Neither fighter is from New York, and their clash will not be the main event of a stacked nine-bout card on Oct. 20, but during a conference call on Wednesday, it was apparent that it was former IBF and WBC junior welterweight titleholder Devon Alexander, of St. Louis, Mo., his trainer, Kevin Cunningham, and IBF welterweight beltholder Randall Bailey who were making noise for the “Brooklyn Pride” promotion that will take place at Barclays Center in Brooklyn.
Bailey (43-7, 37 knockouts) is coming off a come-from-behind 11th-round knockout of Philadelphia’s Mike Jones on the undercard of Tim Bradley‘s controversial split-decision victory over Manny Pacquiao in June. Jones subsequently parted ways with longtime trainer, Vaughn Jackson, after the loss.
Earlier this week, Bailey, 38, had promised a similar “ass whooping” for the southpaw Alexander (23-1, 13 KOs), this, in the wake of Cunningham’s having publicly questioned the validity of a back injury Bailey suffered which forced the postponement of their match up from the originally scheduled date of Sept. 8.
But Cunningham has called Bailey an “old-assed fighter” who will receive the “beating of his life” from Alexander, 25, who is coming off consecutive wins over hard-hitting Argentine countrymen Lucas Matthysse and Marcos Maidana by split- and unanimous decision, respectively.
Below are examples from Wednesday’s verbal barbs from Bailey and Cunningham in response to questions from RingTV.com.
Randall Bailey on what it has taken to recover from the back injury: “It just required a lot of rest. I just had to take the medicine they prescribed for me. I had to take some time off and relax for about two weeks.
“There was not fear in experiencing pain from sparring, because at the end of training camp, you still have to fight. Whenever you’re hurt, you still have to go on. In this situation, though, it didn’t make any sense for me to go into a fight injured.”
Bailey on whether he is being distracted by sparring verbally with Cunningham: “I am completely focused, because it’s all comedy to me, to tell you the truth. Because Mike Jones’ trainer, Vaughn Jackson, was doing the same thing.
“Before the fight, he was saying a whole bunch of stuff and talking a whole bunch of smack, and now, he’s unemployed. So, at the end of the day, after Oct. 20, maybe Devon will be finding himself some new employees.”
Kevin Cunningham’s response: “I heard what he said, but the bottom line is this: Vaughn Jackson is not Kevin Cunningham, and Mike Jones is not Devon Alexander. Vaughn Jackson doesn’t have the accomplishments that I have as a trainer, and neither does Mike Jones have the accomplishments that Devon has as a fighter.
“So, I look at what Randally Bailey says, and nothing that comes out of his mouth has facts to it. He just says things. Basically, it’s part of the hype, but come Saturday night, Oct. 20, he’s going to realize that he’s in with an elite fighter. We all know that Randall Bailey can punch.
“But we also know that Randall Bailey knows how to lose, because he’s lost seven times. And every time he steps into the ring with an elite fighter, he gets an ‘L.’ So that’s the difference in what this whole back and forth and all of this conversation. I’m speaking facts, and this dude is just talking out of the side of his neck.”
Cunningham on Bailey’s being out of his element with the trash-talking: “He’s way out of his element when he’s dealing with me, because, first of all, he doesn’t have the oral skills to even deal with me on that type of level.
“…The last couple of months, I’ve promoted Randall Bailey more than he’s been promoted during his whole, 16-year career, so he should be a little more thankful and grateful.”
Cunningham on the back injury: “Come on man. The man just told you that he was off resting for two weeks after the injury. The fight was Sept. 8, and on that Monday, he was on Twitter talking about he’s in the gym and he’s working hard and he’s feeling good.
“So, I mean, get it together bro. If you were injured, you’re injured. S–t happens, but if you’re on Twitter talking about you’re in the gym working hard on the Monday following the fight? I mean, were you on bed rest for two weeks, or were you in the gym like you Tweeted? You tell me.”
Bailey’s response to Cunningham: “Kevin must be got eyes everywhere, because he just knows so much. He just knows everything. You can’t tell Kevin nothing. Kevin’s like a cartoon in his own show.”
ALEXANDER’S SET TO BACK UP HIS TRAINER’S WORDS
Alexander said that he not only feels no pressure as a result of Cunningham’s boastful comments, but that he, in fact, welcomes and is inspired by them.
