Friday, February 03, 2023  |


Mickey Bey seeks validation, world title vs. Miguel Vazquez


Photo by Tom Casino-SHOWTIME

As great as Floyd Mayweather’s boxing career has been, it’s been equally as rough for fighters under his promotional banner. One by one, they have fallen short of the inexplicably lofty expectations to be like their leader. But nobody is like Floyd Mayweather and his fighters shouldn’t be expected to have an unbeaten reign like him either. But, alas, they do.

Mickey Bey was the first to fall victim to this as he was stopped in the final minutes of his fight against John Molina that he was well ahead in back in a relatively disastrous 2013. After he fell, Badou Jack was upended in shocking fashion this past February when Derek Edwards unceremoniously knocked him out. J’Leon Love being knocked out by Rogelio Medina on Aug. 30 followed Jack’s loss and continued a disturbing trend.

But there is light at the end of the tunnel and a loss shouldn’t be the end of the world. Bey, who has since won two fights in a row, has found himself in a showdown with IBF titleholder Miguel Vazquez on the undercard of Floyd Mayweather’s Sept. 13 rematch with Marcos Maidana.

Bey (20-1-1, 10 knockouts) says that he owes his lofty position on arguably the biggest pay per view of the year to his perseverance.

“I’m mentally tough and dedicated and it’s finally paying off,” Bey said before his open workout at the MGM Grand, just days before his fight with Vazquez. “Words really can’t explain what this title will mean to me but I’m sure I’ll find the right words Saturday. For everything I’ve been through, it will probably be 10 times better than I expect because got mine the hard way.”

Bey will be on the biggest stage of his career against a fighter who hasn’t lost since dropping a decision to Canelo Alvarez back in 2008. Since then, Vazquez has peeled off 13 straight wins to improve to 34-3. His only other losses were to Timothy Bradley and dropping a second fight to Canelo in his professional debut back in 2006. But Bey is confident that he’ll add another loss to his record come Saturday night.

“I’m the first guy that he’s fought who has more skills than him,” Bey said, bristling with confidence. “Look at the guys he’s been beating. I give him credit because he’s a good fighter. He’s done something right considering he’s been the champ for a few years but his opponents aren’t as skilled as me. I’ve got speed, power, I can box, I have defense. He does too so I think it will be a good matchup.”

Vazquez isn’t your prototypical Mexican boxer. He’s a savvy, defense-first technician who opts for a chess match than a rock-’em-sock-’em slugfest. And because Bey is also defensive-minded, there is some concern that the duo’s dance will lack fireworks and ultimately bore the bloodthirsty crowd that will await Mayweather-Maidana II.

“How can you say that?” Bey rifles back when asked about the fight potentially being a dud. “I barely have a loss and he’s been the champ for four years. It’s a great matchup and what more can you ask for in boxing. I’m not cherry picking or asking for a weak opponent. I want the No. 1 guy that they have at lightweight.”

As for fireworks, Bey says that he’ll do his part on Saturday night.

“That’s kind of in my DNA that I can’t help but look to put on a show,” Bey beams. “Not to where it’s at a fault but the way I fight is automatically exciting because I bring a lot of things to the table.”

Bey was at a fault when trying to bring excitement to the fight got the best of him when Molina floored him. But don’t expect him to feel bad about what happened.

“I gave the fight away by showboating,” Bey says while waving off the notion that he was beaten by the better man. “It will be another story on Saturday. If there was any way to lose it would be by me giving it away. I’m not doing that again.”