Randall Bailey was guaranteed a title shot at the winner of the Jan Zaveck vs Andre Berto fight for the IBF welterweight strap on September 3, compensation of sorts for stepping aside and not enforcing the mandatory opportunity he'd already earned.
And despite some skepticism that Bailey would get the title shot at Berto, the fight is going to happen, and promoter Lou DiBella is working to find a venue and a date for the bout. From RingTV.com:
"We made a deal with Randall Bailey, and we have about 15 days to produce bout agreements all of the relevant information to the IBF and to get television interested," said DiBella.
Berto (28-1, 22 KO) has had an exciting year in the ring, losing a thriller in April to Victor Ortiz in a Fight of the Year candidate, and coming back in September to trade blows with Zaveck in Mississippi. The few who attended both fights certainly left happy with the action on hand, as did the audiences watching at home. The criticism that Berto can't draw and has been overpaid quiets down when he puts on fights like these, because boxing fans are a fickle bunch, even the critical folks who give much of a crap about a fight's ability to garner any serious interest from anyone.
Bailey (42-7, 36 KO) is a one-trick pony, but he's a fun one-trick pony. When DiBella says that Bailey is one of the hardest punchers in all of boxing, it's not just promoterspeak. Yes, Bailey has a questionable chin and isn't much of a boxer, but his rocket right hand could put out anyone -- anyone -- in the 147-pound division if he lands it. Given that Berto isn't exactly known for his intelligent fighting and tight defense, this is one of those fights where anything could happen if Bailey gets his chance. His right hand is a weapon of mass destruction. It's nothing to play around with.
I know this might not be the "big fight" people would prefer Berto take, but by the laws of the boxing world, he owes this to Bailey, and it's good to see DiBella not use his position as promoter of both men to hold it off or even avoid it. It's a fight where Berto, frankly, has little to gain and everything to lose. Bailey has nothing to lose, everything to gain. It's a classic matchup in that sense. It's also a classic matchup in that the underdog is a really big underdog, but the fascination of a man who can punch through a wall will always get me. I'm looking forward to this one.