By Chris Robinson
On the night of February 19th, 2011, undefeated junior lightweight Mickey Bey Jr. suffered the only blemish of his career when he was held to a majority draw against Fort Worth, Texas' Jose Hernandez inside of the Mandalay Bay in Las Vegas. The disappointment following the verdict ran deep for the Cleveland, Ohio native, especially considering the fact that Bey feels he wasn’t at his best for a particular reason.
A day after the fight Bey would reach out to me with some important news, as he stated that he had fractured both of his hands in the third round of the fight, thus preventing him from delivering the type of performance he had been hoping for. Even more frustrating was the fact that the 28-year old had inked an exclusive deal with Top Rank Promotions one fight prior and was hoping to angle himself for a huge 2011 campaign.
Bey would give himself some months to allow his injuries to heal and when it was announced that he would be appearing on the televised portion of ESPN’s Friday Night Fights on July 1st I decided to catch up with him. Days after reconnecting over the phone I met up with Bey as he trained out Johnny Tocco's on the East side of Las Vegas for a crucial bout in his career.
Prior to his workout I asked Bey about his draw with Hernandez months earlier and the feelings he had after having some time to reflect on the situation.
"I put it like this,” Bey told me. “Anybody else with two fractured hands would have quit in that fight. It was a hard fight, probably would have been a competitive fight regardless, but was worse with two fractured hands from the third round on. I had to stay smart, buy time, fight as hard as I could. I couldn't quit, that wasn't an option. The pain was so bad that I was surprised myself that I kept going. But I could never going."
At the time Bey’s trainer Jeff Mayweather was down in Panama getting Celestino Caballero ready for his recent title shot at WBA featherweight champion Jonathan Barros and Floyd Mayweather Sr. was overseeing his duties. Floyd Sr. had actually worked with Bey years back and the two men appeared to pick up where they had last left off.
"It's great. It's been great. I've been working with Floyd. That's who taught me the professional game since I first started boxing. It's just great working with him. I just loved working with Floyd, he's taught me a lot from when I first started and we've picked it up for this camp. I'm sure the results will be great on July 1st,” stated Bey.
Bey definitely appeared to be a new man as he was in rare form against overmatched Alejandro Rodriguez in San Antonio, Texas on the first of July. Working behind a solid jab, Bey began landing serious leather in the opening rounds and was in complete control before a crushing right hand in the 4th round dropped his Mexican foe not once, but twice as the fight was waived off.
A title shot may not be around the corner but you can tell how grateful Bey is just to be back.
“It felt good to be back in, even better that I didn’t injure my hand like I did the last two fights. My left hand was kind of sore but no serious injury. It felt great. I always try to take a page and learn something out of everything. So, I just wanted to make sure that I was sharp this fight.”