Karim "Hard Hitta" Mayfield's long road to success in the cruel world of boxing has led him back to where he started.
The undefeated Fillmore-raised slugger -- the subject of an SF Weekly cover profile in October -- will put his junior welterweight belt on the line in an August 17 bout at Kezar Pavilion, marking a rare night of pro boxing in San Francisco. The televised matchuup with Mauricio Herrera will close out this season of ESPN2's "Friday Night Fights."
Herrera is 18-2, coming off a hard-fought April loss to undefeated Mike Alvarado. "He's a real tough opponent, tough as nails," says Marlon Sullivan, Mayfield's co-manager. "But he's also a perfect guy for us; he's a guy who walks forward. This is not a tune-up. He's a real opponent."
The fight is something of a Mayfield in-house production: His promoter, Prize Fight Boxing, will co-promote the event alongside Mo' Betta Entertainment, which is operated by LaRon Mayfield, Karim's older brother and co-manager.
Sullivan admitted that he'd "wanted to bring ESPN to Bill Graham or the Cow Palace." But the cost of doing business there was prohibitive, necessitating "a nostalgic type of event" at the 4,000-seat Kezar Pavilion.
Those high costs of doing business have made bro boxing events scarce in this city. This will be just the fifth bout here since 2006. Speaking of nostalgia, Mayfield knocked out Sergio De La Torre in a 2010 Kezar bout. Phil Di Mauro, who co-promoted that event, claims it was not profitable -- among other travails, he says he was fleeced by Park Patrol officers he was mandated to hire.
The presence of ESPN, however, will go a long way toward making the August 17 bout a happier occasion. Sans TV money, it's damn near impossible to put on a successful boxing event in San Francisco. Team Mayfield, however, is hoping a successful event will propel them up the TV ladder, from ESPN to HBO or Showtime.
Following a dominant 10-round decision over Patrick Lopez recounted in SF Weekly's story, Mayfield sparkled in his initial title defense, knocking Raymond Serrano face-first into the canvas in a fifth-round TKO victory. Mayfield is now 16-0-1.
Mayfield's managers said their man will be compensated between $25,000 and $30,000 for this ESPN bout. Details on how to obtain tickets will be posted here as they become available.
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