MONTREAL -- When welterweight Ray Robinson hurt his back in a car accident on his way home from a training session two weeks before he was scheduled to fight Dmitry Mikhaylenko, it left Mikhaylenko promoter Main Events in a bind and looking for a replacement opponent on very short notice. And one HBO would accept.
Main Events matchmaker Jolene Mizzone started making calls looking for somebody ready, willing and able to face Mikhaylenko.
Enter Karim Mayfield, who did not even hesitate when offered the fight and will oppose Mikhaylenko on Saturday night (HBO, 9:45 ET/PT) on the undercard of unified light heavyweight titleholder Sergey Kovalev’s rematch with Jean Pascal at the Bell Centre.
"When Ray Robinson dropped out, I called Jolene because I thought Karim would make a great replacement,” Greg Cohen, Mayfield’s promoter, said Thursday. “I hadn't even mentioned it to Karim. When Jolene said she thought we could make this fight happen, I called Karim and he didn't even hesitate. He is in fighting shape 365 days a year.
“That is what you want as a promoter. That is what you want from your fighters and you seldom get it. Come Saturday night Karim Mayfield will be 100 percent."
Mayfield (19-2-1, 11 KOs), 35, of San Francisco, who is coming off a 14-month layoff, took the fight on short notice but had been training for a much lower-profile fight in mid-February. So he was already close to 147 pounds and jumped at the chance when Cohen called him.
"I am happy to be able to have this opportunity,” Mayfield said. “It was short notice but as a professional you have to be prepared for these types of opportunities. I am always ready. I have a lot of power and speed. After this fight, the winner, which will be me, will have better opportunities available to them after this fight.”
Mikhaylenko (20-0, 9 KOs), 29, of Russia, said he was grateful that Mayfield accepted the fight so he could make his HBO debut -- Mayfield has fought once on HBO, losing to Thomas Dulorme -- rather than having the fight canceled.
“I thank Karim Mayfield for taking this fight on the short notice,” Mikhaylenko said. “Now my dream has come true and I am fighting on HBO. I don't like to talk much before the bout. I am 100 percent ready and I want to give the best show to our fans. The victory goes to the strongest guy."