Sharkie’s Machine: Randall Bailey’s Big Right Ends Frankie Figueroa’s Night

By Frank Gonzalez Jr. - April 4th 2009 - If Beale Street could talk…if Beale Street could talk…married men would have to take their beds and walk. Except one or two, who never drink booze…and the blind man on the corner who sings the Beale Street Blues. That’s a lyric composed by W.C. Handy, who helped make Beale Street, in downtown Memphis Tennessee, famous. And on a fair weather night, local fight fans were treated to a free show of boxing in an outdoor venue at Handy Park..

The main event on the fight card featured Jr. Welterweight Randall Bailey (39-6, 35 KO’s) of Miami Florida against the young hot prospect from New York City, Frankie Figueroa (20-3, 13 KO’s). This was an eliminator bout for the top spot in the IBF’s rankings, where the winner would get a shot at Juan Urango, the current IBF 140-pound titlist.

In the first round, Figueroa opted to skip the feel out process and go into brawling mode. Bailey fought tall, let Figueroa come in where Bailey used his jab and followed up with a thunderous right hand that put Figueroa down. But Frankie beat the count and kept fighting, managing to land a few sneaky shots that penetrated Bailey’s guard. Bailey fought at a relaxed pace in spite of Figueroa’s aggression.

In the second round, they boxed at center ring and Figueroa went all out and caught Bailey with a combination right and left that sent Bailey to the canvas and gave the young prospect a level battle ground after being floored him self in the previous round. Bailey got up off the canvas quick enough. When action resumed, Bailey seemed a bit more respectful of the smaller man with the big heart. They even touched gloves after the bell in mutual respect.

The third round started with a head butt, followed by Figueroa pressuring Bailey, with confidence. Bailey tightened up his defense against the busier man. Both men landed some shots and it was a close round. Figueroa was very game but was making one glaring mistake in not moving to Bailey’s left to avoid or at least take some of the steam off of that bazooka right hand should he land it. In the fourth round, that proved disastrous for the young fighter from New York City.

The fourth round started with yet another head butt, followed by a pause. When action resumed, Figueroa increased his intensity in pressuring Bailey, looking to build on the momentum he started in the second round. Bailey had an intense focus about him that suggested he was looking to land that big right of his and make it an early night. Sure enough, after a bit of aggressive action, Bailey landed two jabs followed by another clean right that dropped Figueroa like a sack of potatoes. Figueroa not only didn’t beat the count, but gave the crowd a bit of a scare when he didn’t get up for a couple of minutes. Medics entered the ring to attend him and after a moment, Figueroa got up. It was over; Bailey had won by KO in four. The time was 1:46.

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Once Figueroa was finally up and walking, Bailey approached him, hugged him, gave him some words of encouragement and then led him around the ring to share in the glory of applause from the happy fans that got a great show while the smell of barbequed ribs wafted through the air. Figueroa was still shaking off the cobwebs as they made their way around the ring, with Bailey raising Figueroa’s hand to face the crowd. It was a hell of a nice moment. That Randall Bailey’s a real classy character!

Puerto Rican southpaw Frankie Figueroa has a lot of potential and if he learns from the mistakes he made Friday night in Memphis, he will make his mark in due time. All he needs are a few technical adjustments, like remembering the correct direction to move against power punching fighters.

The IBF titlist Juan Urango is a strong fighter with some limitations on defense that the much experienced Randall Bailey can exploit if he can set the tone. Bailey has much experience and a really great double jab, right combo. Bailey probably has the finer boxing skills. Urango vs. Bailey should be a very good fight.

Congratulations to Randall Bailey for the big win and Frankie Figueroa for a game performance Friday night in Memphis, where both men did boxing proud.

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Article posted on 04.04.2009

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