Devon Alexander “The Great” (23-1, 13 KOs) will look to win his first title at welterweight this Saturday when he challenges reigning International Boxing Federation (IBF) titleholder Randall “K.O. King” Bailey on Showtime.
Alexander’s trainer, the outspoken Kevin Cunningham, believes that his fighter is one of the elite welterweights in the world and that Bailey (43-7, 37 KOs) is just a bump in the road on the way to bigger and better things for the St. Louis fighter.
Having been in the gym since June, Cunningham does not seem worried about the strategy that Bailey and his trainer, former junior middleweight and middleweight titleholder John David Jackson, will look to employ.
“Whatever the game plan is that him, his trainer and team has, that’s between them,” Cunningham said. “Whatever he thinks that’s going to be effective, I guess that’s the approach he needs to take.
“We are not concerned about what Randall Bailey’s going to be doing. We are concerned about executing our game plan and as long as Devon does that, he should be victorious.”
While Cunningham wouldn’t go into detail about what strategy they would look to use on Saturday, he was willing to give a little insight.
“The game plan is to take his strengths away from him and impose our strengths on him. That’s it pretty much in a nutshell, and is as much as I can tell you without telling exactly what we are going to go out and do,” Cunningham said.
Bailey’s biggest strength is his powerful right hand that has earned him 37 knockouts in his 43 wins and the in-ring moniker of the “K.O. King."
Cunningham and Bailey have been engaged in a war of words during the past couple months, and it seems as though the trainer may have gotten under the champion's skin.
“This whole game is psychological warfare as well as the physical,” Cunningham said. “If he has allowed my comments to get under his skin and make him lose focus, then that’s great.”
Alexander’s trainer believes that if Bailey is thinking about anything other than his opponent, it will cost him the fight.
“If he’s not totally focused on Devon, and I have heard comments that he’s made, he’s taking Devon lightly and (he said) Devon’s not an elite fighter and he can’t punch and this that and the other, then he’s going to be in for a rude awaking Saturday night,” Cunningham said.
Bailey won the IBF title against Mike Jones by a sensational one-punch knockout in a fight in which he had lost virtually every round. The Miami fighter claims that the plan going into the fight was to land a big shot and end it.
“What kind of strategy is it to get beat up for 10 rounds and hope that you’re going to land the knockout punch, what kind of strategy is that?” asked a skeptical Cunningham. “I don’t believe that was his trainer’s strategy the way they were yelling and screaming at him.”
Bailey recently blamed Cunningham’s lack of adjustments in the corner for Alexander’s 2011 technical decision loss to Tim Bradley—a point Cunningham doesn’t agree with.
“Randall Bailey doesn’t think before he talks. Most of the things Randall Bailey says, there are no facts or basis to it,” Cunningham said.
Bailey believes he will need to knock Alexander out to win the fight, and Cunningham thinks that will work to his fighter’s advantage.
“If Randall Bailey comes out there looking to knock Devon out, don’t be surprised if Randall Bailey gets knocked out himself.”
Michael Walters is a Featured Columnist for Bleacher Report. Unless otherwise noted, all quotes were obtained firsthand.