By Keith Idec
NEW YORK — Devon Alexander’s message was clear.
As he stood before a ballroom full of people, the former 140-pound champion tried his best to make sure Randall Bailey realizes that he is not Mike Jones. Way down on the scorecards June 8 in Las Vegas, Bailey bombarded the previously unbeaten Jones with power punches in the 10th and 11th rounds to win the vacant IBF welterweight title by technical knockout.
One of boxing’s biggest punchers has promised to annihilate Alexander in similar fashion, but Alexander isn’t easily intimidated. Not only did the skilled southpaw grow up in one of St. Louis’ most dangerous neighborhoods, he has finished fights on his feet against some of the sport’s most powerful punchers.
“I’m excited to be here, to prove myself once again,” Alexander said at a Marriott near the famed Brooklyn Bridge. “You know, I’ve got a lot of doubters, from the [Timothy] Bradley fight, up until the [Lucas] Matthysse fight, to the [Marcos] Maidana fight. I’ve still got doubters, that I’m one of the best in boxing. I’ve still got to prove myself. I feel that and I’m still going to prove myself by taking on Randall Bailey.
“You guys say he’s the ‘KO King’ Bailey and I’m going to show you what I’m going to do to him. I don’t run from anybody. I’ll fight anybody. I’m a throwback fighter. Him and my coach [Kevin Cunningham] have been going back and forth, as you guys can see, back and forth. It’s been funny, but when it’s all said and done me and Randall have got to get in there and we’ve got to get it on.”
The 25-year-old Alexander (23-1, 13 KOs) and the 38-year-old Bailey (43-7, 37 KOs, 1 NC) were supposed to fight Sept. 8, but Bailey’s back injury caused the fight to be postponed six weeks. The scheduled 12-round bout will be one of four televised Saturday night by Showtime from the brand-new Barclays Center.
“I’ve been getting a lot of phone calls. ‘Am I going to make it? Am I OK?,’ ” Bailey said. “They’re going to get what they asked for now. It’s going down Saturday night. Y’all forgot to mention one of the promoters of this show, Kevin Cunningham. He’s been doing a great job of promoting this show. He deserves that because, let me tell you, if you can get me to talk you’re doing a good job.
“But just understand once you’re done with that talking, you’ve got to deal with that problem. It’s a problem. You feel me? So I’m looking way too forward to Saturday night. It’s going to be a great show. I plan on putting on a great show, along with all the other fighters Saturday night. See y’all there.”
Keith Idec covers boxing for The Record and Herald News, of Woodland Park, N.J., and BoxingScene.com. He can be reached on Twitter @Idecboxing.