It's a rematch with Francisco Santana; he's from Santa Barbara. We're fighting at 150 pounds. The first fight was a pretty close fight. I got a split decision. Nevertheless, I came out with a victory and this time, I will make it more decisive...I'm going to be victorious at the end of the night," stated up-and-coming welterweight Karim Mayfield as he talked about his upcoming rematch with Francisco Santana this Saturday on the undercard of Andre Ward vs. Mikkel Kesler. Check it out!
MJ: How's everything going?
KM: I'm doing well; just ready to go in a couple of days.
MJ: Tell us about your upcoming fight.
KM: It's a rematch with Francisco Santana; he's from Santa Barbara. We're fighting at 150 pounds. The first fight was a pretty close fight. I got a split decision. Nevertheless, I came out with a victory and this time, I will make it more decisive.
MJ: I understand this is on the undercard of Kessler vs. Ward.
KM: Yes sir; the semi-main event.
MJ: How is training going for this fight?
KM: It's going quite well. I was in camp with Sugar Shane Mosley in Big Bear for about five weeks. That went really well. I came back to get back on track with my regular coach. I'm ready to go now.
MJ: How is Shane looking in there?
KM: He's looking good. He wasn't actually in camp, but at his house, he has a gym. He stays sparring with a lot of pros that are working out there. He was already almost at his fighting weight and he was looking sharp.
MJ: Did you get to spar with him?
KM: Yeah, I sparred with him about five times. He's looking good; he was sharp. He wasn't in full camp, but he's still training. His speed is still there and his power is still there and I got in a lot of good work and experience.
MJ: What kind of adjustments are you going to make for the second fight with Santana?
KM: The difference will be not holding back so much, picking up my punches. Stamina was an issue in the last fight. I was in between trainers at the time, so I was sort of trained and I could only push myself so far. This time, I've been pushed to the limit, so this time, my punch count will definitely be much higher.
MJ: Tell us about what it's like as a prospect to work your way up the rankings.
KM: I think it's about fighting the right fights. At this particular time, it's about fighting the marquee guys. If you look at my record, I've fought four undefeated guys; the last guy I fought was 15-3. I think those fights will get me up there a little faster as opposed to fighting guys with not so good records. Instead of having thirty or forty fights with those type of guys, I think by fighting about eighteen of these type of guys I'm fighting that I'll be fighting for a good title sooner.
MJ: How do boxing politics affect working your way up the ladder?
KM: Boxing politics apply with me. I feel like I'm getting in at the lower end of the stick. For instance, not being able to have a lot of negotiating power from not having a promoter. Santana is a Goossen guy and I'm fighting out of my weight class. We fought at 147 and now we're fighting at 152. That's one of the differences of not having a promoter. He's able to call the shots. That's one of the things I'm looking at; obviously they're going to try and get everything in their favor. There are certain things that I have to look out for.
MJ: Are you planning to be with a promoter soon?
KM: Hopefully. There will be a lot of people at this fight. A few might be able to pick me up. I'm not out here chasing the money; I want it to chase me. I'm not looking to take just any type of deal. If the deal is right, meaning I get a good amount of fights, televised fights, I'll be ready to make that move. If not, I'll just stay independent for awhile.
MJ: Who are you aiming for in your next fight after this one?
KM: Actually, I would like to shoot for the California State title. That used to be a prestigious belt, one of those up-and-coming belts. For my weight division, it is vacant right now. I would like to fight anyone for the 147-pound California State title. That would be my next move, definitely.
MJ: Can you tell us a little bit about your amateur background?
KM: I had about sixty amateur fights. I fought in the 2004 Olympic Trials, getting the bronze medal in the Western trials. At that time, I'd had only about thirty amateur fights. A lot of people told me that I shouldn't even try it because there were people with 200 fights in it. I went up there and got the bronze medal, so I think I did fairly well. I started off pretty late in boxing, so to be honest, I feel like I've made it pretty far as an amateur.
MJ: Do you have any predictions for Saturday night?
KM: I feel that Ward is going to come out with the victory. I was at the press conference this week and I heard Virgil Hunter speak highly of Kessler, but he said that one thing he didn't see was Kessler being able to make adjustments. That's one thing that Andre Ward can do, make adjustments. I've sparred with Ward and tried to change styles on him and he adjusts well to whatever style is coming toward him. I definitely see Andre Ward coming out with a victory. As for myself, I don't want to prophetize my fight, but I'm going to be victorious at the end of the night.