Welterweight Karim Mayfield, who was already preparing for another fight, signed a contract Tuesday to step in as a short-notice replacement against Dmitry Mikhaylenko on Jan. 30, Main Events announced Tuesday.
The scheduled 10-round fight, which will take place at the Bell Centre in Montreal, will serve as the opening bout on an HBO-televised "World Championship Boxing" doubleheader (9:45 p.m. ET/PT) headlined by the rematch between unified light heavyweight titleholder Sergey Kovalev (28-0-1, 25 KOs) and Montreal's Jean Pascal (30-3-1, 17 KOs), the former light heavyweight world champion.
Mikhaylenko was initially scheduled to face Philadelphia's Ray Robinson (20-2, 9 KOs), but Robinson suffered a back injury in an automobile accident and was forced to withdraw from the fight last week.
That sent Main Events matchmaker Jolene Mizzone scrambling to find a suitable replacement. In the end, she was able to secure Mayfield, whom many regard as a better fighter than Robinson.
"We were devastated when we learned about Robinson's accident," Main Events CEO Kathy Duva said. "Very few fighters would agree to take a fight on such short notice, especially a fight which opens the HBO telecast for such a high-profile event like Kovalev-Pascal II. Mayfield, however, jumped at the opportunity.
"He wants to step in against an undefeated, ranked prospect like Mikhaylenko in an attempt to reestablish himself as a contender. Mikhaylenko has no doubt whatsoever about his abilities inside the ring. He didn't even blink at the change in opponents. Short notice or not, this is a great fight."
Mayfield was training for a lower-profile fight next month, but Mizzone was able to make a deal with Mayfield promoter Greg Cohen to have him replace Robinson, and HBO agreed to take him as the replacement.
Mayfield (19-2-1, 11 KOs), 35, of San Francisco, is coming off a lengthy layoff. He has not fought since an eight-round decision victory over Michael Balasi in November 2014. Before that, Mayfield lost two fights in a row, one of which was a competitive, 10-round decision against Thomas Dulorme on HBO in March 2014.
Last summer, Mayfield was prominently mentioned as a possible opponent for Floyd Mayweather, before Mayweather elected to fight former welterweight titlist Andre Berto in his September retirement bout.
Mikhaylenko (20-0, 9 KOs), 29, of Russia, who fights in the same Egis Klimas managerial stable as Kovalev and featherweight titlist Vasyl Lomachenko, scored his biggest win in August, when he knocked out former interim junior welterweight titlist Johan Perez in the eighth round. He also owns wins against Sechew Powell and Ronald Cruz.