Dan Rafael: Randall Bailey

John David Jackson joins Iron Mike

August, 5, 2013
Former junior middleweight titleholder John David Jackson has been one of boxing's top trainers for several years. Now he will be working with a number of new fighters after being hired as a trainer for Iron Mike Productions, the company announced.

"I'm very happy to be reunited with John David Jackson," said Henry Rivalta, head of boxing operations for Iron Mike Productions. "We worked together in 2008 at [promotional company] The Heavyweight Factory. He brings a lot to the table and is an incredible asset on our coaching staff. Our fighters are going to benefit from John David's teaching."

Jackson has worked with Bernard Hopkins, Shane Mosley and currently trains former welterweight titlist Randall Bailey and light heavyweight contender Sergey Kovalev.

Jackson will be co-head coach of Iron Mike Productions' fighters with Herman Caicedo. One of the assistants on staff is Micky Ward and longtime Tyson assistant trainer Stacey McKinley.

"Caicedo, Jackson, Ward and all our other coaches complement each other and give our kids a ton of invaluable experience," Rivalta said.

Iron Mike Productions had been Acquinity Sports until former heavyweight champion Mike Tyson came on board as a partner.

The company is promoting its first card with Tyson's involvement on Aug. 23 (ESPN2) at the Turning Stone Resort Casino in Verona, N.Y., where junior lightweight titlist Argenis Mendez (21-2, 11 KOs) will make his first defense when he faces Arash Usmanee (20-1, 10 KOs) in the main event. Jesus Marcello Andres Cuellar (22-1, 18 KOs) will meet Claudio Marrero (14-0, 11 KOs) for a vacant interim featherweight belt in the co-feature.

Dulorme search ends with Figueroa

July, 19, 2013
The hunt for an opponent for welterweight prospect Thomas Dulorme was long and arduous, and it has ended with southpaw Frankie Figueroa.

After weeks in which Dulorme's team and HBO ran through numerous names, Dulorme will face Figueroa on Aug. 17 at the Revel Casino-Hotel in Atlantic City, N.J. The fight will land on the undercard of middleweight titlist Daniel Geale's defense against Darren Barker.

While Geale-Barker and junior featherweight Jonathan "Momo" Romero's defense against Kiko Martinez will air live on HBO, Dulorme-Figueroa will air later that night on tape delay on HBO Latino in Spanish as part of the network's initiative to highlight some of boxing's up-and-coming Hispanic fighters.

Dulorme (18-1, 13 KOs), 23, of Puerto Rico, was on everyone's short list of top prospects until he was stopped in the seventh round by Luis Carlos Abregu in October. But he was rushed into that fight. Dulorme wasn't ready for somebody the caliber of Abregu, and he paid the price.

He has won both of his fights since, a first-round knockout of Eddie Brooks followed by an eight-round decision against Ben Ankrah in April.

Dulorme was originally supposed to fight former lightweight titlist Paul Spadafora, who has been at junior welterweight in recent years, on Aug. 17, but Spadafora ultimately pulled out of the fight. Then came the endless list of other possibilities, including Nick Casal, Vernon Paris and Ricardo Williams Jr., to name a few. But for a variety of reasons, none of them worked out.

New York's Figueroa (20-5-1), a 35-year-old who is originally from Puerto Rico, has been stopped only once, and that was by huge puncher Randall Bailey in 2009. But including that fight, Figueroa is 0-3-1 in his past four fights. He also didn't fight in 2010 or 2011 before returning in 2012 and losing twice. At least he is durable and ought to provide Dulorme with some rounds.

More 2012 awards in boxing

January, 2, 2013
Robert Garcia and Kelly PavlikAP Photo/Cal Sport MediaFormer middleweight champ Kelly Pavlik is one of trainer Robert Garcia's latest reclamation projects.

