Coming off 19-months of inactivity and making his junior middleweight debut last weekend, Randall “KO King” Bailey (45-8, 38 KOs) served notice that he’s making a run at another title in a different weight class.
Three-time, two-division world champion Bailey stopped veteran Gundrick “Sho-Gun” King (18-15, 11 KOs) in the second round with a left hook, not his notorious right, in the main event at Riverdale Center of Arts in Riverdale, Georgia.
“In the first round,” the 40-year-old Bailey explained, “I just wanted to get the feel in the ring and start using my jab. I hit him with a couple of good right hands, but I knew he was experienced and that he was looking for my right. I came out in the second using my jab and left hook, starting to really feel it again. I crushed him with my left hook. I’ve been telling people I have more than my right but they haven’t listened. I did have a little rust in the first round but, in the second, I had my jab working, backed him up with it, and started putting my punches together.
“Fighting at 154 was, well, just another fight. I did feel stronger, though. Now? I just want to stay busy. It doesn’t matter who I fight, I’m not worried about anybody at 154, but I don’t really have enough time left to take baby steps. I want to get right back in the ring. It’s go time for The King!”
“Sho-Gun” King may not be at the top of the junior middleweight ladder but, he’s a battle-tested, experienced opponent, especially as an opponent for a fighter coming off a 1-½ year layoff such as Bailey. Bailey certainly showed enough against King for his head trainer, Orlando Cuellar, to be impressed.
“This was our first fight working together but I’ve seen Randall fight for years,” Cuellar said. “We worked on masking his big right hand by staying busy with his left hand, sitting back on his jab, not falling in, and hooking off his jab. He did it in training camp but sparring and fighting are different. He touched his opponent with his jab in the first round as I instructed. I wanted everything to come off his jab and for him to throw rights to the body, always throwing the first and last punch. In the second round, he effectively used his left hook to the head and body.
“Randall Bailey looked better than he has in three years. He’s not backing up. Randall’s finding range with his jab, hooking off the jab, mixing it up and moving around, going to the head and body. His opponent never saw the left hook because he was looking for the big right. He listened and everything came off his jab. I believe he can be as good as he was five years ago. Now, he’s a real sharp shooter. I was very impressed by his performance and I’m very hopeful about his boxing future.”
Bailey’s longtime manager, Si Stern, summed it up best: “This was his first fight at 154 and he already looks like a champion. He was a little rusty at first but, unlike in the past, he started moving all over the place. With his knockout power and now this movement, left hook and jab, Randall Bailey is even more dangerous than ever before. I’m fielding some calls about fights for him. If it’s a big fight and the money is good, we’ll take that next. But he won’t fight for peanuts, so, if the big fight isn’t there next, we take another fight and hope the one after that is the big one. Randall is ready to fight any junior middleweight in the world……if the price is right.”
Undefeated Cuban heavyweight prospect Robert Alfonso shines
Bailey’s stable-mate, undefeated Cuban heavyweight prospect Robert Alfonso (6-0, 2 KOs), also shined last week on the Bailey-King undercard, starching mammoth Kevin Kelley (1-4, 1 KO) with a thunderous punches in the third round.
The 2008 Cuban Olympian, who now lives and trains in Miami, gave away more than 100 pounds to his 353-pound opponent. Alfonso came out throwing punishing punches from the opening bell, right up until the fight was halted by the referee in the third round.
“I’m very proud of Robert,” his trainer Cuellar noted. “He wasn’t known for his power but Robert’s very strong and he can really crack. He hit this guy with a right-left-right and knocked him down face first. The fight should have been stopped then, but he beat the count and the ref let it continue. It lasted only one more punch. His opponent had never been down before. Robert showed his new character as a legitimate knockout artist. He let his hands go and put his punches together. This cat can really crack! He was aggressive from the start, generating power with every single punch he threw.”
Stern firmly believes he has a future world heavyweight champion in Alfonso. “Robert weighed in at 250 pounds and he delivered a knockout blow to his 363-pound opponent that was incredible to see,” Stern remarked. “He went straight up in the air and landed flat on his face. I was really impressed by Robert’s power. People love watching heavyweights who knockout people and Robert can do that and a lot more. He may have another six-round fight next, or move up to eight rounds. Another three-four fights or so and he’ll be fighting 10-rounders. Our plan is to get him to around 15-0 with 10-11 KOs, which should get him into a world title fight.”