ALBANY, N.Y. — Karim Mayfield floored Raymond Serrano at the fourth-round bell, and then landed a solid right hand less than a minute into the fifth that stopped the challenger in the NABO junior welterweight title fight Friday night.

Mayfield and Serrano both swung at the bell of the fourth round, but Mayfield’s punch landed, sending Serrano (18-1) to the canvas. Serrano eventually returned to his corner, wobbling and recovering barely enough to go out for the fifth

“I stayed composed,” Mayfield said. “My corner told me that was a shot that was going to be hard to recover from. A minute’s time wasn’t long enough time to recover from a shot like that. In my mind I was thinking, I don’t want to let this opportunity go where I could’ve gotten him out of there, but didn’t.”

Mayfield (16-0-2 10 KOs) came out with a flurry in the fifth, and referee Eddie Claudio stopped it with Serrano staggering 47 seconds in.

“He fought a good fight,” Serrano said. “He caught me with a good shot. I’ll be back.”

Mayfield, listed shorter by an inch and crouching to make himself shorter, effectively ducked under many of Serrano’s punches in the first three rounds. Mayfield sent Serrano down in the third with a right counter and two more punches.

“I’m only 5-7, maybe even giving myself two inches,” Mayfield said. “When you got a guy that’s shorter than you and a guy goes down lower, it’s a little timid, because you don’t want to be reaching down to jab. Coming up with that coiling style is very intimidating, because you have to reach down, and I’m actually reaching up while you’re reaching down. I knew I could make opportunities from that.”

Serrano was game, especially starting out.

“I was surprised how easy it was for me to hit him,” Serrano said. “He’s strong.”

“He’s a pit bull,” Mayfield said.

But Mayfield crouched and kept his distance in the opening two rounds and was able to counter in the third. He nearly ended it with his right hand at the bell to end the fourth.

“Honestly, I was hoping he was a little timid — but he wasn’t,” Mayfield said. “I caught him with a great shot that put him down. That normally should’ve put a lot of guys out. He shouldn’t have gotten up from that, because I caught him flush.”

In the junior middleweight undercard, Kevin Rooney Jr. lost for the second time, beaten by late replacement Anthony Jones in a four-round decision. The southpaw Jones, who also fought and won four rounds nine days ago, came out aggressively and barely let up. Jones knocked Rooney down twice — in the first round and solidly with a straight left in the second. Rooney landed two good rights in the third round, including an overhand right, but it wasn’t enough. Rooney falls to 4-2.

Copyright 2012 by The Associated Press

SAN FRANCISCO  – On May 18, undefeated NABO light welterweight champion, Karim “Hard Hitta” Mayfield (15-0-1, 9 KOs), headlines ESPN2 “Friday Night Fights” when he defends his title against Philadelphia’s Raymond Serrano (18-0, 8 KOs) at the Exhibition Hall at The Times Union Center in Albany, New York. Joe DeGuardia’s Star Boxing in association with Prize Fight Promotions will promote the 10-round bout.

Mayfield, a San Francisco native, is no stranger to fighting on the east coast. Recently, he was in Philadelphia sparring with Danny Garcia in preparation for Garcia’s fight with Erik Morales. On October 1, 2011, Mayfield dominated Patrick Lopez (20-5, 12 KOs) winning a unanimous decision to capture the vacant WBO NABO light welterweight title.

“I’ve been in the ring with Manny Pacquiao, Antonio Margarito, Robert Guerrero and many other world class fighters,” Mayfield said. “I know I got the talent to become a world champion.  I’m in great shape and I’m always ready to go in case a fight comes up.  I’ve been in the gym working hard and my timing is on point.”

“Virgil Hunter, who’s one of the best trainers in the world, will be working my corner. He’s guided me to victory before and I know together, we’ll come up with a masterful game plan.”

“This is a big opportunity for Karim to show the world he’s an elite fighter,” said Prize Fight promoter Brian Young. “This will be the first time Mayfield headlines a nationally televised main event and we believe he has all the talent to become a world champion.  If he’s victorious, we want to push for a title shot by the end of the year.”

This is a big opportunity for Serrano, who is seeking his first regional title.  He’ll be fighting close to his hometown of Philadelphia where he’s fought most of his career.

“Serrano is a tough guy with a good record and I’ll be going into his backyard for this fight,” Mayfield said. “But I’m on a mission to get that world title shot and I’m not going to let anyone stop me.  I’m just going to keep winning and let my management and promotional teams do their jobs.  I’m taking on all comers but my focus right now is strictly on Serrano. I’ts an honor to be fighting as the main-event on ESPN.  It’s my time to shine.”

NABO junior welterweight champion Karim “Hard Hitta” Mayfield (15-0-1, 9 KOs) of San Francisco is tentatively scheduled to defend his belt for the first time on March 29 against Aris Ambriz (16-2-1, 8 KOs) at the Landers Arena in Southaven, Mississippi.

Also on the card is a middleweight matchup between former 154-pound champ Kassim Ouma and Ishe Smith, as first reported by’s Ryan Burton.

Ambriz, a native of Azusa, Calif., has a résumé that includes a draw and a loss with Jose Reynoso as well as a fourth-round stoppage to Pier-Olivier Coté on the Manny Pacquiao-Shane Mosley undercard last May.  He has not seen action since last June, when he scraped by Juan Santiago via six-round majority decision.

