Karim Mayfield and Steve Forbes meet at the crossroads
By John J. Raspanti, Doghouse Boxing (June 10, 2011) Doghouse Boxing
Karim Mayfield
When welterweight Steve “2pound” Forbes (35-9, 11 KOs) climbs into the ring on June 17 in Austin, Texas, he will be facing more then just the power laden punches of Karim “Hard Hitta” Mayfield. If he loses, Forbes will become nothing more then a bottom feeder. If he wins, then the sky is the limit for the 34-year-old former IBF champion.

For 30-year-old Karim Mayfield (13-0, 8 KOs) opportunities are finally beginning to present themselves. Mayfield is itching to get his career on the fast track. A few months ago at the Wild Card Gym in Los Angeles, Mayfield impressed all (including promoter Bob Arum) who witnessed his sparring sessions with ring superstar Manny Pacquiao. A week later Prize Fight Boxing Promotions signed Mayfield to a personal three-year contract.

Sparring with Pacquiao taught Mayfield something valuable about himself.

“I learned I can compete with elite competition”, he replied.

Forbes realizes that many consider a 34 year-old boxer as old. Forbes doesn’t buy it.

“34 years isn't old in these days. Guys like b-hop and Johnson even Sergio Martinez. They are sharp. Of course Mayweather is great and he's two days older than I am. Oh and let's not forget Marquez who is also older than me,” he replied.

The Oregon native won the IBF super featherweight crown almost ten years ago in Miami, Florida. He held the title for over two years before losing it to Carlos Hernandez. His most recent attempt at a title was in 2008 when he tangled with welterweight titleholder Andre Berta. Forbes was on the losing end of a unanimous decision. Since the Berta fight, he has dropped two of his last three fights. Is he worried?

“The loss against a guy like Cuello was.me going through a very painful and vicious divorce, so the focus wasn't there. The Jojo Dan fight was -.I mean watch it. I'm in Canada fighting a ranked contender and an accidental head butt occurs. The scores were 58-56 for him. I thought I was ahead in the fight and a lot of the Canadians did too. So I'm not worried, what can I do”, he added.

Mayfield feels his recent sparring has really helped him prepare for Forbes.

“Sparring is going very well”, he said. “This is hard sparring – I usually spar with my friends. Now I’m sparring guys that I’m not used to working with. This is full force and very intense. I am definitely feeling strong and confident. I’m in the best shape of my career”.

Mayfield's last fight was in June, when he destroyed Sergio Joel De La Torre. He was ready to return in November, until his opponent pulled out. A potential February fight never materialized. Mayfield realizes that his fight with Forbes is the most important bout of his career.

“Yes definitely, this is the first time I’ve been on television in a real long time. A victory definitely could lead to bigger things”.

Forbes has been working with the legendary trainer Emanuel Stewart at the Kronk Gym in Detroit. The work has been tough, but he’s enjoying it.

“I'm been getting in good tough work here at the Kronk Gym. The 20 something kids are hungry and I had to put on my professor cap. I’m honored, I feel good”.

Mayfield too has been training with some young professional fighters. He knows that Forbes likes to move around the ring and box.

“He’s pretty slick”, he said. “I’ve been working with some young fighters. You talk about movement, these guys can really move. They’re the new generation. These guys have really been helping me.”

The Karim Mayfield-Steve Forbes battle is a scheduled ten rounder. The bout can be seen on ESPN2 Friday Night Fights. The co-feature is Fernando Guerrero (21-0, 16 KO's) taking on Michael Medina (24-3-2, 19 KO's).

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