overtly officious style throughout all 12 rounds of the contest, consistently separating the two fighters every time Maidana backed Floyd into the ropes and attempted to fight him on the inside.

Rather than allowing both fighters to work effectively underneath, the experienced referee chose to yell "Break", and halted the action...consequently creating distance between the two men.

Should Bayless implement the same officious tendencies in Saturday night's main event, Wilder will ultimately be given more opportunities to catch Fury on his way in, increasing Wilder's chances for victory.

A vicious home-hum hitter like Dee can strike out 20 times consecutively and still win the "World Series" by smacking one single shot over the center-field fence. Wilder carries the ultimate neutralizer in his right glove, and can stop any man with one perfectly timed punch.

More chances at the plate equal more chances to hit the home run shot.

KennyBaylessMannyPacquiaovJessieVargaso2q9XpyhCGRlFury vs Wilder 2 Referee Kenny Bayless seperates Manny Pacquiao, right, and Jessie Vargas in their welterweight title fight in 2016.

So given the assignment of Referee Kenny Bayless, would it be more advantageous of Tyson Fury to box Wilder from mid to long-range, as he did in their first meeting in 2018? Or is a smarter move to "go for broke" and take the fight to Wilder on the inside?

Will Bayless or the three judges at ringside play a crucial part in determining the winner of Wilder vs. Fury 2?

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