By Jake Donovan
Brandon Rios was direct and to the point in his demand upon returning to the ring: bring on the baddest motherf***er at 140 lb.
The opponent offered was unbeaten contender Mike Alvarado, with their October 13 fight slated as a surefire candidate for Fight of the Year. All suggestions point to Rios’ demands being properly fulfilled.
Karim Mayfield is not just an unbeaten 140 lb. contender, but also a true fan of the sport. Chances are he’ll be at home watching the fight if he doesn’t have a bout of his own scheduled for the evening. What he wishes was that someone bothered to dial up his cell, as he just as easily fits the bill.
“Brandon Rios said he wanted the baddest mother***er at 140. I expressed my interest in the fight the moment I heard that request,” insists Mayfield (16-0-1, 10KO).
Not surprisingly, his response to the inquiry went largely ignored. Such has become commonplace in his career these days, though that tends to happen when you make it habit to hand fighters their first career loss, often in violent fashion.
Mayfield has already fought five undefeated opponents through just 17 pro fights to date. His most recent win was in this vein, tearing through previously unbeaten Ray Serrano in a 5th round stoppage this past May on ESPN2’s Friday Night Fights.
The win was believed as a breakthrough moment in a career that has for far too often been spent on the wrong side of the camera given his level of opposition.
“Within my first four or five fights, I was already being thrown to the sharks,” points out Mayfield, who at one stretch fought four unbeaten opponents in a span of five fights. All of this came less than two years into his pro career. “I beat the guy Don King flew in (Rahman Yusubov, 5-0 at the time) on the Juan Diaz vs. Julio Diaz card in Chicago. I beat Dan Goossen’s boy (Francisco Santana) twice. They thought the first time was a fluke so we did it again and I knocked him out the next time.”
What hasn’t followed since the stoppage win over Santana – which came on the undercard of Andre Ward’s breakthrough win against Mikkel Kessler – was the type of notoriety expected to come with such a red hot prospect. Instead, Mayfield has been forced to forge his own path to respectability.
“It makes it an easier road when you have these guys behind you giving you these easy fights. I’m going to keep pushing the hard way,” Mayfield proudly insists. “I’m still undefeated. I’ve taken some real chances, going on big cards and taking tough fights. It seems like every time I take a tough fight, someone is saying it’s my toughest fight.”
Mayfield’s toughest fight to date has actually been securing a big name opponent in the ring. The closest he came was the possibility of facing Mauricio Herrera in the intended season finale for this year’s edition of ESPN2 Friday Night Fights.
The bout was supposed to take place last weekend, however Herrera suffered an injury last month in being forced to withdraw. Mayfield was permitted to keep the date, but his promoter (Prize Fight Boxing) was forced to give up the slot after the fighter wound up getting injured as well during training. Doctor’s orders requested he rest for three weeks before returning to the ring, with his day-to-day expected to resume this week.
The plan now is to return later this fall against appropriate opposition in building towards a title shot sometime next year. Much like boxing in general, those plans are subject to change if the right opportunity were to come along.
“I’m not going to rush things… but if it’s Brandon Rios’ people on the other end, I’ll grab that phone on the first ring and take that fight in a heartbeat,” Mayfield states. “After all, he didn’t say, ‘I want the slickest. He said, ‘I want the baddest.’
“I know I’m the baddest man there is. If they don’t believe it and think I’m below them, that’s fine. If they want to call me a tune-up, that’s fine. Call it a tune-up – just as long as they’re calling, which they never did. I just want to make sure he knows that, in case his people try to make him believe otherwise.”
Jake Donovan is the Managing Editor of Boxingscene.com. Follow Jake on Twitter: @JakeNDaBoxTags: Karim Mayfield