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Mayfield: "After Herrera, I feel I’ll be ready for anyone at 140 pounds"


By Anson Wainwright

Over the past few years, the Bay Area in Northern California has become somewhat of a boxing hotbed with Robert Guerrero, Nonito Donaire and Andre Ward all winning world titles, moving through weight classes and/or winning an Olympic gold medal. However, other than those three, there seems to be a considerable drop off in the talent pool. Looking to bridge that gap is Karim Mayfield; the 31-year-old San Francisco product came up the hard way on the mean streets of the Fillmore district before learning to box. Despite his advanced age for a prospect, he feels it is more of an advantage for him because he’s now a mature fighter. This weekend, Mayfield makes his HBO debut on the undercard of a “Boxing After Dark” show at the Turning Stone Resort and Casino in Verona, New York when he faces Mauricio Herrera, 18-2 (7), whose previous fight was a sizzling unanimous decision loss to Mike Alvarado back in the spring (Herrera also holds wins over fellow Virgil Hunter disciple Mike Dallas Jr. and Ruslan Provodnikov last year). If the “Hard Hitta” can improve his record of 16-0-1 (10) this weekend, he’ll be in line for more big fights with some of the premier light welterweights on the planet. Currently, Mayfield is ranked six by both the WBA and WBO.

Anson Wainwright – This Saturday, you meet Mauricio Herrera in upstate New York. What do you know about him as a fighter? What can we expect?
Karim Mayfield - I know he’s never been knocked out and he’s lost a couple of fights. He’s a durable fighter with a lot of heart and I’ll have to be on my “A” game to win this fight.
AW - In your most recent fight, you travelled from coast to coast and KO’d previously unbeaten Raymond Serrano. Could you tell us about your mindset going in and how happy you were with your performance?
KM - Against Serrano, I was feeling confident going into that fight because I knew he had never been in the ring with a fighter like me. After the fight, I was feeling incredible because that KO was seen around the world on ESPN.
AW - You’ve been a pro for eight years but only have 17 fights. Can you tell us why you’ve been relatively inactive?
KM - Early in my career, I never signed with a promoter and I was never put in soft. After I was beating these undefeated guys in their backyard, no one wanted to fight me. Now that I’m with Prize Fight and Gary Shaw, I see my career going in the right direction.
AW - Unlike most prospects, you’re a little older, approaching your 32nd birthday. Would it be fair to say this has helped season you as a fighter?
KM - Since I started boxing at a later age, I feel I’m a fresher fighter with a maturity level to handle the big stage. If [World Middleweight Champion] Sergio Martinez can do it, so can I.
AW - How far do you think you are from mixing with the best 140-pounders in the world?
KM - After this fight, I feel I’ll be ready for anyone at 140 pounds. I should be fighting for a world title next year.
AW - You’re ranked in the top 10 of two of the four sanctioning organizations. What do you think of your division?
KM - There are a lot of talented fighters in my division but there’s no one that I see as unbeatable. I can get down with any of the champions for sure.
AW - Who are the members of your team?
KM - My managers are Marlon Sullivan and my brother, LaRon Mayfield. Virgil Hunter is my lead trainer with Ben Bautista as the second. I’m promoted by Prize Fight and Gary Shaw.
AW - You’re from a tough part of San Francisco. Could you tell us about your younger days and the path you took into boxing?
KM - I grew up in the Fillmore district of San Francisco where I used to get into a lot of street fights. A friend of mine took me to the gym and I sparred the best guy in there and knocked him out. The rest is history from there.
AW - In the past, you have been one of the chief sparring partners for Manny Pacquiao, Antonio Margarito and Sergio Mora. Could you tell us about those experiences and how they helped you as a fighter?
KM - I’ve also sparred with Sugar Shane Mosley, Robert Guerrero, Danny Garcia and a few others. I’ve learned something from all those guys. I held my own against all of them and that gives me confidence in my ability to take on any challenge. I finally got my opportunity and I’m going to make the most of it.
AW - Tell us about yourself as a person and what you like to do away from boxing.
KM - I like fashion and music and I’m also a comedian. I have a wife and kids that I spend a lot of time with when I’m at home. I’m also really active in my community where I try to steer at-risk kids in the right direction.
AW - Having taken up boxing at 20 before turning pro at 25, you likely would have worked a day job before boxing. Could you tell us a little about that?
KM - I worked at 24 Hour Fitness and did some community work with a couple of youth organizations. I did some personal training as well and went to junior college for a couple of years.
AW - In closing, do you have a message for Herrera?
KM -I’m coming for you, man. This is my time to shine and world will be watching, so you better come ready to fight.
Questions and or comments can be sent to Anson at and you can follow him at Anson is also a member of The Ring magazine’s ratings panel.
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