Lost in the shuffle of all the hype surrounding Manny Pacquiao vs. Timothy Bradley is the IBF welterweight championship fight in the semi-main event between Mike Jones and Randall Bailey.
Jones brings an increasingly impressive resume into this bout, with a 26-0 record and 19 knockouts. This will be his first fight since December, when he defeated Sebastian Andres Lujan by unanimous decision.
Who will win on Saturday night?
Bailey has had a longer layoff than Jones, taking on his first fight since last September. He has gone 3-0 in his last four fights, with one no contest. He will be looking to win his fourth career championship.
Where: MGM Grand Casino in Las Vegas, NV
When: Saturday, June 9 at 10:00 p.m.
Watch: Live on pay-per-view
Jones' Keys to Victory
Use speed and head movement to frustrate Bailey; Take fight into later rounds
Jones built up a lot of knockouts early in his career, but he is more comfortable using his stamina and speed to defeat opponents. He will have to implore that strategy again because Bailey has the power to knock him out.
As long as Jones is able to avoid the one heavy set of punches that Bailey is going to throw—and it will happen—he should be able to make it through this fight with the IBF welterweight championship.
Bailey's Keys to Victory
Use heavy hands to keep Jones off his mark, and end the fight early
Bailey doesn't have the stamina to handle a 12-round fight. He can make it to the end, but it is not likely to go in his favor.
Instead, Bailey needs to use his hands and big punching ability to fluster Jones right out of the gate. His hands have carried him to this spot, so there is no reason to try anything fancy this time around.
Going for a knockout early is Bailey's best strategy to win. He must be smart about it, and not just swing for the sake of swinging.
What They Are Saying
Mike Jones might have all of his focus on this fight, but his trainer Vaughn Jackson has big plans for his fighter after this fight is over.
From Fight News:
“Although this is a title fight, this is just another fight for us,” he said. “Bailey is just a stepping-stone for Mike to becoming the undefeated welterweight champion of the world, the new IBF champion.
“Mike’s going to shine like a 2,000-watt light bulb.”
This does seem to be the kind of fight that is designed to get Jones over to a mainstream audience, so you can forgive Jackson's brash arrogance.
Bailey has the proverbial puncher's chance, but Jones is a more dynamic all-around fighter and should have no problem walking away with an impressive victory in this contest.
Jones wins via unanimous decision