Karim “Hard Hitta” Mayfield (19-2-1-11 KOs) has stepped up on short notice to fight unbeaten sensation Dmitry Mikhaylenko (20-0-9 KOs) in the co-main event of Sergey Kovalev vs. Jean Pascal II which will be aired live on HBO this Saturday, January 30 from the Bell Centre in Montreal, Canada.
Mayfield replaces Ray Robinson (20-2-9 KOs) who had to pull out of the fight due to injuries sustained in a car accident. Mayfield explained to Round By Round Boxing that he would have liked to have had more time to prepare for the fight, but is ready to seize the opportunity that has been provided to him.[otw_shortcode_quote border=”bordered” border_style=”bordered”]You get leery of them giving you these short notice offers. I obviously would like to have the same time to prepare as everyone else, which is like eight weeks. They gave me a weeks notice, but I stay in the gym man so I am ready to go. It means a lot, anytime you get an opportunity to fight in front of the world, you have to seize the moment regardless. They say the bigger the risk, the bigger the reward, so we are taking a big risk and looking to seize a big reward come January 30th.[/otw_shortcode_quote]
Mayfield has not fought since 2014, and since that time he has been willing to step up as a last minute opponent for several key names in the Welterweight division, such as Shawn Porter on 24-hours notice, a fight in which never came to fruition, as Porter’s team opted to fight a much lesser experienced opponent, Erick Bone, instead.
It seems as though Mayfield’s willingness to be a short-notice replacement has finally paid off in the form of a great opportunity, as the fight this Saturday against Mikhaylenko will be for the vacant USBA Welterweight title.
Mayfield took his only two loses under the training of the esteemed Virgil Hunter, and has since reunited with his previous long-time trainer Ben Bautista. Mayfield was an undefeated 18-0 under Bautista in their previous pairing. The two look to bring Mayfield back to his rugged, high-pressuring and unorthodox style that made him successful in their earlier years together.
“Ben Bautista sort of puts the frosting on the cake,” said Mayfield. “He knows what I am capable of and sort of reminds me of what brought be to become as successful of a fighter as I am today.”
Bautista explained to Round By Round Boxing what fans can expect to see on Saturday night.
“Don’t blink. We have to be all gas, no breaks,” said Bautista. “We can’t afford to wait to blink and go to sleep in this ring and sleep on this dude because he is going to keep on coming. So Karim has got to be consistent. If we are going to go 10 rounds, then he needs to be consistent for 10 rounds.”
Although this fight was made on short notice, it is actually an intriguing matchup of fighting styles. “Dmitry Mihaylenko, you know he is very tough, very durable,” explained Bautista. “He keeps on coming forward, he is able to absorb punches very well and retaliate, he is just a pressure fighter. On the other side of the token, I think he is tailor made for Karim’s style. As long as I get the old Karim, this should be easy work for us.”
Mayfield spent several weeks in 2015 training in Moscow as a selected sparring partner in a Russian based training camp. Mayfield believes the time he spent sparring Russian fighters has made him better prepared to fight Mikhaylenko this Saturday.
“The Russian fighters they are always pressure fighters and I [already] know that he is going to attempt to put the pressure on me but I got a whole lot of things up my sleeve for him,” said Mayfield.
Short notice fights are often a major adjustment for both fighters involved. One opponent has been given very little time to prepare for the fight and the other opponent has been given two months to prepare for a completely different opponent.
Saturday night should bring a level of unexpected excitement and anticipation as these two toe-to-toe brawlers look to seize a title with a large level of desire and a minimal amount of opponent-specific preparation.
Bautista may have explained the fight best by simply saying; “Don’t blink.”
Photo by Stephanie Trapp