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Randall Bailey stuns Mike Jones to take welterweight title

Well behind on all scorecards, the 37-year-old Bailey scores an 11th-round knockout on the undercard of the Manny Pacquiao-Timothy Bradley bout.

June 09, 2012|By Lance Pugmire
  • Randall Bailey, left, and Mike Jones trade punches during their bout on Saturday night in Las Vegas.
Randall Bailey, left, and Mike Jones trade punches during their bout on… (Joe Klamar / Getty Images )

LAS VEGAS -- Randall Bailey, at 37 years old, was the classic "opponent" Saturday against unbeaten Philadelphia welterweight Mike Jones.

After a stunning and emotional 11th-round knockout victory, Bailey's a world champion.

Jones, 28, was expected to wear the International Boxing Federation belt at MGM Grand, as long as he could avoid the big right hand of Bailey.

Jones admitted — "no doubt" — that he was tentative in going after power-puncher Bailey, winning rounds, but otherwise failing to impress the large pay-per-view and arena audience.

After nine rounds, Bailey's trainer John David Jackson advised, "You're down 9-0. This guy's getting real brave. He's wide open. Let your hands go."

Even with Jones keeping his guard up, Bailey shot a hard right that caught Jones flush in the face, a 10th-round knockdown. Jones got up.

In the 11th round, however, Bailey (43-7,37 knockouts) said he knew, "If I hit him flush, it would be over."

He did, throwing a vicious uppercut that sent Jones backward, hitting his head hard on the canvas. Jones tried to stand, but couldn't, and the fight was over at the 2:52 mark.

Bailey cried in the ring celebrating the upset. He was down on all three judges' scorecards at the time, 99-91, 97-93, 98-92.

"It was now or never for me," Bailey said. "I got him real good. I could feel it in my arms."

Beaten favorite Jones (26-1) lamented, "I never saw either punch coming."

Following that, an action featherweight fight betweenMexico'sJorge Arce and Puerto Rico's Jesus Rojas ended in a second-round no-decision when an injured Arce was unable to continue.

In an almost comical series of mishaps, the pair butted heads as Rojas delivered a right-handed low blow to Arce. With referee Kenny Bayless moving in to address the foul, Rojas (18-1-1) hit Arce (60-6-2) with a kidney shot to the right side, then belted him with a right to the temple.

Arce fell, couldn't get back up, and complained he was so disoriented he couldn't continue. The Nevada State Athletic Commission ruled the fouls unintentional.

Earlier, Cuban defector and two-time Olympic gold-medalist Guillermo Rigondeaux (10-0, eight KOs) retained his World Boxing Assn. super-bantamweight title with a fifth-round technical knockout of Philadelphia's Teon Kennedy (17-2-2).

Rigondeaux knocked down Kennedy five times before the stoppage by referee Russell Mora at the 1:11 mark of the fifth.

"He's got a lot of punches you can't see," Kennedy said.

Southpaw Rigondeaux first smashed Kennedy in the face with a hard left in the first round that sent him to a knee, with a knockdown following a few lefts later. Kennedy was down twice more in the second, the bell allowing him to recover after the last one.

In the fourth, Mora gave Kennedy another eight-count after a hard left floored him.

After the final blow, Rigondeaux said, "All my punches are great. I don't have any bad ones."

The action came before the main event pitting world welterweight champion Manny Pacquiao (54-3-2, 38 KOs) vs. Palm Springs' Timothy Bradley (28-0, 12 KOs), with results pending at press time.

Uncertainty about Pacquiao's state of mind and commitment to boxing plagued the pre-fight atmosphere because the Filipino superstar recently confessed to gambling, womanizing and alcohol use last year.

The transgressions were made all the more disturbing because Pacquiao, 33, was coming off two uninspired performances, decision victories over aged Shane Mosley and Juan Manuel Marquez.

Now he was fighting 28-year-old Bradley, whose attention to the fight of his life was revealed when he stripped off his shirt at Friday's weigh-in to reveal a sculpted body that made the champion appear puffy.

lance.pugmire@latimes.com

twitter.com/latimespugmire

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