By Ryan Maquiñana
Karim Mayfield hopes to graduate from prospect to contender when he fights Patrick Lopez for the NABO junior welterweight title Oct. 1 at Fitzgerald’s Casino in Tunica, Mississippi.
“It’s a go,” Mayfield said from his hometown of San Francisco. “I got the contract right here and now we’re just hammering out the final details.”
After a year of inactivity, the 30-year-old Mayfield (14-0, 9 KOs) saw his career finally take off in April when he traveled to Hollywood’s Wild Card Boxing Club as a sparring partner to help Manny Pacquiao prepare for Shane Mosley.
“I got some good exposure there and Prize Fight Promotions signed me up,” Mayfield said. “That led to my fight with Steve Forbes.”
Two months ago, Mayfield became the first person to stop Forbes, a former 130-pound world champ, in the tenth and final round on ESPN2 Friday Night Fights.
“We had a motto, ‘S.F.G.G.,’ which stood for ‘San Francisco Golden Gate,’ but also, ‘Steve Forbes Gotta Go,” the jovial Mayfield said, chuckling. “I wouldn’t have been satisfied unless I got him out of there. I’m finally on track where I should be as far as my career path, and I just want to keep racking up wins to get to that world title.”
A career welterweight, Mayfield will make the plunge to 140 pounds for the first time. While the threat of being weight-drained is always existent, Mayfield, who has been working with Victor Conte as far his strength and conditioning is concerned, insists that he will be same “Hard Hitta” come fight night.
“I’m in the process of cutting weight,” Mayfield said. “Nothing’s easy in boxing, but I got a good team behind me, so I’m confident that I’ll be as strong and powerful for October 1.”
Lopez (20-4, 12 KOs), a 33-year-old southpaw from Londonderry, N.H., via Venezuela, is currently mired in a two-bout losing streak which included a third-round knockout to Tim Coleman and a ten-round unanimous decision loss to Hank Lundy in April on ESPN2.
“The Lundy fight was a decision, but it was close,” Mayfield said. “I’ve fought southpaws before as well as sparring with Pacquiao. It’s different because they fight from a different stance and come at you with different angles, but I’m prepared for that based on what I’ve been doing lately.”
“We’ve been watching some film on Lopez, and we’re starting to put the gameplan together,” added trainer Ben Bautista. “Karim is ready to put in some work, and he’s hungry to take home that first belt back to the Bay Area.”
Ryan Maquiñana is the boxing correspondent at Comcast SportsNet Bay Area. He’s a member of the Boxing Writers Association of America and The Ring’s Ratings Advisory Panel. E-mail him at [email protected], check out his blog at www.maqdown.com or follow him on Twitter: @RMaq28.