San Francisco re-established itself in the fight game on Saturday, as welterweight prospect Karim “The Hard Hitta” Mayfield satisfied his hometown fans with a fourth-round technical knockout of Sergio De La Torre.
Serenaded by a chorus of chants bearing his nickname throughout the bout, Mayfield, 146.5, flustered his opponent with unwavering pressure, sealing the deal with a barrage of punches at 3:00 of the fourth round. De La Torre, 147, a native of Escondido, California, drops to 11-14 (1).
“It felt great to have my friends and family behind me,” exclaimed Mayfield, 13-0-1 (8), beaming with pride. “In camp, we worked on getting distance with the jab to set up my right hand, and it all worked out perfectly.”
The featured bout put an exclamation point on a night of professional pugilism at Kezar Pavilion, a building that has hosted the likes of Rocky Marciano and Bobo Olson in the past.
“For a long time, San Francisco was the boxing Mecca of the West Coast,” added Mayfield’s trainer, Ben Bautista. “We’re doing our part here to make it a fight town again.”
From the opening bell, Mayfield applied effective pressure that brought the crowd to its feet. By utilizing a jab that one would classify a rangefinder, the hometown fighter was able to employ an overhand right that served as his main weapon of choice. De La Torre did his best to make it a fight, getting Mayfield on the ropes and tapping him on the body on the ropes in the initial frame. But Mayfield stayed true to his moniker, taking the round by employing a series of lead right crosses and hooks that snapped De La Torre’s head back as the first round came to an end.
The second round began with De La Torre now attempting to keep the fight in the center of the ring with the left jab. Those endeavors were futile, as Mayfield consistently found success with the overhand right. Soon enough, another showcase of offensive firepower from Mayfield was punctuated by a left jab that knocked a stumbling De La Torre into the ropes. The manner in which the Escondido native fell back caused referee Jon Schorle to assert his discretion and give De La Torre a standing eight-count. To his credit, De La Torre collected himself and resumed fighting, but the nightmarish round continued, as another scoring flurry from Mayfield led to another knockdown. This time, a wobbly De La Torre rose to his feet, but was saved by the bell.
Although outgunned and knocked down twice, a valiant De La Torre continued to come forward at the beginning of the third round. But Mayfield willingly accepted the challenge, backing him up behind the strength of a series of left hooks to the body and right hands to the head. However, it had seemed as if De La Torre woke up and realized that he was in the ring, since over the course of the third, he was able to weather the storm and stay out of trouble, despite being outlanded once more.
The fourth and final round was far from anticlimactic. It turned out that the previous round was an aberration, as Mayfield pleased the fans with a monstrous right hand that shook De La Torre and pushed him to the ropes. The finish was academic, as Mayfield landed a left hook and a right cross-hook hybrid that caused drops of De La Torre’s sweat to splash press row. Immediately after Schorle waved off the bout, it catalyzed a deluge of locals to flood the ring in approval.
Mayfield now has his sights set on a regional title, but before the hunt for hardware begins, his ongoing search for a new manager and promoter will be at the forefront for now.
“I’m still a free agent,” Mayfield declared. “I’m undefeated; I’m exciting and I’m available.”
Anthony Hirsch TKO2 Jovanni Rubio
Normally a junior middleweight, Oakland’s Hirsch, 163, impressively beat Santa Rosa’s Rubio, who weighed in just under the super middleweight limit at 167.5. Despite being the lighter man, Hirsch utilized his height advantage and imposed his will on Rubio, as he continually stalked him around the ring. After an initial dominant frame from Hirsch that was highlighted by a chopping counter right hand, the Oakland native turned it on in the second, with an incessant series of jabs and right hooks to the midsection. The action found its way to the neutral corner, where Hirsch unleashed his final salvo. Subsequently following a big right cross that left the crowd gasping, referee Dan Stell stopped the bout at 2:34. A game Rubio protested the stoppage, but to no avail. With the win, Hirsch elevated his record to 12-3-1 (6), while Rubio dropped to 6-12 (4).
“I felt heavy, but I got through it,” shared Hirsch, who is trained by legendary Bay Area trainer Charles King. “It seemed like [Rubio] wanted me to box, but my mindset was to make him fight backwards.”
Bruno Escalante SD 4 Jonathan Alcantara
In a very entertaining battle, Escalante, 118.4, a Filipino based out of Waimanalo, Hawaii, edged Alcantara, 120.5, of Novato, California, in a super bantamweight scrap. Throughout the fight, Alcantara’s corner implored him to throw the left hook upstairs, while Escalante’s trainer called for his southpaw to pump his jab and throw the straight left cross down the pipe. After a first-round where both fighters had their moments, Escalante caught Alcantara coming in with a short left hand in the second that momentarily stopped him in his tracks. In the third round, after Escalante had established his right jab and boxing skills, Alcantara scored with a body attack that backed his Filipino opponent on the ropes. In the final round, Alcantara threw a one-two that found a home on Escalante’s chin, leading to a flurry where the game Filipino was outlanded. However, it was apparently not enough in the judges’ eyes. Two judges scored the bout 39-37 in favor of Escalante, while the other had it 39-37 for Alcantara. Escalante (1-0-1), who last fought to a draw in his debut on the “Pinoy Power III” undercard, earned his first pro victory, while Escalante fell to 4-2.
Ben Rivera UD 4 Shawn Wate
In a junior welterweight bout to open the evening, Rivera, 138.5, of Fresno, outpointed Wate, 138, a southpaw from Los Angeles with an awkward style to match a 10inch afro. For the majority of the fight, Wate was content to wait on his opponent to make a mistake before initiating his offense. For his part, Rivera tucked in his chin and employed a variety of ways to work his way inside, with the left hook upstairs doing most of the damage. In the third round, Rivera finally got a backtracking Wate on the ropes and landed a four-punch combination, but surprisingly, it did not have any effect on the Angeleno, who displayed a sturdy chin. Scores were 40-36 and 39-37 twice for Rivera, who secured his first pro win to move to 1-3. Wate, meanwhile, remains winless at 0-5.