IBF welterweight beltholder Randall Bailey has vowed to make former junior welterweight titleholder Devon Alexander “pay the piper” when they meet in Bailey’s first defense of the crown on Sept. 8. The fight will be televised on Showtime from the Hard Rock Hotel and Casino in Las Vegas.
Bailey (43-7, 37 knockouts) was last in the ring in June for a come-from-behind, 11th-round knockout of Philadelphia’s Mike Jones on the undercard of Tim Bradley vs. Manny Pacquiao, also in Las Vegas at the MGM Grand Garden Arena.
Against Jones (26-1, 19 KOs), Bailey won his fourth straight bout, having last suffered defeat by 11th-round stoppage against Juan Urango in a failed bid to earn the IBF’s junior welterweight belt in August of 2009.
In his next fight, Urango was knocked out in the eighth round by fellow southpaw Alexander, who has scoffed at Bailey’s assertion that he already had taken the heart out of Urango.
“That’s really funny to me. I mean, that’s the opposite. How can he say that when he got knocked out and got stopped by Urango. But that’s what he’s saying, that he softened him up for me?” said Alexander, laughing during an interview with RingTV.com.
“But if he says that’s what happened, oh well. But I got in there and took care of business and got Urango out of there, which is something that he couldn’t do.”
In victory over Jones, Bailey earned his first title since a first-round knockout of Carlos Gonzalez to win the WBO’s junior welterweight crown in May of 1999.
Bailey’s record at the time was 18-0, all by stoppage, and he has become known for the concussive, lights-out power in his right hand.
The win over Gonzalez marked Bailey’s 13th first-round knockout, after which he defended twice to improve to 20-0, all by knockout, before losing the title to Ener Julio by split-decision in July of 2000.
RingTV.com: How are you handling all of the attention?
Randall Bailey: This is nothing new to me. I’ve been here before. I’ve been a champion before. I’ve been through the ups and the downs.
I understand what comes with it. When you’re hot, you’re hot. When you’re not, you’re not. You seize the moment and you do what you have to do.
RingTV.com: Why do you feel that you softened up Urango for Alexander to beat him?
RB: I just feel that it’s nothing new that when I fight certain people, and when I’ve fought certain people, that their careers are never really the same afterward.
That fight with Urango, you know, I felt that it was a really tough fight on both of us, but I felt like he endured more damage than I did.
After our fight, they asked me how I thought Urango was going to do in his next fight, and I told them that he was going to get knocked out.
That’s because I just knew that he wasn’t going to be the same. Devon is not known as a big puncher, so, I’m like, “I just gave him a gift.”
So, with the fact that I gave him a gift against Urango, and he didn’t say “thank you,” then he’s just going to have to pay the piper.
RingTV.com: Do you take anything away from your experience against Urango and the proximity of Urango’s next fight being against Alexander?
RB: Let me just tell you this: Even at my worst, I have dropped every southpaw that I’ve fought. You know what I’m saying? I’ve dropped every last one of them.
I dropped Urango one time, and, to tell you the truth, I was so weak for that fight, that I don’t even know how I knocked him down. I was having so much trouble making that weight.
I had worn out my welcome at 140 pounds and couldn’t really make the weight any longer. That’s why Urango was my last fight at 140 pounds. I couldn’t be strong there any more, so that’s why I’m a lot better at 147.
RingTV.com: Do you have a prediction for the Alexander fight?
RB: I’m not going to make a prediction, but I know that when I get into the ring, the first 30 seconds of the fight, I’m pretty much going to know exactly what he wants to do.
If he wants to thump, then we’re going to stand and thump. But if he wants to do whatever else he’s going to do, he’s going to do that.
But I will tell you this: Eventually, I’m going to catch up to Devon Alexander. And when I do, it’s going to be trouble for him.
Photo by Naoki Fukuda
Photos by Chris Farina, Top Rank