For all the flash that accompanies DeMarcus Corley, from the trash-talking to the colorful trunks and occasional showboating in the ring, he retained his World Boxing Organization 140-pound title at D.C. Armory last night in the most practical of fashions, outboxing Randall Bailey for a unanimous decision.
The District native avoided Bailey's powerful right hand and picked him apart over 12 rounds. Corley (28-1-1) controlled an awkward fight that drew more than a few boos from the 3,196 in attendance -- and won handily on all three judges' scorecards, 117-111, 117-111 and 116-112.
"The fight went about the way I expected," Corley said. "I don't think I gave him too much respect. I always knew what he could do with the right hand. I am not disappointed at all."
The first defense of an area champion at home in three years was a decidedly District affair. Corley swaggered into the ring to Chuck Brown's go-go beat, Mayor Anthony Williams's introduction was roundly booed and Marion Barry was all but given a standing ovation moments later.
"It was exciting for me to defend my title in front of my hometown fans," Corley said.
The hometown fans had less excitement. Bailey (26-3) had stopped or knocked down every opponent he had faced. But he never came close to harming Corley and seemingly was unable to figure out the champion's defense.
Leading up to the fight, Bernard Roach, Corley's trainer, was steadfast in his belief that Corley could avoid Bailey's fearsome right, one of the more powerful weapons in what many consider boxing's deepest division.
Corley, a left-hander, naturally would circle away from Bailey's right, flustering Bailey in the process. Then Bailey, who has a tendency to load up and lunge forward with his feet together, would leave himself vulnerable for Corley's two best counterpunches, a right hook and a left uppercut.
It ended up being simpler than that, as Corley waited for lunges that never came. Instead, Corley landed clean punches whenever he saw an opening and stood back whenever he did not.
"He was moving and moving well and I couldn't do what I had to do," said Bailey, a Miami native. "I just wasn't able to execute."
The biggest worry for Bailey's trainer, Al Bonnani, was that Bailey would rely too heavily on his power as an equalizer to Corley's skill. Instead, Bailey fought passively and never asserted either his jab or his strong right.
"I wanted him to run into my power and that wasn't happening," Bailey said. "I waited too long to throw my own punches."