To tell you that 2012 was a frustrating year for Mickey Bey Jr. (19-0-1, 10 knockouts) would be a massive understatement. In a trend that is all too common in the sport today, Bey was forced to sit on the sidelines after deciding to cut ties with his former promoters at Top Rank. One year later, Mickey Bey finds himself with a new promotional company (Mayweather Promotions), but most importantly, he’s back to doing what he does best, fighting. After a 14-month lay-off, Bey returned to the ring on Feb. 2nd in a lightweight bout against Robert Rodriguez (7-3, 3 knockouts). Naturally, fans and media alike wondered just how prepared Bey would be considering the fact that he is coming off such a significant layoff. All it took was a vicious third-round knockout of Rodriguez to remind people that Bey is still an up-and-coming force in the sport, significant layoff or not.
“One of the things I wanted to show in that fight was that even though I hadn’t fought for a little while, I’m still a student of the game. I hadn’t fought for over a year since I was going through some promotional changes, and I wanted to show that I could still get in there (the ring) and look sharp because I’m dedicated and always working my craft. I’m just making sure I keep all of my tools sharp. I thought I looked pretty sharp, especially when considering that I had a 14-month layoff. ”
Against Rodriguez, Bey was able to prove that he was largely unaffected by his time away from the ring. With a pace that was both dominant and incredibly aggressive, Bey’s performance served as a reminder to fans that his undefeated record is as legit as they come. Just the fact that no one has managed to figure out Bey even with his time off goes to show that he will pose all kinds of problems for future opponents.
“It’s the fact that people really can’t hit me. It’s hard to win a fight if you can’t land a lot of your punches. That’s the main thing, especially when you consider that most of my fights have been taken on short-notice. This [Rodriguez bout] was probably my first fight where I actually had a good camp, and was able to train for a good amount of time. I also think it could be due to my defense and ring smarts. I’ve got a great trainer in Floyd Mayweather Sr., who was my first trainer as a professional, so I got a chance to learn the science of boxing in the ring and how I could adapt to any style. If it comes down to it, I could mix it up, bang, box, I’ve got speed, power in both hands, and like I said I’m hard to hit. Basically these are the biggest problems I give fighters. ”
Another problem that Bey poses is the fact that he is a threat at both super-featherweight and lightweight. Although he started his career (and is often cited as being) at super featherweight, Bey’s recent in-ring performances have seen him weigh-in as a full-blown lightweight. With concussive power in both hands and versatility as far as which weight he fights in, Bey is poised to make a title run in either division as he tries to land the big money fights.
“Yeah, that’s what I’m going to pretty much be doing. I’m just looking for the big fights. I’ll probably secure a title at lightweight [first], but throughout my career I think I’m pretty much just going to be looking for the big fights, and make the good fights people want to see. I’m just looking forward to putting on a great show for the world.”
Weight-classes aside, people remain curious as to whether Bey’s title shot will come sooner rather than later. Luckily for him, coming off a knockout win, along with being advised by the infamous Al Haymon all but guarantees that we’ll see Bey challenging for that much sought after title sooner than many expected.
“Being with the team that I’m with, I think we’ll do one more and then fight for the title after. Talent-wise, I’ve been ready for years, but like I said, there have been a lot of problems just from the business standpoint. I say about another fight, and then after that we’ll look into it. Definitely sometime early this year; first half of the year.”
There’s little doubt that Bey’s new relationship with Mayweather Promotions will be a fruitful one. With an already solid stable of up-and-coming fighters, Bey is looking to become one of the new faces of the young promotional company. Unfortunately for Bey, siding with a company like Mayweather Promotions inevitably leads one to draw comparisons between the young fighter and Mr. Mayweather himself. It’s this kind of self-imposed or media drawn pressure that can force a fighter to choke at the pinnacle of his career.
“No, it’s good pressure. Whenever I’m under the lights I tend to fight a lot better, so I love it. One of my missions is to become an all-time great, so for me to try and be able to live up to a Floyd Mayweather is just encouraging to me. I could see how it could scare a fighter being under that type of pressure, but I make sure I do the right things both in and outside of the ring as far as my training goes to ensure that I can make these things happen. I live the right life-style and do the right things at all times to make sure that I don’t have that much pressure. This is what makes it fun. I want to become a great in this sport, that’s my goal. I want to become an all-time great fighter.”
It’s this desire to become an all-time great that seems to fuel Bey as not only a man, but a fighter. One just has to look at his response when being asked which fighter he’d want to face most at this stage of his career.
“Only guy that I probably would call out that I would like to get to fight would probably be [Juan Manuel] Marquez (55-6-1, 40 knockouts). Not right away, but after, maybe, two or three fights I would like to fight him. He’s a legend. The only type of guy I’d be willing to call out and fight is a legend. If you beat a legend you become one, so that’s why I’d love to fight him. That would kind of seal the deal. With anybody I fight, that’s probably what I look at most. Just like everybody else I’m concerned with performing and putting on good performances. I’m aware that you can’t take anybody lightly, but that’s my train of thought when you look at people like that. Everybody else is still just on the way up, even if they are considered champions. I set the bar really high, and like always, I’m in it to win it.”
Like all good things before it, Bey may have to wait before getting the highly sought after title shot. Whether he does or doesn’t, Bey looks to remain optimistic, active, and dominant in future bouts.
“We’re looking at maybe two or three more. Now we’re anticipating that they’ll all be big fights from this point on, but still, I would like to fight maybe three times so that’s what we’re looking at. That would work out great if we could fight three more times this year. [As far as my next fight] I think fans can definitely look to see me in the ring by April. I think sometime around early April, and maybe even on May 4th after that, as long as I’m healthy after the fight. Definitely expect to see me around late-March or early-April.”
With business troubles behind him, Bey is able to finally focus and partake in his craft. With his return bout taking place just recently, it’s hard to tell where exactly Bey’s career will go from here. Regardless, Bey has proved to be a man to watch in the sport, as well as a potential break out star of 2013.
For all boxing news, updates, radio, and general talk be sure to follow Tha’ Boxing Voice on Twitter ( @ThaBoxingVoice ) along with myself ( @dfgonzalez305 ).