Firefight! Juan Urango TKO 11 Randall Bailey
Juan Urango survived a thunderous sixth-round knockdown and rallied to halt veteran powerpuncher Randall Bailey in the 11th round last night at the Seminole Hard Rock Hotel and Casino in Hollywood, Florida. With the spirited TKO win Urango retained his Alphabet Soup Title and improved his record to 22-2-1 (17).
For five rounds the bout was relatively even, with Bailey content to wait for openings for his big right hand, and Urango, 28, applying pressure and working the body whenever he got in close. Bailey, 34, boxed fairly well early, but was too conservative and suffered from the predictability of his approach. Over and over Bailey poked out a jab and followed with the right hand.
Without the threat of a left hook or an uppercut, Urango only had to confront a feathery jab followed by the straight–albeit lethal–right. This is not nearly enough firepower to overcome a solid professional boxer.
Even so, Bailey, 139.5, almost pulled off a dramatic victory, unleashing his money punch in round six after distracting Urango with his flea-flicker jab. It landed with a thud. Urango dropped like an anchor, blood trickling from a cut beneath his left eye. It was the first knockdown of his career. He beat the count tolled off by referee Tommy Kimmons and chugged forward, slightly groggy, but ready to fight again. Bailey rushed forward and threw some hurtful right hands but they did not have the force of the earlier blow and were not able to topple the resilient “Iron Twin.” Bailey settled down after about a minute and resumed trying to potshot the onrushing Urango with right crosses. One or two of them landed, but Urango does an excellent job of tucking his chin and did not take them flush. When the bell rang to end the round, Urango, Monterria, Colombia, now fighting out of Cooper City, Florida, returned to his corner with swollen right eye in
addition to the cut beneath it.
Still, it appeared that Bailey might have underplayed his hand; allowing a rugged fighter like Urango to survive a heavy knockdown is a tactical mistake. Bailey has earned a reputation as a dangerous puncher over a career that stretches back to 1996, but he has never stopped an A level opponent. Only Carlos Gonzalez comes close to that designation and “Bolilo” was already fraying at the edges by the time Bailey slipped him the knockout drops. Once Urango survived his biggest bomb, it seemed inevitable that his inflated KO ratio would lose a few percentage points.
Rounds seven and eight saw Bailey stick to his all or nothing strategy while Urango ratcheted up the pressure and began to work the body with zeal. Bailey, now 39-7 (35), is not the kind of fighter who can take sustained punishment to the body. Although he was still throwing isolated shots with bad intentions, Bailey started unraveling in the eighth. At one point during the round an uppercut forced him to clinch and bodyshots began to have a visible effect on him. To his credit, Bailey landed some stinging right hands but was often backpedaling at the same time, reducing their power.
Halfway through round nine, Urango dropped Bailey during an exchange with a roundhouse left. From that point on, Urango would not relinquished control of the bout again. Bailey, who just managed to beat the count, rose with a worried look and was floored once more moments later by a right uppercut and a glancing left. Again Bailey, who showed courage throughout, beat the count. He succeeded in mauling his way to the end of the round, but looked dispirited as he trudged to his corner. A small bruise began to blossom beneath his left eye. Its brow was also swollen. Urango, 139, stormed out for round ten looking to trap a retreating Bailey in a corner or against the ropes. His punches were wide and often inaccurate, but even some of the cuffing blows seemed to shake Bailey. Eventually he managed to land a solid combination and a sweeping left forced Bailey, Miami, Florida, to lean in close. There, a vicious right to the body dropped Bailey to his
knees for the mandatory eight and the end of the road was near for Bailey. He managed to survive the round, but the fight–and his career–was slipping away.
Round eleven began ominously for Bailey when he slipped to the canvas before emerging from his corner. It was a sign of his fatigued psychological state that he was slow in getting up. Urango pressed his helter skelter attack, landing roundhouse lefts to the head and right hooks to the body. It took Bailey a while to rise after he went down during some roughhousing on the inside. A few more shots from Urango and the Bailey corner decided to spare their fighter any further punishment. His trainer, John David Jackson, signaled for an end to the fight. The time of the stoppage was 1:51.
By stopping Bailey in the main event of a card nationally televised by ESPN2, Urango positioned himself for a possible showdown with some big names–if not the biggest–in the junior welterweight division. His flaws are glaring, but his rough-and-tumble style promises nothing but trouble for anyone who answers the bell to meet him.