Karim Mayfield enters tonight's "Friday Night Fights" main event with what he believes to be a bit of a mental edge over foe Raymond Serrano. Both men were in Danny Garcia's camp ahead of Garcia's March 24 bout with Erik Morales, and Mayfield -- a 30-year-old San Francisco resident who is tutored by Andre Ward's trainer, Virgil Hunter, the 2011 BWAA Trainer of the Year -- approached Serrano.
"Wanna spar?" Mayfield asked Serrano. The Philadelphia-based boxer didn't bite.
Now, the possibility exists that the only reason Serrano didn't take Mayfield up on the offer was because he knew that they would soon be meeting in the ring for real. But Mayfield wonders ...
"His trainer said, 'They offered us a fight with you,'" Mayfield noted. "But they first said 'no.'"
Like us regular folk, boxers will attach themselves to a moment, and perseverate on it, to give themselves a mental boost when needed. Mayfield implies that Serrano didn't want any part of him at Garcia's camp, and also that he gave Garcia, who won a vacant 140-pound crown against the living legend Morales, the business in sparring.
"They put me in when Danny, who was primed and ready, so I got the best of him," Mayfield said. "He was at the top of his game -- he was peaking."
Mayfield (15-0-1, 9 KOs) has good skills and punching power, but he can sometimes appear awkward. One wonders if he isn't looking past the 22-year-old Serrano (18-0, 8 KOs), ranked No. 9 by the WBA, and Friday's clash at the Times Union Center in Albany, N.Y. If so, it could wind up biting him in the trunks.
"After this fight, I'm definitely going to be campaigning for a big fight," said Mayfield, ranked No. 9 by the WBO. "I think I should be in top contendership."
That's up for debate, frankly. Career-best wins over Steve Forbes and Patrick Lopez don't demand a zoom up the rankings ladder. Both have lost their past three bouts, which include 2011 losses to Mayfield.
All in all, I'd say it's preferable for a fighter to veer to a too-healthy appraisal of self rather than holding on to too much self-doubt. In that regard, Mayfield makes it clear in which camp his psyche lays. He says viewers tuning in tonight will see a bit of Roy Jones Jr., Willie Pep, Mike Tyson and Floyd Mayweather Jr. But this one looks like a coin flip. Serrano will look to touch up Mayfield's body, and although he doesn't possess scary power, he has a rock-solid skills base.