Undefeated junior welterweight contender Karim “Hard Hitta” Mayfield is arguably the best self-promoter in boxing today. Mayfield, 32, doesn’t revert to cheap sensationalism like some of today’s fighters.
His promotional style mirrors his boxing technique. Mayfield (17-0, 10 KOs) lays low, dips, and then fires, hoping that some of his words connect. Last weekend while in Las Vegas to attend the Floyd Mayweather vs. Robert Guerrero fight, Mayfield challenged WBA and WBC champion Danny Garcia to a fight. The resulting confrontation led Angel Garcia, Danny’s father and trainer, to lose his cool.
Mayfield, ranked number four by the WBA and number two by the WBO, feels he’s earned a shot at a world title. Recently, I spoke with the San Francisco native to get his take on a potential Garcia fight, his determination, and politics in boxing.
John J. Raspanti: You sparred with Danny Garcia last year. All reports are you did pretty well. What do you think you need to do to win.
Karim Mayfield: Actually, just be myself. It’s my style. When I came to his camp, he was peaking. He was at his best at the time. I hadn’t fought in several months. I was in okay shape. That being said, I still did good against him. Some people say that sparring isn’t fighting, but in a way, it is. You’re still going as hard as in a fight. You don’t take it easy. I could see that my style was definitely capable of beating his.
JJR: Why would Angel Garcia say that you won’t be getting a shot at his son’s belt?
KM: That was weird that he would say that. They threw out something like I need to be in the top-ten first. I guess he (Garcia) hasn’t been checking the rankings. I’m ranked number two by the WBO and number four by the WBA - right behind Amir Khan, who might be fighting Mayweather. It’s crazy for him to even make that statement. Danny Garcia said that he didn’t even know me. That’s crazy.
JJR: You signed a contract to fight Khabib Allakhverdiev for the WBA title junoir welterweight a few weeks ago. The fight fell through. What happened?
KM: There’s a whole lot of politics in this game. It’s not what you know or whom you know, right?
KM: It’s not what you know but who knows you. That being said he had some strings pulled. I definitely feel that it should have been mandoratory to fight that guy. It didn’t happen. That’s the kind of stuff that happens in boxing. I’m prepared for whatever comes next.
JJR: Why do you think some of the other contenders are reluctant to fight you?
KM: Well, maybe’s it’s because they’ve seen since the beginning that I’ve been fighting tough guys. You look at Danny Garcia’s record. He hasn’t fought any undefeated fighters. I’ve fought like six undefeated guys before I was even ten and zero. I’ve heard from a lot of people that I have a old school type of record where guys didn’t care who they fought. So answering your question, I think these guys see that I’ve been tested. They know I’ve sparred world champions. There’s never been anything said about Karim Mayfield being hurt in sparring. You’ve always heard the opposite.
JJR: Do you believe that you might fight Garcia someday?
KM: I think they’ll be ducking me for awhile. If I can beat up on Zab (Judah) in a way better fashion then Danny did, and I’m sure I will, the chances will be better. But, you know these guys have been ducking me for a bit. I’m assuming that Angel (Garcia) doesn’t want to take the fight. Being ranked number two, something’s gotta give.
JR: So if the fight with Garcia doesn’t happen, what’s next?
KM: Well, I had a meeting with Top Rank in Las Vegas. We’re trying to work out something.
JR: Do you feel you have to call fighters out to get bouts?
KM: Yeah, I think so. They say closed mouths don’t get said. I look at guys like Abril who fought Brandon Rios. He was the number ranked guy and had a title. They looked past him. He had to show up at a Brandon Rios press conference and interrupt it. Right after that, he got a fight with Rios. I do think that does have a lot of impact. I read a proverb yesterday that said, ‘To catch this you have to stir up the waters’. We definitely stirred up the waters.
JR: Thanks, Karim.
KM: Anytime bro.
John J. Raspanti responds to all his emails. Please send all questions and comments to John at: firstname.lastname@example.org