By Jake Donovan
Randall Bailey has always been the walking definition of action speaking louder than words. The 37-year old knockout artist has never had much to say to opponents prior to a fight; there’s no need for hyperbole when you’re capable of ending any given fight with a single punch.
The same approach was taken by Bailey during Thursday’s final pre-fight press conference for all of the undercard fighters on this weekend’s card at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas. Headlining is pound-for-pound king and welterweight titlist Manny Pacquiao defending against unbeaten Tim Bradley.
In a supporting bout, Bailey vies for a vacant welterweight belt of his own as he squares off against unbeaten contender Mike Jones (26-0, 19KO). The bout will air live on pay-per-view this Saturday.
The bout is being sold as a potential sleeper hit, especially if Bailey is able to land something major. The Floridian boasts fight altering power, even in the latter stages of his career. It’s been evident throughout his 16-year career, most notably his 43-second blitzing of Carlos ‘Bolillo’ Gonzalez to win his only major title way back in 1999.
Bailey has fallen short in three separate title shots since then, suffering stoppage losses to Diosbelys Hurtado and Juan Urango and a decision loss to DeMarcus ‘Chop Chop’ Corley. Where he has prospered in recent years is in opportunities leading to title shots, scoring highlight reel knockouts of ‘Gato’ Figeuroa and Jackson Bonsu.
Though notable wins haven’t come quite as easy for Bailey, the fact that a fighter’s power is usually the last thing to go is not at all lost on Jones and his camp.
“They say the last thing a fighter loses is his punch. Maybe Randall Bailey is 37 years old. My boyhood idol was Harold Johnson,” notes Hall of Fame promoter Russell Peltz, who co-promotes Jones. “He came to one of my fights in Philly a couple of years ago. He was 70 years old and there was this unruly fan in back of him who spilled beer on Harold. He offered his half-apology, half-laugh, and Harold drilled him with a right hand, probably the best punch landed that night.
“So, fighters don’t lose their punch as they get older.”
Bailey (42-7, 36KO) is humble by nature and appreciative of any kind words thrown his way. That said, the knockout artist isn’t in search of verbal validation at this stage of his career. All he wants is to lace ‘em up and take a swing at what could be his last shot at a major title.
“If you know me from my past, you know I don’t do a lot of talking,” Bailey said in his brief comments to the assembled media on hand for Thursday’s undercard press conference in Las Vegas. “We came well prepared. We’ve seen Mike Jones and we’re ready for the task at hand. It’s fittin’ to be a war. There’s no time for all that talk and riff-raff. When the bell goes ding-ding, it’s going to be on.”
Jake Donovan is the Managing Editor of Boxingscene.com. Follow Jake on Twitter: @JakeNDaBox or submit questions/comments via e-mail.