Yes, 2012 is in the books, but beyond last week’s daily annual awards for fighter, knockout, round, prospect and fight of the year, here is part 1 of some additional awards:

Trainer of the year: This was a slam dunk: Robert Garcia had a huge year as head trainer for fighter of the year Nonito Donaire, who moved up in weight, won two junior featherweight belts and went 4-0 against four quality opponents. But Garcia had more going for him than just Donaire. He also trains Brandon Rios, who was in tremendous shape for his ultra-exciting knockout win against Mike Alvarado in the fight of the year runner-up (after being massively weight drained for a gift decision against Richard Abril in April), and younger brother Mikey Garcia, who stayed undefeated and will challenge for a featherweight world title against Orlando Salido on HBO on Jan. 19. Garcia also took over as trainer for former junior welterweight titlist Marcos Maidana, who is 2-0 with Garcia after a switching to him after a loss, and continues to work with former middleweight champ Kelly Pavlik, who won his three 2012 fights, albeit against lesser opposition.

Manager of the year: I’m calling a tie between Cameron Dunkin and Frank Espinoza, who compete for talent and even used to work closely with each other. Both did extremely well in 2012, moving their fighters and generating career paydays for them without the benefits the networks give Al Haymon because of his relationship with Floyd Mayweather Jr.

Dunkin is a candidate year in and year out, but had a particularly strong 2012. He was a major factor in getting fighter of the year Donaire on HBO four times for the biggest purses of his career. Although Timothy Bradley Jr. fought only once, Dunkin was a big part of getting him a fight with Manny Pacquiao for a career-high payday of $5 million. Dunkin also guides the careers of Rios, Garcia and Pavlik, among others. One thing about Dunkin: He’ll fight for his clients with the same passion that they do in the ring.

Espinoza guided Abner Mares to a junior featherweight world title (after he moved up from bantamweight) and Daniel Ponce De Leon to a featherweight title. He also got Carlos Molina, a decent lightweight prospect, a career payday against Amir Khan and signed talented two-time Mexican Olympian Oscar Valdez to a stable that also includes other prospects.

Upset of the year: There were several surprising results but I thought Sonny Boy Jaro’s sixth-round destruction of future Hall of Famer Pongsaklek Wonjongkam on the road in Thailand to win a flyweight title was as shocking as any outcome in recent years. Wonjongkam was not what he was at his best during his first reign (2001 to 2007, with a division-record 17 defenses) but he had reclaimed the title and had made four defenses before meeting Jaro, a journeyman from the Philippines. Jaro dropped him in the first and fourth rounds and twice more in the sixth to take the title and hand Wonjongkam only his second loss since 1996.

[+] EnlargeJosesito Lopez and Victor Ortiz
Tom Casino/ShowtimeJosesito Lopez broke Victor Ortiz's jaw in a great and surprising fight this past year.
There were a slew of other upsets too, including: Josesito Lopez, in his “Rocky moment,” breaking Victor Ortiz’s jaw and stopping him after nine rounds; Mario Rodriguez’s knockout of Nkosinathi Joyi in the seventh round to claim a strawweight title; Austin Trout outpointing Miguel Cotto in his house at Madison Square Garden to retain a junior middleweight belt; heavyweight Johnathon Banks drilling Seth Mitchell in the second round; journeyman Gamaliel Diaz outpointing Takahiro Ao in Japan to win a junior lightweight belt; Danny Garcia rallying for a fourth-round knockout of Amir Khan to unify junior welterweight belts; Carl Froch’s fifth-round knockout of then undefeated Lucian Bute to win a super middleweight title; Paulie Malignaggi going to Ukraine and not only handing Vyacheslav Senchenko his first loss, but doing so by TKO to win a welterweight belt; light heavyweight Denis Grachev’s stunning eighth-round rally to knock out heavily touted Ismayl Sillakh.

Worst stoppage of the year: If you follow boxing you know that former cruiserweight titlist Enzo Maccarinelli has a glass chin. But his second-round stoppage loss to Ovill McKenzie in a Commonwealth light heavyweight title bout in November had nothing to do with his chin and everything to do with incompetent referee Ian John-Lewis, who stopped the fight because of, well, absolutely nothing.

Robbery of the year: Hands down, Pacquiao-Bradley. Judges Duane Ford and C.J. Ross were on another planet with their scores that gave Bradley a spit decision. Then Ford made himself look even more foolish when he told HBO’s Jim Lampley that Bradley had given Pacquiao a “boxing lesson.” Somebody should give him a judging lesson.

