Colin Cowherd comes to the defense of Mayweather vs. McGregor referee Robert Byrd

Colin Cowherd on Robert Byrd's refereeing Saturday night during the Mayweather vs. McGregor fight in Las Vegas.

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- The referee in this fight, the gentleman Robert Byrd who's 74 years old. He's a Hall of Famer, he's an absolute gentleman, and he's been working the fight business for like 40 years. And everybody's saying, oh, Robert Byrd was awful last night.

Time out. Time out. That was not an easy fight to officiate. You had Conor McGregor, a UFC fighter who had an awkward-- it looked like he was fighting in the '60s. It was like Popeye. [INAUDIBLE] blows me down. What was this?

I mean, and then you have a fighter in Conor that Robert Byrd, literally, as they were sitting there for the pre-fight instructions, the referee turned to Conor and said, no dirty stuff. He knew exactly what he was going to do.

The pre-fight instructions were basically Robert Byrd lecturing Conor McGregor on no rabbit punching, no hitting in the back, and some of that's muscle memory. That's how Conor McGregor fights. Some of it's just the natural way and his instincts.

But the other thing is to remember why do referees stop fights? Referees stop fights when they don't believe a fighter can protect his head. It's not body shots. Conor took nine unanswered shots to the head. Conor, in the last two rounds, couldn't lift his hands. He wasn't lifting his hands. Nine straight to the head.

We have a history of boxers slurring years later, of having some damage upstairs. Remember, and we predicted this last week, this fight-- over 100 doctors in a New York Times study last week, or a story, said they didn't think this fight should have been sanctioned.

So we predicted this fight would be ended sooner than later if it was called because Robert Byrd knew going in, I got an amateur and I got a great fighter. I'm not going to be part of brain damage here. OK? The minute Conor McGregor cannot protect himself, out, done, over, towel. Call it a night. You made your money. OK? So Robert Byrd made the right decision.

When you got a guy nine straight punches, can't protect himself against one of the great fighters of all time, trust me. Conor McGregor 25 years from now will be playing with his son and having an articulate conversation. That's because referees jumped in to stop fights. OK?

So I don't want to hear about Robert Byrd doing a lousy job. He's a Hall of Fame guy. We told you this was going to happen, and we also told you it was going to be a bizarre and awkward fight. This is not Triple G and Canelo. This is not two pros. OK. You had a guy that never fought a professional fight.

I mean, you saw, there were at least four or five moments in this fight when Mayweather literally turned his back on him and was like, come on. Give me a break here. He's wrestling me. We're so quick to judge. You put anybody, any listener, caller, any boxing official.

One of my friends in Las Vegas, the late, great Mitch Halpern, an incredible human being who passed away, took his own life way too early. I live with a boxing ref. I know their sensibility. I know what makes them tick, and I know how they think. They are protecting people beyond the moment. They are protecting you for years later, and they will always be willing to call it a second early than a second later.

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