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Strong start, knockdown, not enough to gain Mayfield decision on ESPN

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Despite winning the first two or three rounds and scoring an eighth-round knockdown, San Francisco light welterweight Karim Mayfield dropped a close but unanimous 10-round decision Friday to Emanuel Taylor on ESPN in Huntington, N.Y. The scorecards read 97-92, 95-94, 95-94.

I had Mayfield winning 96-93, winning six rounds, including the third, seventh and 10th, but no official gave Mayfield more than one of those three rounds, and ESPN analyst Teddy Atlas, who criticized Mayfield’s “one-dimensional” attack throughout the fight, had him winning none of those three rounds.

Mayfield dominated the early going by bullying his lankier opponent, but Taylor (18-2) got his bearings in the third and clearly won the fourth, fifth, and sixth by landing combinations while Mayfield tried to land a looping right hand that seldom found its mark all night.

After Mayfield had stepped up the attack in the seventh, the knockdown punch early in the eighth was a chopping right to the temple. That’s a 10-8 round.

So, even if you thought Taylor had won five of the eight rounds, Mayfield was only one point down and had the opportunity to seize control in the ninth.

Instead, Taylor had his best round and Mayfield really didn’t deserve to win the fight.

Mayfield, as usual, was solid defensively and boring offensively. He bucked that trend in 2012 with his fifth-round stoppage of Roger Serrano on ESPN but, coming off his March loss to Thomas Dulorme on HBO, Mayfield needed to maintain whatever attractiveness he has left to the television entities.

Taylor had stopped Serrano in six rounds in 2013 but had lost to Chris Algieri in his most recent bout. As with Mayfield, this was a do-or-die fight for Taylor, even though he’s only 23.

It looks bad for Mayfield’s career. As a person, he is attractive, but Mayfield the boxer simply isn’t. It wouldn’t be surprising to see him on ESPN some more, but his career at the elite level, despite his 18-2-1 record, is in danger of running dry.

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