Worst fights of the year: 1. As I fully expected, lightweight titlist Miguel Vazquez’s defense against Mercito Gesta was putrid and stunk up the Marquez-Pacquiao undercard. 2. Devon Alexander’s welterweight title win against Randall Bailey also stunk out loud. How bad? CompuBox has tracked punch statistics for 27 years covering thousands of fights. Bailey landed just 45 of 198 punches, the fewest ever landed in a 12-round fight that CompuBox has tracked. 3. The fight between Sergiy Dzinziruk and Jonathan Gonzalez (who showed up nine pounds overweight for what was supposed to be a junior middleweight fight) was agony. It was ruled a draw. Nobody won, not either fighter and certainly not the HBO viewers.

[+] EnlargeDanny Jacobs
Ed Mulholland/US PresswireReturning to boxing after beating cancer was a great accomplishment for middleweight contender Daniel Jacobs.
Comeback of the year I: Middleweight Daniel Jacobs, the 2009 ESPN.com prospect of the year, made a triumphant return in October after being idle for 19 months because of a battle with cancer that nearly killed him. Forget about boxing, Jacobs was lucky to be alive, so when he fought in his hometown of Brooklyn, N.Y., and knocked out Josh Luteran in the first round it was quite emotional.

Comeback of the year II: Yeah, Ricky Hatton got knocked out by Senchenko but how can you not be impressed by what Hatton did? The former junior welterweight champ came back 3 years after being severely knocked out by Pacquiao and a descent into depression, drug and alcohol abuse, significant weight gain and multiple suicide attempts. But he got his life together, got in great shape mentally and physically and was winning before getting caught by a ninth-round body shot. Hatton retired again, but fought well and looked like he could still contend if he wanted to fight on.

Nevada commission will be busy

August, 23, 2012
The boxing schedule really cooled off during the hot summer, but there are a number of significant cards coming in the fall, which is why the Nevada State Athletic Commission is going to be quite busy.

The agenda for the monthly commission meeting on Friday in Las Vegas is packed, as there are several items the panel must deal with ahead of a loaded schedule that begins in the coming weeks. There are also several MMA items on the agenda, which is about as heavy as any I have seen.

Here's a look at some of the notable boxing items:

• Middleweight champ Sergio Martinez, former junior middleweight titlist Joachim Alcine and former flyweight titlist Eric Morel all have passed their 35th birthdays, which is the cutoff age in Nevada at which a fighter needs to seek special commission permission for a license. Fighters under 35 can be issued a license administratively so long as they pay the $25 fee and have their medical paperwork in order. But after a fighter hits 35, additional medical testing is required and the license must be approved by the full commission.

All three are likely to be licensed without issue. Martinez, of course, will headline the Sept. 15 HBO PPV card against titleholder Julio Cesar Chavez Jr. at the Thomas & Mack Center. Alcine will face middleweight contender Matthew Macklin on the undercard. Morel is due to challenge bantamweight titlist Leo Santa Cruz on the competing Showtime quadrupleheader (headlined by junior middleweight titlist Saul "Canelo" Alvarez against Josesito Lopez) down the street at the MGM Grand.

• Every time there is a boxing card held in Nevada, the promoters of the event must formally request the date from the commission. Several of those items are on the agenda. Golden Boy will officially request Sept. 8 for a Showtime card at the Hard Rock in Las Vegas. Welterweight titlist Randall Bailey will defend against Devon Alexander in the main event, with Ajose Olusegun facing Lucas Matthysse for a vacant interim junior welterweight title in the co-feature.

Lou DiBella, who promotes Martinez, is requesting Sept. 15 to co-promote the Martinez-Chavez card with Top Rank, while Dan Goossen, Lopez's co-promoter, is requesting Sept. 15 to co-promote the MGM Grand show.

• Top Rank will formally seek to reserve Nov. 10 at the MGM Grand for an HBO PPV show. That was supposed to be the card on which Manny Pacquiao would make his return, although his opponent isn't yet set and Pacquiao's fight likely will move to Dec. 1 instead.

