LAS VEGAS — Philadelphia’s Mike Jones said he requested eight-ounce gloves for Saturday night’s IBF welterweight title bout because he wanted to face the very best of 37-year-old Randall Bailey, who is known for his powerful, lights-out right hand.
Bailey gave Jones just what he asked for.
Trailing by four, six and eight points on the judges’ cards, and being out-boxed by the 29-year-old Jones, Bailey dropped his rival with right hands in the 10th and 11th rounds, the second time for good as he scored the 37th knockout of his career, improving to 43-7 and earning the crown.
“I take nothing away from Mike Jones. I gave it all that I’ve got,” said Bailey, whose victory came on the undercard of the Manny Pacquiao-Tim Bradley showdown at the MGM Grand Garden Arena. “I got those punches in deep.”
Jones (26-1, 19 KOs) was ahead, 99-91, 98-92, and, 97-93 on the cards of Jack Reiss, Dave Moretti and Ricardo Ocasio at the time of the stoppage.
Jones was dropped with a right hand that split his guard and put him on his back at the end of the 10th, but struggled to his feet and was fortunate that the bell ended the round.
But after seemingly being on the way to winning the 11th, Jones was drilled by a head-swiveling right uppercut that landed him on his back yet again.
This time, Jones attempted to rise, but fell, face-first, back to the canvas before referee Tony Weeks waved an end to the fight at 2:52.
“I never saw either punch,” said Jones. “And I couldn’t handle them.”
Jones out-landed Bailey in total punches, 116-52, with an advantage of 47-34 in jabs and 69-18 in power punches.
The belt was the second for Bailey, whose first-round knnockout of Carlos Gonzalez for the WBO’s junior welterweight crown in May of 1999 raised his record to 18-0, all by stoppage.
The win over Gonzalez marked Bailey’s 13th first-round knockout. Bailey defended that crown twice more to improve to 20-0, all by knockout, before beind dethroned by Ener Julio by split-decision in July of 2000.
Bailey was 24-1 with 24 knockouts after earning the WBA’s interim title with a third-round knockout of Demetrios Ceballos in February of 2002, but was stopped for the first time in his career in his next bout via seventh-round knockout against Diosbelys Hurtado in May of 2002.
Bailey was 25-2, all of his wins by knockout, before losing the third bout of his career by unanimous decision to DeMarcus Corley in January of 2003.
Jones had recently overome rugged Argentine slugger Sebastian Lujan by unanimous decision last month, ending Lujan’s 12-fight winning streak that had included six knockouts.
By defeating Lujan, the 28-year-old contender earned the No. 1 spot in the IBF’s ratings and a berth against IBF No. 2-rated Bailey for the belt that was vacated by Andre Berto.
Jones had been a potential rival for the winner of Pacquiao-Bradley, according to Top Rank CEO Bob Arum.
Photo/Chris Farina – Top Rank
Lem Satterfield can be reached at email@example.com