Print and Go Back ESPN.com: Dan Rafael [Print without images]

Wednesday, June 18, 2014
Mike Jones ending 2-year layoff

By Dan Rafael

Randall Bailey
Mike Jones will make his first appearance in the ring since a 2012 knockout loss to Randall Bailey.
In 2010 and 2011, Philadelphia welterweight Mike Jones began to get a lot of hype. He was undefeated, getting television time, stepping up his level of opposition and had an interesting story in that he held a day job at Home Depot and was a single father.

Then came his shot at a vacant world title against Randall Bailey in June 2012 on the undercard of the first Manny Pacquiao-Timothy Bradley Jr. fight.

It was a horrible, horrible fight. For nine-plus rounds Jones and Bailey stared at each other and moved around the ring. It was agony. It wasn't as if Jones had looked all that good in his previous couple of fights either, but he was nonetheless way ahead of Bailey going into the 10th round (99-91, 98-92 and 97-93).

But Bailey, one of the greatest pure punchers in boxing, dropped Jones late in the 10th round with his vaunted right hand and then knocked him out with it in spectacular fashion in the 11th round.

And just like that, poof, Jones disappeared from boxing (not a bad thing, considering how abysmal his recent fights had been).

Even when there were whispers about a return, it didn't happen as he was either changing trainers (Floyd Mayweather Sr., Eddie Mustafa Muhammad and Miguel Diaz) or beefing with his managers and promoter.

Now Jones (26-1, 19 KOs), 31, of Philadelphia, is launching a comeback. When he steps back into the ring it will have been 26 months since he was erased by Bailey.

Jones, who is training in Las Vegas, will face Jaime Herrera (11-2-1, 6 KOs) in a scheduled 10-round welterweight bout on Aug. 23 (gofightlive.tv) at Bally's Atlantic City in Atlantic City, New Jersey, promoter Russell Peltz announced on Wednesday.

"Two years late for work but it's better late than never," Jones said. "I'm excited to be back. I can't wait to show the fans something special.

"I've always stayed in shape. I've been ready to fight for some time, but I didn't like the terms. I cannot wait forever. If I can get one solid win under my belt, I'll be back in the mix and ready for the best at 147 pounds."

Herrera, 25, of Franklin Park, Illinois, pulled an upset in his last fight, knocking out Top Rank prospect Michael Finney on March 29 in Las Vegas.

"This is a terrific opportunity for me," Herrera said. "It's a big step up but I'm excited to test myself at the next level. Mike Jones is one of the best in the world at 147 pounds and I need to prove to myself and to others out there that I can compete at that level. We've been asking for this fight ever since we heard Mike was fighting again and now it's here. I'm looking forward to the challenge."