Unbeaten San Francisco light welterweight Karim Mayfield faces a tall order Saturday on HBO’s Boxing After Dark, fighting 5-foot-10 Thomas Dulorme for a second-tier title, the North American Boxing Federation belt.
With his 18 knockouts to go with a 20-1 record, Dulorme represents a formidable opponent for Mayfield, if not quite the name fighter against whom Mayfield (18-0-1, 11 knockouts) might make more of himself.
The 140-pound match in Atlantic City is the supporting bout for a main event showcasing charismatic light heavyweight Sergey Kovalev (23-0-1, 21 knockouts), one of HBO’s most important commodities these days, against Cedric Agnew (26-0, 13 knockouts).
Mayfield not only needs to win but also needs to avoid being overshadowed by Kovalev, who grins incessantly and seems to be having a great time as a boxing star, one of several HBO mainstays these days from the former Soviet Bloc. He also has knocked out each of his past six opponents in four rounds or fewer, so he’s a crowd-pleaser.
That’s not Mayfield’s modus operandi, and thus his low profile. He’s more likely to fight in a frustrating elbow-to-elbow manner and beat his opponent to the punch, much as Andre Ward might do against a dangerous opponent. Virgil Hunter trains both Bay Area fighters.
Dulorme suffered his lone defeat on HBO in 2012, a seventh-round TKO win for Luis Carlos Abregu, and that seems to be boosting Mayfield’s confidence despite his nearly four-inch height disadvantage.
"Dulorme is a technical guy with a long jab who has some fast hands,’’ Mayfield conceded. “He's nothing special, though. I've seen him get knocked out before, so I know his chin is suspect. I've fought guys who are long and rangy just like him, so I'm confident in my ability to land some powerful shots. If I touch that chin of his, there's no doubt, he's getting knocked out."
He gave Hunter some of the credit for his confidence in that scenario. “Virgil has got me working on some new punches that I'll display against Dulorme,” Mayfield said.
Another source of confidence for Mayfield, who knocked out Christopher Fernandez in a tuneup last September, is that he has won on HBO before. That 2012 victory over Mauricio Herrera increased in magnitude two weeks ago when Herrera nearly upset the WBA/WBC champion Danny Garcia.
“ I thought Herrera pulled off the victory against Garcia because he landed more punches and was the aggressor for most of the fight,” Mayfield said.
Mayfield is no cinch to beat Dulorme, but Garcia is the sort of opponent Mayfield really needs, and it’s hard to block that out.
“The fact that I dominated Herrera and he got the world title opportunity means there's something wrong. I've been calling Danny Garcia out for the last couple of years, but he's been running from me because I put it on him when he brought me in camp. I'll beat the breaks off Garcia if we ever fight. First I have to take care of Dulorme, and that is where my 100 percent focus is right now."