Newly crowned IBF welterweight world champion Randall “The Knockout King” Bailey is finally in position of leverage with his third world title belt and a recent “Knockout of the Year” performance against previously unbeaten Mike Jones. Now, the feared slugger is hoping to cash in after 16 often frustrating years as a professional prizefighter. Bailey (43-7, 37 KOs) would love to face Floyd “Money” Mayweather Jr. when he gets out of jail in a few months but, if the price is right, Randall also wants to make it perfectly clear that he’ll fight any deserving 147-pounder in the world.
“I’ve been avoided forever,” Bailey said, “but now I’m coming off a world title fight win that ended with a punch people are going to be talking about for a long time. If I had a choice, I’d fight Mayweather next. I like the way Floyd’s fighting. He’s not running around so much to try to win on points. He’s giving guys an opportunity to hit him and that’s my type of fight.”
Regarding the Jones fight, Bailey said, “I told him (Jones) that I was going to knock him out. In my mind, that was the only way I’d win the fight. I watched a few of his fights that were close, like the (Jesus Soto) Karrass fight, and I was concerned about winning a decision. I knew when I grazed him in the first round that he’d take off like a thief in the night. The kid ran from me a lot and I caught a lot of his punches with my gloves. I waited for him to sit down for a second. I didn’t have that much on my punch (straight right) in the 10th round (Jones was decked for the first time as an amateur or pro) because my leg was twisted. In the 11th, he was laying in under his jab so I couldn’t hit him with my overhand right. I decided to back up and as we got closer, he kept his chin down to keep away from my overhand right. It was just natural for me to come with my uppercut like I did. That was my best punch ever. It had so much on it that it looked like my fist was in his face. I hit his nose and it felt like meat coming out.”
“That punch was similar to the punches he knocked out (Jackson Osei) Bonsu and (Frankie) Figueroa with,” Bailey’s manager Si Stern noted, “but this was the best punch I’ve ever seen Randall land. I’m so proud of Randall. He’s at the top of his game and a three-time world champion. His one punch produced the ‘Knockout of the Year’, if not the ‘Knockout of the Decade’. We have the world title belt and won’t fight on the cheap. We already have a half-million dollar offer to fight overseas, so why would we take a cheap fight? Once Mayweather gets out of jail, he won’t find a better opponent to fight than Randall Bailey, who is one of the most dangerous fighters in the world. Mayweather-Bailey has the potential to be a classic fight.
“We’ll listen to any offers – (Paulie) Malignaggi, (Devon) Alexander, (Andre) Berto, (Victor) Ortiz, even (Manny) Pacquiao or (Timothy) Bradley – if the price is right. Randall has been avoided like the plague; they’ve been scared to death because of his one-punch power. We’ll only have one or two opportunities for a big fight before his mandatory is due. It would be crazy for him to fight now for short money.”
Randall Bailey Day in Key West, Florida
Saturday, July 15 has been named Randall Bailey Day in Key West, Florida. Special festivities honoring Bailey will be held all day, highlighted by a parade through Key West.
The Jones fight was extremely emotional for Bailey, who has rarely expressed himself like he did before and after his last fight. He entered the ring wearing a black mask and broke down in the corner before celebrating his victory.
“I wore the mask because I felt I’d been invisible for years,” Bailey explained. “Nobody saw me before and I wanted to keep it that way. After all of the talk and pressure I put on myself, training and the sacrifices I made, to do what I did, well, it all came out of me after the fight. It wasn’t fake.”
Bailey also clarified speculation about him fighting Devon Alexander on August 25. “Alexander has to get in line like I had to,” Bailey stated. “He must think that they can throw around a few bucks and I’ll fight him. What I’m saying is I will fight anybody for the right money.”
Bailey is 37, celebrating his next birthday September 1, and as remarkable as it is to win a world title at his age, even more impressive is he did it more than a decade after capturing the Interim World Boxing Association (“WBA”) Light Welterweight Championship (W-KO3 vs. Demetrio Ceballos), 13 years since his first world title victory for the World Boxing Organization “(“WBO”) junior welterweight belt in 1999 (W-KO1 vs. Carlos Gonzalez).
“If people look at my record,” Bailey remarked, “they’ll see that I’ve only had a few tough fights, no Corrales-Castillo type fights. I’ve only been fighting once a year because opponents have stalled, thinking I’d be getting older. All of that has worked to my advantage. The worst thing that they can do is let me rest. I live a clean life and haven’t damaged my body. I’m a young 37 with a lot left in the tank.”
Patience has finally paid off for the quiet, unassuming Floridian with the huge punch, who got into boxing for the most simple of reasons. “I enjoy fighting,” he concluded. “I just love beating the hell out of a guy and then get out of the ring without going to jail for doing it. I got into a lot of street fights as a kid. I wanted to fight without getting into trouble and boxing was the way for me.”