By Jake Donovan
In a battle between boxer and puncher, it’s expected for both sides to negotiate every possible detail in their favor. If the two fighters are welterweight fighting in the state of Nevada, chances are the debate is going to be over the size of gloves used. The boxer will exploit the Nevada exception of a 10 oz. limit for all fights at welterweight and above, while the puncher will campaign for lighter gloves.
It came as a bit of surprise when unbeaten contender Mike Jones – a boxer-puncher, though better known for the former than the latter – selected 8 oz. gloves in his upcoming showdown with respected knockout artist Randall Bailey.
The two will compete for a vacant welterweight belt on the pay-per-view televised undercard of Manny Pacquiao’s own title defense against Tim Bradley this Saturday at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas.
Jones (26-0, 19KO) has never scored a knockout in any fight beyond the club circuit, with his past several appearances on HBO and its PPV undercards all going to the scorecards. A pair of decision wins over Jesus Soto Karass – one in which Jones punched himself early and was fortunate to go all ten rounds – and a points win over Sebastian Lujan make for his career as told to the HBO audience.
While his talent is imminent, Jones and his team are well aware that his reputation in big fights is that of a fighter who thinks win first, look good the next time.
“People say he’s not the most exciting fighter in the world. Everyone was saying before the (Sebastian) Lujan fight what a tough fight it was, and then he went out and neutralized this monster for 12 rounds, but that wasn’t enough,” states Hall of Fame promoter Russell Peltz, who raised Jones from a pup before bringing in Top Rank as a co-promoter.
Even a 40-plus year veteran of the game such as Peltz was taken aback when Jones opted to give Bailey (42-7, 36KO) a puncher’s chance of winning the fight in opting for the smaller gloves.
“It’s amazing that all of the interviews I’ve been at with Mike for this fight, that nobody asked why Mike chose 8 oz gloves for this fight when Bailey is the puncher.
“In Nevada, the rule is that when you get to welterweight if the two fighters don’t agree you get to wear 10 oz. gloves. When it came to Mike, he chose 8 oz, where if he chose the 10 (oz. gloves), they’d wear the 10. Maybe Mike is out to make a statement with the 8 oz. gloves.”
Jones took the maybe out of the equation in explaining his decision during Thursday’s press conference dedicated to the undercard fighters.
“The reason I chose 8 oz. gloves is because I want the best Randall Bailey, and that’s going to bring the best out of me,” Jones insists. “You can always say you’re going to knock someone out, but you have to catch them in order to hit them.”
The bout marks Jones’ first shot at a major title of any kind. The Philly-bred fighter moved into position for a title when he soundly outpointed Lujan last December in their title eliminator at Madison Square Garden.
Jake Donovan is the Managing Editor of Boxingscene.com. Follow Jake on Twitter: @JakeNDaBox or submit questions/comments via e-mail.