By Ryan Maquiñana
Karim Mayfield has undoubtedly enjoyed a spike in success regarding his boxing career the past few months.
After almost a year of inactivity, he received a call in April inquiring if he’d be interested in traveling from his home in San Francisco down to Hollywood to spar Manny Pacquiao in preparation for his fight with Shane Mosley.
Not one to turn down an opportunity, Mayfield (14-0, 9 KOs) soon found himself trading blows with the pound-for-pound king. The extra exposure yielded results; by the end of the month, he caught the attention of Prize Fight Promotions, who eventually signed the free agent.
Following a successful debut with the Mississippi-based outfit in June where he became the first man to stop Steve Forbes on ESPN2 Friday Night Fights, Mayfield now looks ahead to Oct. 1, when he competes for the vacant NABO junior welterweight title against Patrick Lopez (20-4, 12 KOs).
BoxingScene caught up with Mayfield at his Bay Area training camp, and “The Hard Hitta” talked about making 140 pounds with Victor Conte’s help, working with longtime trainer Ben Bautista, and what it would mean to bring his first belt back to San Francisco.
ON FIGHTING SOUTHPAW PATRICK LOPEZ AND HOW SPARRING WITH MANNY PACQUIAO WILL COME INTO PLAY:
“He’s fought some good guys. He’s a two-time Olympian with a great amateur career—300 fights, I believe. I’ve been preparing for a southpaw. After sparring Pacquiao, I’ve seen that I have a certain angle that I use to neutralize a southpaw. What I do is make them hesitant to reach in. Once you neutralize somebody, you can capitalize on their complacency, and that’s what I plan to do.”
ON BEING THE FIRST TO STOP STEVE FORBES:
“What it did for me was to show me that I could go 10 rounds at a good pace. It wasn’t as pretty as people would’ve liked it to be, but it showed I could muscle it up down there with enough energy at the end of the fight. It definitely gave me the opportunity to fight some bigger names. He had never been stopped, and it wasn’t a fluke stoppage because I wobbled him two times before they stopped the fight. It just showed me I could compete at a higher level.”
ON FIGHTING AT 140 POUNDS FOR THE FIRST TIME:
“I fought in the Olympic Trials at 165 pounds even though I only weighed ’54, and in the pros I’ve been fighting at 147 and up, so you definitely have to make adjustments. I’ve been working with Victor Conte since the Francisco Santana rematch (in 2009). For this camp, I’ve been running a lot in the morning. It’s a lot of water weight, but I burn a lot of calories, too. With that including my regular workouts, I had to slow down because I was getting too low too fast, so I picked up my protein a little bit, and I’ve been back on schedule. Working with Victor, I’m confident I’ll be strong at 140.”
ON AVOIDING BEING WEIGHT-DRAINED:
“As long as I’m waking up around 148. I want to wake up next week at 145. As long as I’m by 146 by Friday, I’ll be O.K. Look at Victor Ortiz. He came in at 17 pounds over the next day. I’m looking to only go over like five pounds. As long as I stay disciplined, I’ll lose the weight naturally.”
ON WORKING WITH LONGTIME TRAINER BEN BAUTISTA:
“Me and Ben have always had a good relationship as friends outside of boxing. We’ve been able to accomplish a lot together, and this is really our first experience with fighting closer to the world stage. We’re definitely excited about it.”
ON BRINGING THE NABO TITLE TO SAN FRANCISCO:
“It would mean a lot. We haven’t had a title in San Francisco in a long time. It would be a good look to defend it here. I’ve had a lot of support from the fans here, and it would be special to bring it back to them. I’m trying to move my name up that ladder of that NorCal pound-for-pound list on Comcast!”
Ryan Maquiñana is the boxing correspondent at Comcast SportsNet Bay Area, home of this Saturday’s CSNBayArea.com Northern California Boxing pound-for-pound list. He’s a member of the Boxing Writers Association of America and Ring Magazine’s Ratings Advisory Panel. E-mail him at [email protected], check out his blog at www.maqdown.com or follow him on Twitter: @RMaq28.