Recovered from a back injury that postponed his welterweight defense against Devon Alexander, Miami’s Randall Bailey has found additional motivation when he faces Alexander on Saturday night in New York.
In the weeks leading to the rescheduled bout, Bailey heard accusations from Alexander’s outspoken trainer, Kevin Cunningham, that he faked the injury. Bailey and Alexander originally were scheduled to fight Sept. 8 in Las Vegas until Bailey’s injury two weeks before the bout.
“Kevin must have eyes everywhere because he knows so much,” Bailey said, sarcastically, last week.
Bailey (43-7, 37 KOs) will defend his International Boxing Federation welterweight belt against Alexander (23-1, 13 KOs) in the first boxing show at the new Barclays Center in Brooklyn. Bailey won the vacant title with an 11th-round knockout over Mike Jones on June 9.
“I am completely focused because it’s all a comedy to me, to tell you the truth, because Mike Jones’ trainer was doing the same thing,” Bailey said of his opposing trainer’s allegations.
“ Vaughn Jackson [Jones’ former trainer] was doing the same thing before the fight, saying a whole bunch of stuff, talking a whole bunch of smack and now he’s unemployed. So, at the end of the day, on [Saturday] maybe Devon will be finding him some new employees.”
Alexander, of St. Louis, doesn’t mind his trainer’s high-voltage talk in the hype leading to the fight.
“Me and my coach have a beautiful relationship and whatever my coach says goes for me, too,” Alexander said. “My coach knows what he says and he knows what he’s doing, so whatever he says I’m right behind him.”
The Bailey-Alexander bout is part of a card that will feature three additional title fights. Danny Garcia will defend two sanctioning body super-lightweight titles against four-division titleholder Erik Morales, Paulie Malignaggi will make the first defense of his World Boxing Association welterweight belt against Pablo Cesar Cano and Peter Quillin will face Hassan N’Jikam for the vacant World Boxing Organization middleweight title.
Eyes on Kissimmee
Miami-based promoter Felix “Tutico” Zabala Jr. has presented shows in Kissimmee for the past 12 years. Media coverage for Zabala’s shows usually consists of local news services, boxing-themed websites and the Telemundo network that televises his main event bouts.
But Zabala’s next card at the Kissimmee Civic Center on Friday night will attract national and international media attention.
Puerto Rico’s Orlando Cruz will make his first ring appearance since disclosing he was gay three weeks ago. Cruz, who will fight Mexico’s Jorge Pazos in the main event, is believed to be the first active male fighter to reveal he is gay.
“The demand for credentials has been overwhelming,” Zabala said. “We have had requests from the BBC and media services in Germany and Latin America. For the first time since I’ve been doing shows in Kissimmee, all three major Puerto Rican newspapers will cover the fight.
“Right now, I believe the media count is about 25, but that might be a low figure. I wouldn’t be surprised if it goes past 50.”
A member of Puerto Rico’s 2000 Olympic team, Cruz, 31, will face Pazos for a regional featherweight title.
Nonito Donaire retained his WBO junior-featherweight title with a ninth-round technical knockout over Toshiaki Nishioka in Carson, Calif. On the same card, Brandon Rios scored a seventh-round TKO over Mike Alvarado in a junior-welterweight bout.