“Me and my coach have a beautiful relationship, and whatever my coach says goes for me too. You know, my coach knows what he says and he knows what he’s doing, so whatever he says, I’m right behind him. For me, I talk, and I will talk,” said Alexander.
“But the point is that when me and Bailey get into the ring, these hands will do the talking. I don’t have to talk about what I’m going to do or who I’m going to do it to or whatever, because on Oct. 20, my action is going to speak way louder than words. You can say what you want to say, but you’ve still got to get into the ring. I’m going to leave it at that.”
Cunningham’s assertions, said Alexander, are motivational.
“That’s Kevin. He’s part of my team and that’s him. You know you’ve got to be yourself, and I’m going to be myself,” said Alexander. “That’s how teams work. Everybody’s got to play their position, and that’s what I’m going to do.”
“I handle everything on the outside of the ring, and Devon handles everything on the inside of the ring, and that’s what a perfect team does. I do what I do, and Devon what he does, and that’s what a team does. When you dealing with Team Alexander, that’s what you’re dealing with — a team,” said Cunningham.
“We all know that on fight night, Devon’s got to go into the ring and fight. That’s his job. My job is to handle everything outside of the ring, and to make sure that he gets in position to get great opportunities and to make sure that his career stays relevant, and all of that stuff. This is a business and it’s boxing.”
THE BARCLAYS’ CARD
Bailey-Alexander will lead into a main event featuring a rematch between RING, WBA and WBC junior welterweight champ Danny Garcia and four-division title-winner Erik Morales, preceded by WBA welterweight belt-winner and Brooklyn native Paulie Malignaggi making the first defense of his belt against Pablo Cesar Cano.
Others on the show are middleweight contender Danny Jacobs, of Brooklyn, Brooklyn-born ex-beltholder Luis Collazo, of Queens, welterweight Dmitriy Salita, of Brooklyn and Bronx-born Honduran junior middleweight Eddie Gomez and junior middleweight Boyd Melson, of White Plains, N.Y.
Preliminary bouts will be aired at 7 p.m. (delayed on the West Coast) on Showtime Extreme, with Showtime Boxing’s regular broadcast beginning at 9 p.m.
Tickets are on sale for the card that will be the first boxing event to take place at the new, state-of-the-art sports and entertainment venue. Tickets start at $50 and are available at www.barclayscenter.com, www.ticketmaster.com, all Ticketmaster locations, or at 800-745-3000.
GARCIA ON MORALES: ‘I WANT TO GO IN THERE AND DESTROY HIM’
Philadelphia’s Garcia (24-0, 15 KOs), who is of Puerto Rican descent, is dethroned Morales (52-8, 36 KOs), of Mexico City, as WBC beltholder in March, flooring him in the 11th-round of a unanimous decision.
“It is great to have a fight on the East Coast. It is my comfort zone knowing that I will be able to fight in front of my fans, people from Philly and New York and especially all of the Puerto Ricans that are huge boxing fans and know my background and that I am fighting for them too,” said Garcia.
“I feel so fortunate to have the opportunity to open Barclays Center in Brooklyn. They haven’t had world championship boxing in Brooklyn for more than 80 years and it’s going to be a really special night for me and the rest of the fighters on the show.”
Garcia, 24, is coming off a fourth-round knockout of Amir Khan that earned him THE RING and WBA belts in July.
“I think people are taking me more seriously now,” said Garcia. “It took some time for everyone to realize how serious I am. Then my last few fights showed them that I think and fight like a champion, which is what I am now.”
Morales, who turned 36 last month, will be back in the ring for the first time since losing to Garcia.
“That was my first big fight at such a high level, and I learned a lot from it,” said Garcia. “Morales definitely gave me a harder fight than Khan, and also gave me a chance to fight for a title. If anyone deserved a rematch, it’s Erik Morales for giving me the first chance. That is boxing respect.”
Morales blamed a pre-fight gall bladder surgery for his performance, which is why, this time, Garcia wants to score the knockout.
“Erik Morales is a legend and in the first fight, I probably gave him more respect than I should have,” said Garcia. “This time I am the champion and he is the challenger. Last time I stood in front of him too long and let him think. I can’t let him think. I want to go in there and destroy him.”
Photo by Naoki Fukuda
Photos by Hogan Photos, Golden Boy Promotions
Photo by Rich Kane, Hogan Photos, Golden Boy Promotions
Lem Satterfield can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org