After several close calls and near-misses, there is still a possibility that one of the boxers in local manager Si Stern's group of fighters could be bringing a world championship belt to Key West in the near future.
Welterweight Randall Bailey has been guaranteed a shot at the IBF championship against Andre Berto and has already signed and returned his contract for the bout. The organization has a tentative date for the much-anticipated fight set for Jan. 16, but that could change depending on television concerns and a returned signed contract from Berto. If Berto doesn't agree to the fight, he would be stripped of the title and Bailey would fight for it against someone else.
"God willing, we may have a world's champion, yet, here in Key West," Stern said.
If the scheduled Jan. 16 date doesn't work out, there is a slim chance that the fight could actually happen here in Key West, where Stern and business partner Dave Johnson plan on hosting the first of their 2012 Fight Night in the Keys series on Jan. 6. That date is also tentative, as the organizers are still awaiting permission for the date from the city.
Bailey (42-7-0, 36 KOs) is coming off a 10-round unanimous decision win over Yoryi Estrella on Sept. 3.
Before that potential fight, though, a couple of the other boxers signed to Stern also have bouts upcoming.
Featherweight Derrick Wilson, who hasn't fought since a March 12 loss to Javier Fortuna, is slated to return to the ring on Dec. 2 in Kissimmee. The details for the fight haven't been finalized, but it is expected to be televised nationally on one of the Spanish-speaking networks.
"I'm really excited to see him get back in the ring," Stern said of Wilson (8-2-2).
Middleweight Marcus Upshaw, looking to bounce back from a Sept. 9 draw with Cerresso Fort, could be returning to the ring as soon as next week. Stern said he received an offer for Upshaw this week and, if all goes as planned, the boxer could be back in the ring on Nov. 11.
Welterweight Damian Frias (19-4-1), who topped Henry Crawford on Sept. 23, is hoping to have a fight scheduled by December. If he doesn't have anything in place by then, he could also be fighting on the Key West card in January.
Local boxer Danny Van Staden, who has lost each of his three bouts since a decision win over Henry Mitchell in April 2009, is also planning on making his return to the ring in Key West in January.
"I'm not pushing him, but he said he wants to fight in Key West," Stern said of Van Staden (8-7). "How he feels is going to be important, but he very much wants to fight. If he's going to do it, he'll probably start training hard here in the middle of the month."
Assistant Sports Editor Willis Jacobson's Gettin' the 'W' column appears exclusively each Friday in The Citizen. He can be reached at 305-292-7777, Ext. 223, or at firstname.lastname@example.org.