By Keith Idec
Raymond Serrano shrugged off an extremely confident Karim Mayfield’s trash talk at a press conference in Albany, N.Y.
“He’s talking a lot,” Serrano said, “and I told him at the press conference that if he fights like he talks it’s going to be a good fight. I hope he fights how he talks.”
Philadelphia’s Serrano realizes he also cannot allow the favored Mayfield to affect him with what he does in the ring during their 10-round junior welterweight fight Friday night for Mayfield’s NABO junior welterweight title. Serrano (18-0, 8 KOs) expects San Francisco’s Mayfield (15-0-1, 9 KOs) to try to make their fight, which will be broadcast by ESPN2 as a “Friday Night Fights” main event from the Times Union Center, a very physical brawl.
“I’ve got to watch out for the dirty stuff that he does, like coming in with his head,” Serrano said, “and fight my type of fight. I have to be smart out there. He’s a one-handed fighter and he rushes you, so I’ve just got to work off my jab and put my combinations together.
“I’ve got a feeling that he’s going to try to rough me up by holding, coming forward and putting me on the ropes and stuff like that. I’ve just got to stay focused, not get angry and stay on my game plan.”
The 22-year-old Serrano is sure he can out-box the 31-year-old Mayfield, who’s trained by the same man, Virgil Hunter, who has helped make Andre Ward one of the top 10 pound-for-pound boxers in the world. Serrano does admit, though, that Mayfield represents a significant step up in competition for him.
Mayfield, who has sparred against Manny Pacquiao, soundly out-boxed Venezuelan southpaw Patrick Lopez (20-5, 12 KOs) in his last fight, Oct. 1 in Tunica, Miss. Before beating Lopez by unanimous decision in their 10-rounder, Mayfield stopped Steve Forbes (35-11, 11 KOs) in the 10th round June 17 in Austin, Texas. That was the only time in 46 professional fights that Forbes lost by knockout or technical knockout.
Serrano, a former Pennsylvania Golden Gloves champion who turned pro at 18, feels as though his last fight really readied him for the challenge he’ll face against Mayfield. Southpaw Kenny Abril scored a third-round knockdown against Serrano on Feb. 10 in Uncasville, Conn., but Serrano withstood what he considers a flash knockdown and beat Abril (11-5-1, 6 KOs, 1 NC) on all three scorecards (97-92, 97-92, 95-94).
“I had some strong opponents, I beat them how I was supposed to beat them, and now this is my biggest test,” said Serrano, who’s promoted by Joe DeGuardia’s Star Boxing. “All of that experience led me to this. Now I have to put it all together.”
Keith Idec covers boxing for The Record and Herald News, of Woodland Park, N.J., and BoxingScene.com.