• Commission meetings are also where referees and judges for major fights are assigned. A slew of them will be assigned at Friday's meeting, including those for Bailey-Alexander, Olusegun-Matthysse, Alvarez-Lopez, the featherweight title bout between Jhonny Gonzalez and challenger Daniel Ponce De Leon (part of the Sept. 15 MGM show), Santa Cruz-Morel, Martinez-Chavez and the vacant junior lightweight title bout between Miguel Beltran Jr. and Roman Martinez, who will fight on the Sept. 15 Thomas & Mack card.

• One item not on the agenda that was expected to be is a hearing for junior welterweight titlist Lamont Peterson, who was supposed to seek a license and an opportunity to explain his positive drug test (for synthetic testosterone), which forced his rematch against Amir Khan to be canceled. It had been scheduled to take place May 19 in Las Vegas.

Peterson's camp had insisted it would seek a license in Nevada but has continually put off the hearing.

"I never heard back from Peterson's attorney, Pete Bernhard, who told me he would call me last week but did not," commission executive director Keith Kizer said.

Brook a step away from big shot

August, 7, 2012
England's Kell Brook is one win away from a mandatory shot at welterweight titleholder Randall Bailey (or Devon Alexander, if Alexander wins the title from Bailey next month).

All that stands between Brook and the opportunity is Argentina's Hector Saldivia, whom he will meet in a final eliminator on Oct. 20 at the Motorpoint Arena in Sheffield -- Brook's hometown.

Saldivia isn't much to write home about. Frankly, he's a step down from Carson Jones, the tough fringe contender whom Brook (25-0, 18 KOs) went to war with in a semifinal eliminator on July 7 in Sheffield. Brook escaped with a majority decision in a very tough fight.

"I proved I have massive heart against Carson," Brook said. "I said after the fight that there needs to be an improvement, and on Oct. 20 my fans are going to see me at my very best."

Said Eddie Hearn, Brook's promoter: "It was always our goal to secure a mandatory position, and now we are just one fight away from making that happen."

Saldivia (41-2, 32 KOs) has been stopped in both of his losses. I was quite unimpressed when I was at his first-round knockout loss to Said Ouali in Las Vegas in May 2010, when they met on the Floyd Mayweather Jr.-Shane Mosley undercard. Saldivia came into the fight with a big reputation but got destroyed, albeit in an exciting shootout.

Bailey honored by Key West

July, 26, 2012
First, Randall Bailey won a welterweight world title. Now his celebration will continue with a day named in his honor.

Bailey (43-7, 37 KOs) drilled Mike Jones (26-1, 19 KOs) for a spectacular 11th-round knockout to claim a vacant belt on the Manny Pacquiao-Timothy Bradley Jr. undercard on June 9 in Las Vegas. The city of Key West, Fla., has declared Saturday as "Randall Bailey Day" in his honor.

"This is a great honor," said Bailey, who is from Miami but has ties to Key West. "My first fight in Key West was in 2006, and since then the people there have been behind me 100 percent. This world championship isn't just for me. It's for Key West, too."

Bailey, 37, who won the belt a decade after his run as a junior welterweight titleholder ended, won't celebrate his honorary day for long. He has his first title defense coming up. He will meet former junior welterweight titlist Devon Alexander (23-1, 13 KOs) in a Showtime main event on Sept. 8.

The Key West Rotary Club is putting on the event, which begins at 3 p.m. and will include a police-escorted motorcade.

The event is also supposed to celebrate boxing in Key West. Also being honored are recently retired former light heavyweight champion Glen Johnson and heavyweight Sherman "The Tank" Williams, both notable fighters on the Florida boxing scene who have Key West ties.

All three are regulars at Key West boxing cards and have worked with amateur fighters in the area at the Police Athletic League facility.

Bailey looking to cash in on belt

June, 21, 2012
Mike JonesAP Photo/Julie JacobsonRandall Bailey, far right, flattened Mike Jones and lifted his own fading career off the canvas.
Randall Bailey won a vacant welterweight belt on the Manny Pacquiao-Timothy Bradley Jr. undercard on June 9, essentially with two punches.

Bailey knocked down Mike Jones with a powerful straight right hand in the 10th round and then knocked him out in sensational fashion with a right uppercut in the 11th round.

