By Chris Robinson
San Francisco’s Karim Mayfield threw me for a loop recently when he announced he would be moving down in weight and campaigning in the junior welterweight class for his future ring endeavors. Mayfield had been looking for riches in the welterweight class, with brief stints as a junior middleweight, and I was curious as to how the 30-year old was going to cope with shedding seven additional pounds five years into his career.
But as I talked to Mayfield on Monday night, a few things became clear. Karim revealed that he typically took fights above 150 pounds in the past either because of what certain promoters were offering or due to simply not having remained active enough prior to receiving certain offers.
Having previously fought at 140 pounds as an amateur in the Golden Gloves, Mayfield felt that a move back to the junior welterweight class was possible once he got down to as low as 145 pounds for his June 17th bout with former champion Steve Forbes, a fight that Mayfield would win via 10th round TKO. Mayfield would accept a challenge against Venezuelan-born Patrick Lopez and won the bout convincingly on the first of this month, dropping the New Hampshire resident three times on his way to a unanimous decision verdict.
“I would say the fight was a tough fight,” Mayfield said when asked about the contest. “He’s definitely a good caliber opponent. He’s definitely a step up from my other opponents I’ve been fighting. And just his intensity and his will, I mean, I knocked the guy down three times and he kept getting back up. I would give my performance, I still haven’t seen the fight but judging from what I feel, I would give myself a B-.”
The junior welterweight class is a bustling division full of talent around all corners and there are a few names that came out of Mayfield’s mouth when asked about the near future.
“Honestly, I would like to fight a Vernon Paris; he’s ranked high in the WBO. Or the winner of Danny Garcia-Kendall Holt,” Mayfield added.
Mayfield was then asked his opinion on the two men regarded as the division’s best in WBA and IBF champion Amir Khan and WBO champion Timothy Bradley. While it’s very likely that both men will be campaigning at 147 pounds come 2012, Mayfield took time to visualize on fights with both.
“I definitely know I can get in there and mix it up with them,” said Mayfield, who actually worked with Bradley prior to the Palm Springs, Calif. fighter’s August 2009 tussle with Nate Campbell. “I know my style and my will and the way that I fight. If I was offered a fight with those guys I would take it. I definitely need to tighten up some things in my next camp. You won’t see no B- performances from me anymore.”
Mayfield’s career got a serious boost of exposure earlier this year when he was brought in as a chief sparring partner for Manny Pacquiao as the Filipino prepared for his May 7th assignment with Shane Mosley. Mayfield was able to appreciate many sides of Manny both in and out of the ring and gave his prediction on the forthcoming trilogy match between Pacquiao and Juan Manuel Marquez on November 12th.
“I see it being an exciting but Pacquiao has been on the top of his game the last few years and Marquez has been going through a lot of wars,” said Mayfield. “Pacquiao has had some great fights but they weren’t wars, he wasn’t getting punched back and forth. He actually showed a lot of defense in the last two fights. I think he’s more persevered now and I think he will come out victorious and stop Marquez by the 8th round.”
It just so happens that the first time I came across Mayfield, roughly a year ago in Las Vegas, he was working with outspoken trainer Floyd Mayweather Sr. Mayweather’s son Floyd Jr. is coming off of 4th round knockout over Victor Ortiz last month but Mayfield is unsure whether or not he will have an interest in a long-discussed Pacquiao mega fight.
“I’m thinking that he will go for a Pacquiao fight if it’s a tough fight vs. Marquez. I can see him going after Pacquiao if it’s a tough fight. But if Pacquiao humiliates this guy, he aint going to want no part of him.”