There must be something in the water in the San Francisco Bay Area that is helping produce some great fighters. Andre Ward, Nonito Donaire and Robert Guerrero are three of the top boxers in the sport, and Karim Mayfield is looking to add his name to that list.
Mayfield (16-0-1, 10KOs) will make his HBO debut this Saturday when he takes on Mauricio Herrera in a scheduled 10-round bout. Virgil Hunter, who is best known for working with Andre Ward, trains the San Francisco native.
Mayfield got a late start in boxing and didn’t take up the sport until he was nearly 20 years old. He feels that his late start could be beneficial, as he hasn’t taken the kind of punishment in the ring that fighters who start at a young age have.
“He’s a tough guy and I know he’s been through some wars already,” Mayfield said of his opponent Herrera (18-2, 7KOs). “A lot of times that can take a lot out of a fighter and it can actually start to weaken your chin.
“I always want a knock out, but I am not going to rush it.”
Herrera has never been stopped in his career, but neither had former champion Stevie Forbes until he stepped into the ring with the ‘Hard Hitta’ as Mayfield is known.
Since moving down to junior welterweight, Mayfield feels he is too powerful for the other fighters in the division.
“All of my fights at 140 have been stopped except one, and that should have been stopped, when I dropped Patrick Lopez three times in the title (NABO) fight,” Mayfield said. “I’ve seen that I have been dominating at 140 with my power.”
Mayfield says he will not be intimidated by fighting on HBO for the first time and that he’s used to fighting on the big stage.
“I have always fought on major cards,” Mayfield said. “I have always fought on a major stage -- HBO, Showtime; fighting on the undercards of Andre Ward, Andre Dirrell, so I have been on HBO cards, I just haven’t been televised yet.”
The junior welterweight division is arguably the most talent rich in all of boxing with Brandon Rios, Juan Manuel Marquez, Danny Garcia, Lamont Peterson, Lucas Matthysse, Paul Spadafora and Amir Khan all competing at 140 pounds.
Mayfield hopes that his fan-friendly aggressive style will have fans clamoring to see him again, but if that doesn’t work, he doesn’t have a problem going another direction.
“If I got to be the bad guy, best believe the streets will come out of me, I am from the streets but I’m a cool dude,” Mayfield said.
By being co-promoted by Gary Shaw Productions and Prize Fight, Mayfield should have the ability to fight any of the top fighters in his division and shouldn’t be affected by the ongoing battle between Top Rank and Golden Boy Promotions.
“It definitely gives me an advantage to be able to pick and choose and to see what guy’s next for us, but I am willing to fight anybody,” Mayfield said.
An impressive win on HBO Saturday could definitely add another name to the mix within boxing’s best division.
Michael Walters is a Featured Columnist for Bleacher Report. Unless otherwise noted, all quotes were obtained firsthand.