(Devon Alexander, left; Randall Bailey, right)
When Randall Bailey walked back to his corner after the 8th round of his fight with Mike Jones, his long time trainer John David Jackson wasn’t in the center of his corner, it was his cut man, Chico Rivas. Bailey needed a knockout to win, and his corner aware of the fact, made a tactical move not often seen in the sweet science. “We’re very close,” Bailey said. “John got out of the ring because we all work as a team. John felt like what he was doing wasn’t getting through to me. He took it upon himself to let our cut man get in there and try to speak to me.”
Screams of “You got to finish him!” were heard ringside.
And he did.
Bailey, arguably the biggest single puncher in boxing, landed a brain-poisonous right uppercut in the 11th, finishing Mike Jones for the night, just as he was asked. But prior to the 10th round Bailey seemed reluctant to throw punches, “In the first round I grazed him on the back of the head with a right hand and that’s what caused him to take off,” he said. “In the 1st round we were right there, after I touched him he took off on me.”
Bailey could be faced with the same dilemma Saturday night when he faces Devon Alexander at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn, N.Y., on Showtime, but he says a plan is in place.
“I am going to put a lot of pressure on him and make him stand in front of me, you can’t move and punch at the same time,” Bailey told TQBR by telephone this week. “So when he’s standing I have to be punching, that’s the whole thing going into this fight, put pressure on him, I know there will be openings for me.
“I’m going to use the jab on Devon to throw him off, I have to put something in his face,” he said. Bailey’s jab is his only chance of offsetting Alexander’s superior speed and boxing ability, and will be essential in setting up his devastating right hand which at any moment has shown the ability to end a fight.
Alexander is coming off consecutive decision wins against hard punching Lucas Matthysse and Marcos Maidana, but both fights took place in Alexander’s home town of St. Louis, and both were scheduled for only 10 rounds. Alexander has 23 victories, 13 of those victories coming by knockout, so Alexander will most likely have to go the full 12 rounds, something he’s done only twice in the past four years. “I don’t plan on going the whole 12 rounds,” Bailey said. “In the later rounds he’s going to be tired, I plan on putting a lot of hurt on him.”
Alexander’s style defines the type of boxers Bailey has trouble with, and when Bailey pulled out of their first scheduled fight six weeks prior, questions arose, most notably from Alexander’s loudmouth trainer Kevin Cunningham. “Kevin is crazy,” Bailey said. “My hip pad slipped out when I was throwing a punch, the guy I was sparring with was trying to emulate how Devon holds, he was bigger than me and he came down on me the wrong way and it slipped my hip out of place. But I’m great right now.”
Not many boxing fans are giving Bailey a chance against the younger, slicker Alexander, but Bailey and his team believe this is only the beginning. A win Saturday night would propel Randall Bailey to a career peak not yet known to him, a career that debuted over 16 years ago.
Steve Zemach can be reached at SteveZBoxing@gmail.com. Follow him on Twitter @SteveZemach.