Barclays Center, Brooklyn, New York - Renowned trainer George Benton famously said “Win today, look good next time.” Devon Alexander did just that in taking Randall Bailey’s IBF welterweight title, moving to 24-1 (13 KOs) as a pro with a clear-cut, but horrific to watch, 12 round unanimous decision win.
Scores were 115-111, 116-110, and 117-109 in a bout so devoid of action that Baileys 45 landed punches set a record for the fewest in a 12 round fight since CompuBox began tracking such numbers 27 years ago. Alexander was no ball of fire either, landing just 120 shots over 12 rounds.
There was little action in the early going, prompting the appearance of some boo birds, but in this feeling out process, Bailey (43-8, 37 KOs) kept a slow but steady pressure on Alexander throughout the opening three minutes, staying close enough to do damage if he decided to let his hands go.
In the second minute of round two, he did just that. Well, at least one hand – his concussive right – and he jarred Alexander briefly, but was unable to follow up.
St. Louis’ Alexander began to find his rhythm in the third round as Bailey fought a Randall Bailey fight: walking and stalking and looking to land a right hand but nothing else. In the fourth, things got worse, as the two either pawed at each other or clinched, refusing to get into any consistent exchanges.
A clinch saved Alexander from some serious trouble in the fifth, as he tied up just as Bailey unleashed the right, but he wasn’t as lucky with a minute remaining, as he ate two to the face. “The Great” took each shot well though, and he tried to get even immediately before the combatants got tangled up again.
With a minute left in the sixth, referee Arthur Mercante Jr. took a point from both fighters for holding, hopefully to send a message to both. It was seemingly to no avail, as Bailey responded by pushing Alexander, drawing a warning, and Alexander got a punch off during the break. At least they were showing variety in their fouling, if not their fighting.
Round seven was no better, though each at least attempted to be busier, and in the eighth, Alexander finally began to show off the skills that won him a world title at 140 pounds.
By midway through the ninth, Bailey began stealing glimpses at the clock while Alexander picked and pecked at him enough to take the rounds and begin pulling away. All that was left was seeing if Alexander could avoid a home run swing from the 38-year-old Floridian, and he did just that, coasting to the final bell while picking up another title.
Now for that next time….