By Jake Donovan
What began as a battle of unbeaten prospects resulted in a showcase performance for the winner.
Karim Mayfield had no issues whatsoever in storming through Ray Serrano en route to a fifth round knockout in their ESPN2-televised headliner Friday evening at the Times Union Center in Albany, NY.
Both fighters weighed in at 139 lb, one pound below the super lightweight division in which they regularly campaign.
There was a belief that the fight was competitive on paper, though the early action clearly indicated otherwise. In fact, it served as a reminder of the battle-tested course Mayfield had already survived to this point, taking on a slew of unbeaten fighters early in his career and breezing through one and all.
Conversely, Serrano was gradually brought along by Star Boxing, who promoted Friday’s event. The Philly native certainly looked the part and has shone in the past. But it was clear from the opening bell that the 22-year old was in way over his head.
The Bay Area-based Mayfield – whose corner includes 2011 Trainer of the Year Virgil Hunter – fought in a crouching stalk and attack mode from the moment referee Eddie Claudio signaled “Box!” at the start of round one. The approach was indicative of Mayfield’s aggressive nature, confident that he can beat any fighter on the planet and that no amount of seasoning is required.
On this particular night, the path that led him to this point was certainly experience enough. Serrano tried his best to do what has worked best for him in the past. In this fight, it was never enough to keep a hungry Mayfield at bay.
By the end of the third round, Serrano was already floored for the first time in the fight and cut at the edge of his forehead. Having experienced all of that, the worst was truly yet to come.
Mayfield brought the worst in the fourth round, looking to close the show. It wouldn’t quite happen that soon, but a highlight reel moment came of the tactic. A perfectly placed overhand right caught Serrano flush on the jaw to send him to the canvas for the second time in the evening. It was a major surprise that Serrano even managed to beat the count, so much that his corner wasn’t prepared to tend to him in between rounds.
Order was eventually restored in the corner, though to the benefit of a little bit of extra rest time between rounds. Serrano could’ve taken a full lunch break and still wouldn’t have been able to fully recover. Mayfield quickly detected and moved in for the kill. Serrano was hiding behind an earmuff defense attempting to ride out a barrage of punches before the fight was mercifully halted.
The official time was 0:47 of round five.
Mayfield continues to add to an already impressive resume. Yet another undefeated fighter falls prey to ‘Hard Hitta,’ who advances to 16-0-1 (10KO).
Serrano loses for the first time as a pro, falling to 18-1 (8KO).
For Mayfield, the evening was a satisfactory ending to a truly frustrating 2012 campaign thus far. The San Francisco native was led to believe that a promising run on a Mid-south boxing series was in the cards, only for the proposed dates to quickly fall through. The events left Mayfield without a job at a time when he was counting on activity to progress his career.
All of that frustration was taken out on his opponent tonight, a night in which Mayfield couldn’t have looked any better.
The co-feature saw Jason Escalera and Nick Brinson throw down in an eight-round draw that kept the crowd entertained throughout.
Escalera (13-0-1, 12KO) came dangerously close to stopping Brinson (9-1-2, 5KO) in the seventh round, but couldn’t land that one final blow to ever put the fight away. The sequence ultimately cost him the fight, despite receiving credit for a two-point round on two of the three scorecards.
Final tallies were 76-75 Escalera, 76-75 Brinson and 76-76 even. The general vibe from crowd reaction and flow of the fight suggested that Escalera deserved the nod.
The telecast opened with a prelim bout, as Anthony Jones (2-0-1, 0KO) scored two knockdowns – one questionable, the other legit – en route to a four-round unanimous decision over middleweight novice and publicist extraordinaire Kevin Rooney, Jr. (4-2, 2KO). Scores were 38-36 (twice) and 39-35.
Jake Donovan is the Managing Editor of Boxingscene.com. Follow Jake on Twitter: @JakeNDaBox or submit questions/comments to [email protected]