Unwilling to rest on the laurels of his dramatic title-winning performance on June 9, Miami’s Randall Bailey welcomes the immediate opportunity to fight as a defending world champion.
Bailey will make the first defense of his International Boxing Federation welterweight title against Devon Alexander on Sept. 8. The fight at the Hard Rock Hotel in Las Vegas will be televised by Showtime.
In contemporary boxing, Bailey’s fight is a quick turnaround from his knockout victory over Mike Jones for the vacant title. The match was on the undercard of the Manny Pacquiao- Timothy Bradley welterweight title fight in Las Vegas. Today, fighters usually milk the euphoria of an impressive title win rather than make of a quick return to the ring.
Bailey, 37, preferred another option and is in the final phases of preparing for Alexander. Like Bailey, Alexander is a former junior-welterweight champion seeking a welterweight belt.
“I’m in great shape, I really didn’t take much time off after my fight with Jones,” Bailey said Saturday. “There was no huge physical toll from that fight that has affected me while getting ready for Alexander.”
Bailey (43-7, 37 KOs) also believes that his career window is open for big paydays and marquee fights. As a result, Bailey accepted to fight Alexander but objected to the original site of St. Louis, Alexander’s hometown.
“I look at some people’s careers and many of them got the impressive pay early while others fought on until the rewards came later,” Bailey said. “Hopefully, I am in a situation now that my rewards are going to come now.”
As for the original fight location, Bailey said: “When [promoters] first suggested St. Louis, I didn’t feel that I should be going to his hometown. If he is so popular in St. Louis, then those fans can go to Las Vegas, just like fans from the Philippines have done for Pacquiao and fans from England did for Ricky Hatton, when they’ve fought in Las Vegas.”
Although he considers the victory over Jones “history,” Bailey rejoiced for only a few weeks. Bailey had reason to celebrate, considering that he turned an anticipated loss in the scorecards into a late knockout finish.
“That was a great time, I especially enjoyed the parade the city of Key West did for me,” said Bailey, who has fought three bouts in Key West. “The people there have shown me great love throughout the years. When I won the title, I felt I won it as much for them as for my people here in Miami.”
Bailey looks forward to future celebrations but needs to overcome his first obstacle as champ. Alexander (23-3-1, 13 KOs) had a 17-month title run in the 140-pound class before his technical decision loss to Bradley in a title-unification fight in January 2011.
“He’s said that he’s going to outbox me and that being a southpaw will be his advantage,” Bailey said. “I’ve fought southpaws before. They throw the straight left and right hook. It’s not magic. Is he going to have fire coming out of his gloves? I don’t think so.”
And, as Jones learned, any opponent’s plan to beat Bailey by a decision could prove costly.
“If I don’t do anything else, I’m going to hit him,” Bailey said. “We’ll see how he responds then.”