Nothing was ever given to Karim “Hard Hitta” Mayfield. The junior welterweight contender has succeeded through hard work and dedication, but most of all, faith in his own abilities.
A few years ago, Mayfield, 32, picked up some extra cash by sparring with the likes of Antonio Margarito and Manny Pacquiao.
In 2010, Mayfield battered Sergio Joel De La Torre. The venue was Kezar Pavilion in San Francisco, a rocks throw away from the site of the famous Rocky Marciano vs. Don Cockell bout held at Kezar Stadium in 1955. The Marciano fight drew a reported 22,000 boxing fans.
Mayfield fought in front of barely a thousand. Poor old De La Torre had maybe three people cheering him on that night, and they were all in his corner. For Mayfield, the question after his destruction of De La Torre was obvious.
Would he ever get the chance to show the boxing world how good he is was?
His big break came when he was offered a slot on ESPN’S Friday Night Fight Series against former IBF champion Steve Forbes.
Mayfield broke Forbes down in 10 rounds.
Last May, , Mayfield was back on ESPN fighting undefeated Raymond Serrano. Many pundits wondered if this could be the end of the meteoric rise of the “Hard Hitta.”
A devastating Mayfield right hand ended Serrano’s night in five rounds.
Karim Mayfield was earning his respect the old-fashioned way, knocking down whatever anybody put in front of him.
Mayfield continued his winning ways by defeating Mauricio Herrera last year. While his rise surprised many, Top Rank Boxing was paying attention. They expressed interest in promoting his future fights. A deal was soon signed.
"The opportunity presented itself and I grabbed it," Mayfield told this writer on the phone a few days ago. “They (Top Rank) have some of the top fighters in the world."
Mayfield, now ranked number four by the WBA and number two by the WBO, will debut under the Top Rank banner this Saturday, September 28, on the undercard of the Julio Cesar Chavez Jr. vs. Brian Vera main event. His opponent was supposed to be Pavel Miranda, but as the boxer told this writer in an exclusive, he’s now fighting journeyman Christopher Hernandez.
“I don't know much about him” said Mayfield, the reigning NABO champion. “But I’m in shape and prepared to take on whoever.”
Mayfield normally trains in the Bay Area, but decided to move his camp to Las Vegas, Nevada.
“Training in Vegas has been a great experience,” said Mayfield. ”This is the mecca of boxing. Also, being around so many world class athletes keeps me pushing harder.”
Mayfield has been preparing for his upcoming fight with trainer Ben Bautista after recently working with Virgil Hunter.
“Ben has been in my corner for every one of my fights,” Mayfield said. ”It took some time but we got our chemistry back.
“Virgil has also been in my corner for majority of my fights, but as everyone knows, he's a very busy man. I feel that both Ben and Virgil present two different elements to the team.”
A victory over Fernandez puts Mayfield in line for a crack at WBA junior welterweight titleholder Khabib Allakhverdiev. The hard work and discipline appear to be paying off.
John J. Raspanti responds to all his emails. Please send all questions and comments to John at: firstname.lastname@example.org