by James Slater – As fight fans know, former world champions Randall Bailey and Clinton Woods fought on the same card this past Friday night in Hollywood, Florida, and they both lost. Very much at the veteran stage of their careers, the question now is, should both warriors call it a career and get out? “Knockout King” Bailey, fell to 39-7(35) in is IBF light-welterweight title challenge of “Iron Twin” Juan Urango. A thriller of a battle, the lethal-punching 34-year-old became the first man to deck the iron-jawed champion, yet the former WBO and WBA 140-pound champ took heavy punishment in return; before finally being stopped (by his corner) in the 11th-round. The latest in a number of wars in a long and hard career, the loss Bailey suffered at the dangerous hands of the Colombian may well hurt more than any other..
Bailey is far from shot, but his chin has let him down before, and it will inevitably do so again should he fight on. On the other hand, Bailey’s chilling power will always give him a shot at beating any fighter he gets in there with. Exciting also, the fans would probably enjoy seeing more of Bailey, even at age 34. The Urango fight was so good a part-two would almost certainly be welcomed by the fans. However, such a rematch looks unlikely to happen, as Urango will look for another big name, big payday instead.
Bailey has yet to make up his mind about carrying on or not, but I have a hunch he will fight again. It would be sad to see him become a stepping stone/trial horse, as could become the case. But then again, would any young or up-and-coming fighter really want to risk getting iced by the man with one of the most apt nicknames in boxing? Look what happened to the promising Francisco Figueroa in April when he went in with Bailey!
As for the UK’s Woods, who fell to 42-5-1(24) in being out-pointed by the unbeaten Tavoris Cloud in his IBF light-heavyweight title fight contest, the 37-year-old has begun talking as though he has made up his mind and that he will fight on. The former IBF ruler at 175-pounds, Woods has spoken of how good he felt in there for the first few rounds against Cloud. And though he was once again beaten while attempting to win in America, and though he took some heavy shots in the later rounds, Woods has hinted that he does not want to call it a day.
Still one helluva durable fighter (only a near prime Roy Jones Junior has ever stopped Woods, and even then Clinton was never put down), Woods could still have something to offer. The problem, though, is at what level could he fight on at. The man who fought three memorable fights with Glen Johnson has said in the past that he would be unable to “get up” for domestic or even European level fights, and that becoming a world champion again is his real motivation. Would there be any possibility of Woods getting another crack at a world belt?
Woods has had a good career, and he has been given no less than five opportunities to win himself a world title belt (which he finally did at the fourth attempt). Does he really deserve another? If he were to retire now, Woods could hold his head up high. Aside from an early upset points loss to David Starie, he has been beaten only by a great (Jones) one of the toughest light-heavyweights of the last fifteen years (Johnson), Jones’ successor (Antonio Tarver) and now Cloud, a man who may well go on to become the division’s next star. That’s not bad form by a man who once referred to himself as “just a skinny kid from Sheffield.”
In the final analysis, both Bailey and Woods have a huge decision to make. Both men are in love with the sport that is in their blood, and deciding to walk away from what you love is no easy thing. We wish both guys well, and hope the eventual choice they make turns out to be the right one.