Catching Up With Randall Bailey Miami, Fl
By: Boxing Writer Carl J. Hewitt, Bronx, NY
Former WBO Junior Welterweight champion Randall ‘The Knockout King’ Bailey and Philly’s Mike Jones are tentatively scheduled to meet for the IBF Welterweight belt in either March or April, even though a definite date and venue have yet to be nailed down.
I was able to speak with Randall and get his thoughts on a number of topics pertaining to his career and new division.
Real Combat Media: How are you doing this evening, Randall?
Randall Bailey: It’s all good — just chillin after doing my thing at the gym.
RCM: How did you get your start in boxing, Randall?
RB: Well, I was home just chilling with nothing to do and asked my mom to take me to the gym — she took me and it was on from there…
RCM: What fighter influenced you the most in your early years as a professional? Any of the 80s guys like Aaron Pryor, Alexis Arguello or Marlon Starling?
RB: Well, to be honest, I wasn’t a boxing fan. I used to fight all the time and get in trouble, so I was just looking for a way I could beat people up without getting in trouble — boxing was the way. I read a book on Ray Leonard in elementary school called ‘The BabyFaced Killer’. But honestly, once I got into boxing I looked up to guys that were in my presence, guys like Freddie Pendelton, Jose Ribolta, Sugar Baby Rojas, and Felix Trinadad — guys like that.
RCM: Bob Arum says that the IBF Welterweight title fight with Mike Jones is a go for March or April. What are your thoughts on the amount of time you’ve had to sit on the sideline and wait for your mandatory shot?
RB: Its all good. I dont complain. I’m 37 and the rest don’t bother me. Just know that when we do fight, I’ll be 150% ready.
RCM: Mike Jones was on BoxingScene not long ago saying that he was ready for you next. Would you consider Jones your toughest opponent to date, or would that honor go to Miguel Cotto, a fighter you fought seven years ago?
RB: Well, I’m glad Mike Jones feels he’s ready for me. And I don’t think he’ll be my toughest fight. I think it will be a good fight for as long as it lasts. As far as Cotto — he just got me at the right time.
RCM: Randall, you had to fight two IBF Welterweight Title Eliminators in Belgium, the first one a first round knockout of Jackson Bonsu. Did you find it frustrating having to take the hard road to a title shot, then having to sit around waiting to see how the situation with Zaveck-Berto played out?
RB: I’m a realist. I get it how I can. Fight one eliminater or two eliminaters — it didn’t matter. At 147, it dont matter. At 147, I’m stronger, better and down for whatever whenever. Anyone at 147 can get it. I’m a very patient person, so I’ll be here when they’re ready is how I look at it.
RCM: It initially appeared that you’d be facing Andre Berto after he won the IBF belt against Jan Zaveck in September, but HBO indicated that it had no interest in a fight between the two of you. As a result, Berto vacated the IBF belt to take a rematch with Victor Ortiz. How will your preparation for Jones be different than it would have been for Berto?
RB: Hey, preparation is just what it is — train hard and full steam ahead. Sparring partners are the only difference. With Jones as the opponent, they gotta be taller now, but I will be attacking.
RCM: Have you found it harder getting a title shot at 140 or 147?
RB: Well, I look at like this — at 140, I was always in the mix, while at 147, I had to stake a claim by beating two top 10 fighters, which was no problem. To answer that, you get what u work for. It’s always been hard.
RCM: You came in at 143 1/4 lbs. for the Said Ouali fight in Belgium last year. Was there a reason for coming in that light for that particular fight?
RB: Nah. Camp was just great and I had been on weight days before the fight and didn’t do much training once I got to Belgium. I was still eating — my body just burns calories fast and I’m very thankful for that.
RCM: Not many fighters can boast a 72% KO percentage with as many fights as you’ve had. What do you attribute your punching power to?
RB: It’s God’s gift. I’ve learned some little tricks along the way to increase it some, but it’s mostly all natural.
RCM: What did you think about the ending of the Mayweather-Ortiz fight in September? Many fans believe that the division needs some new blood right now…
RB: Well, it’s a lot of mess going on right now. If you’re not with Golden Boy, you can’t fight Floyd. If you’re not with Top Rank, you can’t fight Manny. And they’re not gonna put them in with a hungry fighter that’s not signed by either promoter. So yeah, we need some new blood — fresh young faces. But I don’t really see any besides Andre Ward. Truth.
RCM: How do you think Berto-Ortiz II will play out? Would you like the winner next, if you win against Jones?
RB: I think Ortiz wins again, and yes, I would like to fight the winner of that fight, if it’s a fight that will get me closer to a Manny or Mayweather fight.
RCM: What message would you like to share with your fans about your career and the sport of boxing in general?
RB: I would to thank them so much for their support and ask that they keep me in their prayers because pleasing the crowd is what I like to do. Boxing has alot more then Manny Pacquiao and Floyd Mayweather. Give these other guys a chance and boxing will be just fine.
RCM: It’s been a pleasure speaking with you, champ. I appreciate you taking time out from training to share your thoughts with the fans out there. We look forward to seeing a great show against Mike Jones in a few months. God Bless.
RB: No doubt, Carl. Anytime.
Since an agreement could not be worked out by the promoters of Randall Bailey and Jones, the IBF Welterweight title fight will go to a purse bid on January 24th. As always, Real Combat Media will keep its readers posted.
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