“Ambriz is a quality opponent with some pretty good power,” Mayfield said. “Unfortunately for my Bay ‘Areans’ it won’t be back home this time, but I’m ready to go and fight anywhere.”

In his last bout three months ago, Mayfield incurred a deep gash over his right eyebrow in a dominant unanimous decision victory over veteran Patrick Lopez for the vacant belt.  Just two weeks ago, his physician cleared him to spar.

“It happens when you fight a southpaw like Lopez, but it’s good to go,” Mayfield said.

This fight will mark only the second bout for “Hard Hitta” at 140 pounds after a career spanning 147 to 154.  Working with Victor Conte on his nutrition and fitness, Mayfield vows he will not labor to make the limit.

“I’m walking around at [1]56,” he said.  A few weeks I get to 145 and I have to back off because you don’t want to cut [pounds] too early.  I just have to watch my diet and I’ll be good.”

Currently ranked No. 9 in the WBO, Mayfield would love to ascend the rankings and get an opportunity to fight for Timothy Bradley’s title as soon as possible, whether against “Desert Storm” or someone else should Bradley move up to 147 pounds to pursue a Pacquiao fight.

“That would be great,” said Mayfield, who was one of Pacquiao’s main sparring partners for the Mosley fight.  “I would love to do that, whether the belt is vacant or if I got a shot to fight the champ in Bradley.  I only have 15 pro fights under my belt, but I definitely could have gave him a better fight than [Joel] Casamayor did.  If I’m not ready right now at 30, I’ll never be ready.”


By Ryan Maquiñana

San Francisco’s Karim Mayfield (15-0-1, 9 KOs) can finally put something around his waist after flooring Patrick Lopez (20-5, 12 KOs) three times en route to capturing the NABO interim junior welterweight title by unanimous decision in Tunica, Miss., last night.

“I didn’t care about the scores when they were reading them out loud,” Mayfield said. “I just wanted to hear, ‘And the new!’ with my name right after. I’m just happy I did.”

After his older brother LaRon taught him how to box in the Fillmore projects by wrapping five pairs of socks around his fists as a kid, Mayfield took up the regulated version of the sport under the tutelage of trainer Ben Bautista.

As an amateur, Mayfield was a quick study, winning the San Francisco Golden Gloves and making the Olympic Trials at 165 pounds. Soon enough, the pros came calling, and after five years, the 30-year-old known as “The Hard Hitta” in Bay Area boxing circles can bring some hardware home. caught up with Mayfield, who is celebrating his victory in the South before returning to San Francisco later this week.


“It was just like any fight. When you get there, you think it’s gonna be overwhelming, but it was just like being in any other fight. I’ve had a lot of pressure on me before. One time I had to beat the promoter’s son at the 75th Anniversary of the San Francisco Golden Gloves. Ben [Bautista] said, ‘I’m gonna call you Rise from now on because you rise to the occasion.’ This was no different.”


“He came out and he was fast. Having about 280 amateur fights, you can tell he was precise. He had some nice technique. I think my orthodox style was throwing him off early, but for the most part, he was definitely a good opponent and a learning experience. That was definitely a step up for me. I think the difference between him and beating Steve Forbes was Lopez’s will. He was so determined.”


“What Ben and I planned, we executed. We knew Lopez has been working to negate what I’ve been doing, which is use my straight right hand and turning him. I had to set him up. I attacked him at times and then showed like I was trying to elude him in order to get him to chase me. We wanted him to walk into punches, and that’s how we did that.”


“To be honest, I actually don’t remember when I knocked him down. I just fight. I kind of kept missing with the overhand right. He kept ducking under it. I was trying to set him up with an uppercut but he was waiting for that. I could tell he was really hungry to win that title, so I had to back him up.

“I knocked him down with a straight one-two. He got up and shook it off. Two punches later, the same one-two knocked him down again. I tried to do it again, but he wasn’t falling for it. The other knockdown was from a double right hand, I think. I started using my jab down the line when I felt like I had the fight.”


“I re-hydrated well. I didn’t want to get too big. I stayed around 149-150 [pounds] the day of the fight. I want to thank Victor Conte and the SNAC team, especially the girls at the office like Veronica Conte and Gina Morton for having my back, and ‘Little V’ during my hypoxic (high-altitude simulator) training.

“I felt good out there. Lopez brought the fight to me every second of the three minutes in each round, and just being at 140, never having fought professionally at this weight and fighting this caliber of opponent, I obviously had to be official as far as my nutrition and conditioning. It would’ve been different if Lopez was a boxer, because you can feel your way around a style like that, but if someone comes at you with a title at stake, you need to be in shape.”


“I feel good at 140, so I’m going to stay. A lot of people lose their power and feel weight drained. I went 10 rounds and dropped the guy three times. There are a couple things I want to work on, but fights are fights.”


“There was definitely a lot of support from people in ‘The City’ saying a lot of positive things, and as much as I inspire them, they motivate me too. We call the Bay Area, ‘The Yay.’ I feel like it’s a family.

“For this camp my managerial team was really behind me and kept everything stress-free, like my publicist, Mario Serrano. My brother, LaRon Mayfield, and my cousin, Marlon Sullivan of Spanatix, they’ve all had my back. We did it together, and we’re not stopping here.”

By Ryan Maquiñana–44508