The rest of the fight? Horrible. Bailey barely threw any punches and Jones seemed petrified to engage.

But Bailey (43-7, 37 KOs) won and now expects to reap the rewards of his second world title, which came a decade after he held a junior welterweight belt.

"I told [Jones] that I was going to knock him out. In my mind, that was the only way I'd win the fight," Bailey said. "I watched a few of his fights that were close, like the [Jesus Soto] Karass fight, and I was concerned about winning a decision. I knew when I grazed him in the first round that he'd take off like a thief in the night. The kid ran from me a lot and I caught a lot of his punches with my gloves. I waited for him to sit down for a second. I didn't have that much on my punch in the 10th round because my leg was twisted.

"In the 11th, he was laying in under his jab, so I couldn't hit him with my overhand right. I decided to back up, and as we got closer, he kept his chin down to keep away from my overhand right. It was just natural for me to come with my uppercut like I did. That was my best punch ever. It had so much on it that it looked like my fist was in his face. I hit his nose and it felt like meat coming out."

Even though Bailey has virtually no chance of actually getting the fight, he would like to fight Floyd Mayweather Jr. when he comes out of jail later this summer.

"If I had a choice, I'd fight Mayweather next," Bailey said. "I like the way Floyd's fighting. He's not running around so much to try to win on points. He's giving guys an opportunity to hit him, and that's my type of fight."

You can't blame Bailey for calling out Mayweather. Bailey is 37, has shaky legs and not much time to cash in on his new belt.

Si Stern, Bailey's manager, claims the fighter has received a $500,000 offer to go overseas for a title bout and said, "We have the world title belt and won't fight on the cheap."

One of the possibilities is for Bailey to defend against Devon Alexander. Alexander, a former junior welterweight titlist, has been promised a Showtime date. It was supposed to be Aug. 18, but according to Showtime Sports general manager Stephen Espinoza, the network had to move an MMA show to Aug. 18 and Alexander's date will move to Aug. 25 or possibly into September.

I was also told that Golden Boy and Al Haymon, Alexander's adviser, have already made a strong offer to Bailey to fight Alexander.

"Alexander has to get in line like I had to," Bailey said. "He must think that they can throw around a few bucks and I'll fight him. What I'm saying is, I will fight anybody for the right money."

Whomever Bailey faces next, he said he is anxious to fight again.

"I just love beating the hell out of a guy and then getting out of the ring without going to jail for doing it," he said. "I got into a lot of street fights as a kid. I wanted to fight without getting into trouble, and boxing was the way for me."

Purses for Pacquiao-Bradley card

June, 6, 2012
LAS VEGAS -- As always, Keith Kizer, the executive director of the Nevada State Athletic Commission, was carrying around a slip of paper at Wednesday's final news conference that listed all of the purses -- which are public record -- for the upcoming fight card.

In this case, it was the rundown of the official contract figures for the Manny Pacquiao-Timothy Bradley Jr. HBO PPV card on Saturday night at the MGM Grand Garden Arena.

Pacquiao's fight night check will be for $6 million, although he is guaranteed $26 million by Top Rank promoter Bob Arum, and can make even more depending on how well the pay-per-view sells.

The reason for the disparity is because the $6 million will be available to Pacquiao immediately, while the remaining $20 million will be paid over an undisclosed number or days or weeks (that he and Arum agreed upon) as the revenue from the fight comes in.

Bradley's purse will be a career-high $5 million and he, too, can make more depending on how well the pay-per-view sells.

Purses for the rest of the fighters on the televised portion of the card: Jorge Arce will make $300,000, Jesus Rojas $25,000, Mike Jones $105,000, Randall Bailey $100,000, Guillermo Rigondeaux $103,000 and Teon Kennedy $70,000.

The other fighters on the card: Mikael Zewski ($8,500), Ryan Grimaldo ($4,500), Ernie Sanchez (TBD; his contract wasn't filed yet), Wilton Hilario ($6,000), Andy Ruiz ($2,500), Tyler Larson ($1,200), Jesse Hart ($4,000) and Manuel Eastman ($1,200).