By Ryan Maquiñana
Junior welterweight contender Karim Mayfield recently learned that his Top Rank debut would not take place against his originally scheduled opponent, but his trainer does not feel the change will affect his fighter’s focus or approach this Saturday.
“Karim’s been off for almost a year now, and it’s taken awhile to get his timing down,” said Bautista, who trained Mayfield in Las Vegas for this camp and has worked with him since the amateurs. “But he’s ready, and I think what he has right now will be enough to win tomorrow.”
The 10–rounder takes place on the Julio Cesar Chavez Jr.-Bryan Vera undercard at the StubHub Center in Carson, Calif., and will stream online on toprank.tv around 6:30 p.m. PT. Initially, the San Francisco-based Mayfield had signed a contract to face Pavel Miranda, but after the Mexican veteran pulled out, the Bay Area bomber will now fight Christopher Fernandez (21-15-1, 13 KOs) of Salt Lake City, Utah. Mayfield weighed in at 144 pounds, while Fernandez tipped the scale at 144.8.
“I saw a couple of [Fernandez’s] fights on YouTube,” said Bautista, who also mans the corner for female flyweight world champion Ava Knight. “He likes to come forward. He has the type of style where I think Karim can shine, and maybe he can stop him. Also, Karim’s always had power, but I think you’re going to see him show that his defense has improved as well.”
Since signing with his new promoter, Mayfield has been discussed as a potential challenger to WBA 140-pound “regular” titlist Khabib Allakhverdiev (19-0, 9 KOs), who also fights under the Top Rank banner. An impressive performance against Fernandez could serve as a platform for the unorthodox power-puncher to state his case for a shot at the Russian.
Ryan Maquiñana was the boxing producer for NBCOlympics.com during London 2012 and writes a weekly column for CSNBayArea.com. He is a full member of the Boxing Writers Association of America and the Ratings Panel for Ring Magazine. E-mail him at email@example.com, check out his blog at Norcalboxing.net, or follow him on Twitter: @RMaq28.