For the past few years, two-time world champion Randall "The Knockout King" Bailey has been one of the most avoided boxers in the world, largely due to his awesome punching power, which has put 36 of his 42 victims to sleep.
The ageless Floridian gets an overdue opportunity on June 9 to capture his third world title as he takes on Mike Jones for the vacant International Boxing Federation ("IBF") Welterweight Championship, in the 12-round co-feature on the Manny Pacquiao-Timothy Bradley pay-per-view card, live from MGM Grand in Las Vegas.
"I just kept my fingers crossed and left things to my manager (Si Stern) and promoter (Lou DiBella)," remarked Bailey while speaking about being avoided. "Guys claimed that they were fighting me but when it came time to sign a contract, they turned down fights. I feel that nobody wants to take a chance fighting me. I have to keep winning the right fights like this one and eventually the really big fights will happen."
IBF #1 contender Jones (26-0, 19 KOs) passed on one opportunity to fight IBF #2 Bailey (42-7, 36 KOs), who earned his way into a mandatory title fight by stopping Jackson Osei Bonsu in the first round of their March 19, 2010, IBF title eliminator in Belgium.
"We went down the list for that eliminator," Bailey explained, "and Jones was ranked ahead of Bonsu but he (Jones) turned down the fight. Now, he’s in a position where he doesn’t have a choice but to fight me.
"In my head, he’s a dangerous puncher, and that’s how I’m training, like he’s the toughest guy I’ve ever fought. By doing that, I’ll be prepared for whatever he brings into the ring. I’m working the hardest I can for what he’s bringing on June 9th. There won’t be any surprises."
Randall won his first 21 pro fights, all by knockout, including his World Boxing Organization ("WBO") light welterweight title-winning performance against Carlos Gonzalez in 1999. Two successful title defenses followed for Randall against Hector Lopez and Rocky Martinez. Bailey stopped Demetrio Ceballos in the third round to become the Interim World Boxing Association ("WBA") Light Welterweight Champion in 2002.
"I never hit (in terms of mainstream popularity) when I was world champion," Randall promised, "and I will have that same attitude but, first, I need to beat Mike Jones."
Arguably the most powerful pound-for-pound puncher in the world, in addition to Bonsu, Martinez, Ceballos and Lopez, Bailey has also stopped Juan Polo Perez, Harrison Cuello, Frankie Figueroa, Santos Pakau, Anthony Mora and Juan Polo Perez.
"I most definitely know when I hit my opponent right," Bailey remarked. "I didn’t really have to do too much earlier in my career because I was fighting at 140 pounds and weighted 146 walking around. I’d get calls to fight, only two weeks in advance, and take it because I wouldn’t have trouble losing weight. I was young with energy to spare. Knockouts came a lot easier for me back then. I was like a bull back then, going forward throwing bombs and looking to knock out guys. Now, I’m more patient, letting my opponents make mistakes and then capitalizing. That’s what patience is all about; they run into my bomb. When I hit somebody right, I pretty much know what the outcome will be. I believe I have the power to put anybody’s lights out if I hit them clean."