Dan Rafael: Virgil Hill

Mayfield signs with Top Rank

May, 31, 2013
5/31/13
10:45
AM ET
Junior welterweight Karim Mayfield of San Francisco caused a stir when he got into a shouting match and near-physical confrontation with unified titleholder Danny Garcia and his father/trainer Angel Garcia in the media center during Floyd Mayweather Jr.’s postfight news conference after his win against Robert Guerrero on May 4 at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas.

It was quite a scene, and it was clear that Mayfield was trying to lure Garcia into a fight (in a ring, not a press room). But pushing and shoving doesn’t normally land a hungry contender a fight unless he has the right backing. Mayfield probably won’t get a shot at Garcia, but after signing this week with Top Rank, he figures to be in the mix for some other meaningful bout.

Garcia is with Golden Boy, which has many of the top junior welterweights and welterweights, and it doesn’t do business with Top Rank. Garcia also has much bigger plans, which hopefully include a showdown with destroyer Lucas Matthysse in September.

But Top Rank also has top fighters at 140 and 147, such as Manny Pacquiao, Juan Manuel Marquez, Timothy Bradley Jr., Brandon Rios and Mike Alvarado, so it’s trying to add depth to its roster in order to give it more matchmaking flexibility. That’s the reason it recently signed 140 titleholder Khabib Allakhverdiev, and that’s also where Mayfield (17-0-1, 10 KOs), who is trained by 2011 trainer of the year Virgil Hunter, fits in.

Mayfield is not an A-side of a fight at this point, but with a couple more solid wins and a promotional push, he might get there.

“Top Rank is extremely happy with the signing of Karim,” matchmaker Brad “Abdul” Goodman said. “He is a top fighter who will take on anyone, anytime, and that in itself deserves credit. Our goal, along with (co-promoter) Prize Fight Boxing, is to get Karim to the world championship and win it.”

Mayfield is coming off his two most notable victories -- a fifth-round knockout of previously undefeated Raymond Serrano in a May 2012 “Friday Night Fights” headliner, followed by a 10-round decision against Mauricio Herrera on HBO.

So Mayfield is getting some television exposure, which is vitally important, but he is 32 already, and there is not a lot of time to waste, even though he has been a pro only since 2006.

“I was maybe 20 years old before I even started boxing,” said Mayfield, who played football in high school and was 54-4 as an amateur. “There was a local gym in my neighborhood and I went to check it out. I sparred with a kid who had been boxing for a year or so and I did extremely well. It just inspired and motivated me. I've been with my trainer, Ben Bautista, since day one.”

He calls himself “Hard Hitta’" for a nickname because, as he said, “I hit everything hard. I don't win by decision, but by collision.”

Perhaps in coming fights, he can put himself on a collision course for a title shot.

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