ESPN2 Friday Night Fights TV Cheat Sheet- June 16, 2011
By Martin Mulcahey, MaxBoxing (June 16, 2011) Special to Doghouse Boxing
Karim Mayfield
Last Friday Joe Tessitore and Teddy Atlas hosted a fight card in their backyard at New York City’s elegant Roseland Ballroom. This week they trek across the country to the gritty Frank Erwin Center in Austin, Texas. Which seems an odd venue to host Dominican born Fernando Guerrero, especially since Guerrero is a huge draw in his adoptive hometown of Salisbury, Maryland. I am disappointed that one of the few American boxers who’s a local hero is obligated to fight thousands of miles away from his fan base. On the undercard West Coast products on opposite career trajectories, Karim Mayfield and Steve Forbes, meet at the crossroads. Even though this card appears out of place, the matchup’s are interesting and worth a look on a slow boxing weekend.

At the Frank Erwin Center, Austin, TX
(ESPN2) Fernando Guerrero (21-0) vs. Grady Brewer (27-12)
(ESPN2) Karim Mayfield (13-0-1) vs. Steve Forbes (35-9)

Steve Forbes – The 34-year-old former champion Forbes held a world title for two years and is a respected boxer hanging on in search of one last shot at glory. Began boxing at age ten and was a good but not outstanding amateur, winning Washington state and regional titles. Learned and matured rapidly as a pro, fighting for a major alphabet title in his 20th pro fight, defeating tough but one-dimensional John Brown for the IBF belt. Before that, was pushed too fast into a fight with former champion Alejandro “Cobrito” Gonzalez, in his 15th fight, which showed Forbes’ ambition but also a lack of ring maturity. Even at this stage, Forbes remains a stern test, even though he has a 3-6 record since 2006. Only suffered one unexpected loss, an embarrassing setback to then 18-12-3 Harrison Cuello last year, but has otherwise represented himself well in defeat. Four months ago, held his own against prospect Ionut Dan Ion (also known as Jo Jo Dan) before a cut ended his evening only two points behind on the scorecards. Gained many fans competing in the second season of “The Contender,” losing in the finals to a naturally bigger Grady Brewer. Forbes has had problems with weight, losing his title on the scales, but maintained his weight in the mid-140s for the last three years. Last saw the spotlight in 2008, losing a 12-round decision to Andre Berto for the WBC welterweight title and before that, took some rounds from Oscar De La Hoya. Is a cunning boxer, relying on experience instead of waning speed and movement. Was never a hard puncher but Forbes is accurate and does not waste punches on flurries or combinations against movers. Reaching openings has gotten harder with age but for one shot, Forbes retains the quickness to get a punch on target. Was a defense-first fighter in his prime, creating openings by making opponents miss and countering. A sought-after sparring partner, Forbes was the main opponent for Floyd Mayweather Jr. to prepare for Shane Mosley. Will not be awed by any opponent and comes to a fight with genuine confidence. Mayfield is the most physically imposing fighter Forbes has faced in three years and will tell just how much the veteran has left on his boxing odometer.

Karim Mayfield – San Francisco product has shared the ring with boxing’s elite, crossing gloves with Manny Pacquiao, Shane Mosley, Ricky Hatton, Antonio Margarito, Robert Guerrero and Celestino Caballero among others. Unfortunately, Mayfield is merely a preferred sparring partner to those men and has not built his own brand at age 30, only fighting 14 times. Should have plenty of miles left in his body since “Hard Hitta” took up the sport a bit late at age 20. Has a natural aptitude for the sport and had a good amateur run (variously reported at 60-5 or 40-5) winning the San Francisco Golden Gloves and finishing with a bronze at the 2004 Olympic trials. His pro potential was evident, which is why Mayfield was signed to a managerial contract by Jackie Kallen. That union has expired but others like trainer Virgil Hunter (Andre Ward’s coach) and Floyd Mayweather Sr. (currently training Mayfield) observed his positives and work ethic, running Mayfield through tough regimens. In his first nine fights, Mayfield drew attention overpowering four undefeated prospects in Francisco Santana, Rahman Yusubov, Alejo Sepulveda, and Mario Lozano. Mayfield says he predicates his style on Aaron Pryor but has eclectic ring tastes citing old Willie Pep films as influence. Punches are accurate but only come one or two at a time and follow a solid but predictable jab. Despite his brawn and physical tools, Mayfield gives a lot of ground, backing up to create space for him to jump into. Sometimes holds his hands low coming forward or drops his lead hand when throwing hooks. Chin seems solid and Mayfield has good instincts that keep proper distance when not punching. Mayfield has been out of the ring for a full year now, bouncing between mid-level promoters, but had two fights fall out. Gym rat attitude and physical strength (a bulky upper body with ripped musculature) keep him sharp despite long ring absences. He could be a distracted by his many entrepreneurial interests but often returns to the Straight Forward Boxing Club to help mentor young kids (he is married with three children). When asked to describe himself, Mayfield stated, “I’m a boxer-brawler. I come in throwing punches from all angles. If I had to compare it to any fighters, it would be Mike Tyson, Prince Naseem Hamed and Roy Jones Jr.”

