Former 147-pound titleholder Randall Bailey returned to the ring for the first time in 13 months with Saturday’s eighth-round disqualification victory over Humberto Toledo in Tampa, Fla.
Bailey (44-8, 37 knockouts), who turned 39 in September, had been in control of Toledo (41-11-2, 25 KOs) before dropping him to one knee.
A 34-year-old who lost for the fourth straight time, Toledo was subsequently disqualified at the 2:15 mark of the round for pushing referee Frank Santore Jr.
“I wasn’t really surprised, because I saw the way that he was responding in the first couple of rounds,” said Bailey, in a prepared release. “I was hitting him hard and often, and he was looking to the referee to find a way out of the fight. The ref wasn’t cooperating with him, so in the eighth round, he took a knee, jumped up and pushed the ref.”
Bailey’s triumph helped him to rebound from his last appearance, a unanimous decision loss to Devon Alexander, who dethroned him as IBF welterweight beltholder at Barclays Center in Brooklyn, N.Y. in October of 2012.
Alexander ended Bailey’s run of four straight wins, the last being his come-from-behind 11th-round knockout of Philadelphia’s previously unbeaten Mike Jones for the belt on the undercard of Tim Bradley’s split-decision over Manny Pacquiao in June of 2012.
“I’d want Bradley next if I could pick,” said Bailey. “He’s avoided me his whole career.”
Bailey’s manager, Si Stern, believes that his fighter still has what it takes to compete with the best.
“Randall proved that he can still fight,” said Bailey’s manager, Si Stern. “He may be 39, but he has the body of somebody in their mid-20s.”
Prior to Alexander, Bailey had last suffered defeat by 11th-round stoppage against Juan Urango in a failed bid to earn the IBF’s junior welterweight belt in August of 2009.
In victory over Jones, Bailey earned his first title since a first-round knockout of Carlos Gonzalez to win the WBO’s junior welterweight crown in May of 1999. Bailey’s record at the time was 18-0, all by stoppage, and he has become known for the concussive, lights-out power in his right hand.
The win over Gonzalez marked Bailey’s 13th first-round knockout, after which he defended twice to improve to 20-0, all by knockout, before losing the title to Ener Julio by split-decision in July of 2000.
Bailey went to 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 next bout by Diosbelys Hurtado.
“He was never in wars, and his body hasn’t taken too much punishment over the years,” said Stern. “Next, I’d like to get him into a tougher fight, and then, a title eliminator. If everything goes according to plans, I think Randall will be fighting for another world title next summer.”
TRAVIS KAUFFMAN RETURNS ON SATURDAY
Heavyweight Travis Kauffman (26-1, 19 KOs) will be after his ninth straight victory and his fifth knockout during that time when he faces Jason Barnett (14-14, 7 KOs) on Saturday at Santander Arena in Reading, Pa.
Kauffman last suffered defeat by fourth-round stoppage to Tony Grano in September of 2009.
Photo by Chris Farina, Top Rank
Lem Satterfield can be reached at email@example.com