A Saturday press conference is in the works for smack-talkers Adrien Broner and Paulie Malignaggi.
New Faces: Karim Mayfield
Unbeaten welterweight prospect Karim Mayfield faces the toughest test of his five-year pro career when he faces former titleholder Steve Forbes in the co-featured bout of this week's Friday Night Fights.
Hometown: San Francisco (Western Addition area of the Fillmore District)
Weight class: welterweight
Height / reach: 5’7” (170 cm)/ 73” inches (185 cm)
Amateur record: 40-5
Turned pro: 2006
Pro record: 13-0-1, 8 knockouts
Trainer: Ben Bautista
Managers: Marlon Sullivan and LaRon Mayfield (brother)
Promoter: Prize Fight Boxing Promotions
Best night of pro career: Mayfield lived up to his nickname "Hard Hitta" when he knocked out fellow prospect Francisco Santana in the fifth round of their scheduled eight-round rematch on the Andre Ward-Mikkel Kessler undercard in Oakland, Calif., in November of 2009. His first bout with Santana ended in a controversial split decision the previous year.
Worst night of pro career: Mayfield became the first (and only) fighter to defeat Santana when he out-pointed the talented Santa Barbara native (8-0 at the time) via narrow split decision in March of 2008, but he didn’t do so with out trouble. Mayfield, who fought impatiently, was badly rocked by Santana near the end of the fourth round and was saved by the proverbial bell. Mayfield says his usual speed and elusiveness was compromised from lifting weights, a conditioning practice he has since discontinued.
Next fight: Faces seasoned veteran Steve Forbes (35-9, 11 KOs) in the opening bout of ESPN2’s Friday Night Fights broadcast from Austin, Tex., on Friday. The former 130-pound titleholder, who has fought both Oscar De La Hoya and Andre Berto (in failed bid for Berto’s welterweight belt) over the 12-round distance, is by far the most experienced opponent Mayfield has faced.
Why he’s a prospect: The self-described “boxer-brawler” is athletic and physically strong with good power in both hands. He also possesses a quirky, unorthodox style that can throw off fighters with more textbook technique. However, Mayfield’s best asset is his strong mental makeup. He is not afraid to challenge himself as evidenced by the four undefeated fighters he’s fought (and beat) and his willingness to face Forbes, a skilled veteran of 44 pro bouts, in only his 14th bout.
Why he’s a suspect: Mayfield’s technique is raw as the result of his late start in boxing (he didn‘t begin training until he was 20 and he turned pro at the advanced age of 25). His defensive flaws are evident, although he says his recent sparring sessions with Manny Pacquiao have helped him improve in this area, and he sometimes loads up with his right hand.
Story lines: Mayfield did not walk into a boxing gym until he was 20 years old, but the former high school athlete who was known for his street fighting prowess in the rough Western Addition area of San Francisco’s Fillmore District, found that he had a knack for the Sweet Science. Mayfield figured he should give boxing a try after dropping an experienced amateur fighter in a sparring session during his first day in the gym. Mayfield had a limited amateur career, less than 50 bouts over five years, but he was encouraged by his success in the 2004 Western Olympic Trials after only 20 bouts. He remained amateur long enough to win the storied San Francisco Golden Gloves tournament (in the 152-pound division) in 2006 just before turning pro. While only one of his 14 pro bouts have been televised (his first bout with Santana), Mayfield has earned a healthy reputation in California by serving as a sparring partner for numerous world-class fighters, including Pacquiao, Antonio Margarito, and Sergio Mora, all of whom needed his help to prepare for their bouts against Shane Mosley. Mayfield was managed by Jackie Kallen early in his career but is now represented by Marlon Sullivan and his brother LaRon. He recently signed a promotional contract with Prize Fight Boxing Promotions, which developed the Peterson brothers (Lamont and Anthony) and currently promotes fellow undefeated prospects Fernando Guerrero and Shawn Porter. The 12-year-old Mississippi-based company figures to keep Mayfield busy. When he’s not training Mayfield enjoys designing clothing and rapping on his brother’s independent record label.
June 23 Chris Mickle Oakland, Calif. TKO 1
Nov. 16 Salvador Lopez San Jose, Calif. TKO 3
May 24 Jorge Padilla San Jose, Calif. Tech. Draw 2
Oct. 13 Rahman Yusubov Hoffman Ests., Calif. TKO 2
March 20 Francisco Santana San Jose, Calif. SD 6
Nov. 20 Trenton Titsworth San Jose, Calif. UD 4
March 7 Mario Lozano San Jose, Calif. UD 6
Aug. 14 Joshua Renteria Tucson, Az. UD 6
Nov. 21 Francisco Santana Oakland, Calif. TKO 5
March 19 Mario Ramos Reno, Nev. MD 6