Verdict – Older boxers are vulnerable to speed or pressure fighters and Mayfield sports the right mix of both that leans more in the direction of pressure. There could be some early subconscious hesitancy from Mayfield, since he is used to acquiescing to stars as his role of sparring partner. However, once Mayfield jumps into the fight mentally, he will do so with both feet and Forbes will be forced onto his back foot, where I cannot see him holding off the bulk of Mayfield. Forbes still has the will and feet to survive, while Mayfield lacks the refinement to stop someone of Forbes’ guile. With each round, Mayfield gets stronger and Forbes punches less and by the sixth round, Forbes is overtaken on the cards and well-beaten at the end of ten rounds.

Grady Brewer – The best way to describe this battle-hardened boxer is as two full levels above journeyman but still a slight notch below elite gatekeeper. Even at 40 years of age, Brewer has some tread left on his tires and has won nine of his last ten including the second season of “The Contender” series. Most recently took away the undefeated record of Canadian based Nigerian Albert Onolunose and derailed an Anthony Thompson that many thought had championship abilities. Not content beating up on youngsters, Brewer has defeated veterans Steve Forbes, Cornelius Bundrage and Michael Stewart, showing he can deal with intelligent as well as youthful opposition. Was riding an eight-fight winning streak, against good foes, but ran into a hot Erislandy Lara, who stopped him in the last round of a lopsided affair a year-and-a-half ago. Since then, only fought once, a six-rounder one month ago against competent Abel Perry but at his age, needs more time to recuperate. Never enters a ring out of shape and at 5’10” with a 72-inch reach, is a solid junior middleweight who can absorb early punishment. Took all of 2007 off and only averaged two fights a year since 2006 but given his fast starts, the layoffs do not seem to affect him adversely. Brewer was thrown to the wolves early in his career, losing to the likes of Peter Manfredo, Jermain Taylor and Kelly Pavlik before his 17th fight. Overcame this and prospered because of the toughness those fights can give a fighter who does not break mentally. Brewer is at his best when he gets a stiff jab working early and is surprisingly good when the fights lack excitement due to his movement and counterpunching abilities. Has the experience to frustrate foes only looking to land big punches and the intellect to avoid boxers who do not set up punches or throw combinations. Brewer is durable, despite seven stoppage losses, going at least five rounds when not lasting the distance. A stern test for any prospect, at this stage of his career, Brewer has found his niche as a spoiler.

Fernando Guerrero – One of the few American (born in the Dominican Republic but came to America at age eight) prospects with enough charisma to amass a strong local following. Some of Guerrero’s home fights feature crowds nearly as boisterous as Ricky Hatton had in Manchester; the good will toward him is too genuine for TV to produce synthetically. Has a very good amateur background, beating Shawn Porter once, compiling nearly 150 bouts. Began to box in his early teens, emulating hero Felix Trinidad too much for an amateur system that rewards accuracy over power. Competed internationally and was a Junior Olympian, winning the 2007 National Golden Gloves tourney and finished second the year before. Lost out to Shawn Estrada for the 2008 Olympic team but considering his pro style, Guerrero did better than expected in the amateur scoring system. As a pro, has not disappointed, knocking out 16 of 21 opponents, using an imposing physique to move opponents around the ring. Also enjoys the advantages of a southpaw but still squares up too much in finishing sequences. Against Michael Walker, tallied nearly 30 consecutive punches before the referee stepped in. Needs more variance in punch selection, since all Guerrero’s kayos have come before the fifth round, revealing a lack of imagination. Stamina seems fine, with Guerrero showing good wind in a ten-round decision over Ishe Smith and dealt well with a late-round cut over his eye in a fight against Ossie Duran. Displays a good mix of speed and power in both hands and his accuracy is above average to date. Defense is not bad but, because of Guerrero’s youth (24 years old), he relies on reflexes instead of staying at a proper distance or keeping his hands up. Is marketed as a kayo artist but Guerrero lacks that extra nanosecond of speed to make his punches more impactful and is like Arthur Abraham in that sense. Fought at super middleweight but now seems comfortable and settled at 160 pounds. Is most suited for middleweight, where his physical dimensions are ideal. Interviews reveal a humble and astute person and everyone comments positively on Guerrero’s work ethic. A definite prospect, Guerrero possesses the right mix of personal and in-the-ring ingredients to move beyond ESPN and into Showtime and HBO telecasts.

Verdict – Brewer remains a tough assignment and Guerrero has been rocked a couple times but Brewer showed deficiencies facing a southpaw, against Erislandy Lara. Guerrero is a stronger version of Lara but lacks the refinement of the Cuban sharpshooter. Given that Lara needed ten rounds to track down Brewer, I don’t see a slightly slower Guerrero cutting off the ring despite dishing out an equal amount of punishment. Guerrero’s a fiery starter and Brewer takes chances early, so this fight will be an early stoppage or drawn-out decision. I lean toward decision, with Brewer surviving two knockdowns to last the distance in a lopsided loss.

Prediction record for 2011: 87% (91-14)
Prediction record for 2010: 85% (218-40)

You can contact Marty at or visit him at .

NEW: Follow Doghouse Boxing on FaceBook!

For more Boxing News 24/7 and so much more... visit our homepage now!

© Copyright / All Rights reserved: Doghouse Boxing Inc. 1998-2011