Karim Mayfield TKO's Raymond Serrano

By John G. Thompson: Karim “Hard Hitta” Mayfield (16-0-1, 10 KO’s) handed Raymond “Tito” Serrano (18-1, 8 KO’s) his first loss and it was a brutal one for the WBO NABO light welterweight title on ESPN2’s “Friday Night Fights.” In the duel undercards at the Times Union Center in Albany, NY local favorite Kevin Rooney, Jr. lost to Anthony Jones and undefeated Jason Escalera fought to a draw with Nick Brinson.

Mayfield hails from San Francisco where he won a Golden Gloves title in 2006. He had a reported amateur record of 40-5. His one draw was a technical draw after an accidental headbutt cut his opponent and forced a stop to the fight. Mayfield has been a sparring partner for Manny Pacquiao, Antonio Margarito and Sergio Mora – all for their respective fights against Shane Mosley.

Serrano is a Philly fighter and he proved it tonight. He has a slight edge in amateur experience with about one hundred bouts. As a pro, his competition has been less than stellar, with eleven of his eighteen opponents having losing records. Both Mayfield and Serrano have tasted canvas, though Mayfield’s knockdown came at the hands of another undefeated fighter, whereas one of Serrano’s knockdowns came from a boxer with a record of 9-36-2, and another in his last bout in February against an opponent with an 11-4-1 record.

Serrano fought well in the first round, setting the pace, as Mayfield looked to catch him coming in. Both tried to exchange haymakers in the beginning of the second round, but Mayfield pushed Serrano backwards into the ropes, though Serrano bounced up quickly. Later in the round Mayfield did a good job of making Serrano chase him around the ring and miss repeatedly, and Mayfield caught Serrano with a couple good right hooks.

Thirty seconds into the third round Mayfield caught Serrano with a straight right which snapped his head back and staggered him. Mayfield instantly came forward with another straight right and Serrano went down. He got up quickly, but as the action continued Mayfield peppered him with looping hooks. Serrano held on as much as possible for the remainder of the round. At one point after taking a hard shot, he held on and then fell down as Mayfield moved away, but the referee ruled it a slip instead of a knockdown.

Serrano looked better in the fourth round as Mayfield looked somewhat tired from the last round’s onslaught. Serrano was actually having a decent round, up until the end of the round when Mayfield hit him right at the bell with hard right and Serrano went down face first into the referee as he was jumping in to separate them at the bell. Serrano then hit the floor, face first, ass sticking up in the air, probably unconscious before touching the canvas. He showed the heart indicative to Philly fighters struggling to get to his feet and made it there, wobbly, by the count of eight. The referee told him he had one minute to recover – meaning the time between rounds.

What happened next was a corner in disarray. As Serrano approached his corner they were not ready with a stool, some of them trying to stop the fight while Serrano’s own father told the referee and ringside officials not to stop the fight. For what it’s worth, Raymond Serrano himself looked like he wanted to continue. Ringside commentator Teddy Atlas said it best, “The referee tried to give him time to recover, but the corner didn’t make the most of it… They didn’t ice him down. They didn’t dump cold water on him. They didn’t get him on the stool in time.” Most of it mattered very little as Mayfield went on the attack in the fifth round, landing hurtful shots and forcing the referee to jump in to stop it just 45 seconds into the round.

Jason “Monstruo” Escalera (13-0-1, 12 KO’s) from New Jersey won his last six bouts via TKO and had never been past the fourth round. However, seven of his opponents had losing records and two were making their pro debuts. His opponent, Nick Brinson (9-1-2, 5 KO’s) from nearby Geneva, NY also fought seven opponents with losing records. The one opponent he faced with a respectable undefeated record stopped Brinson in the seventh round.

The fight looked fairly even with Escalera coming forward, absent of jab, but out-bullying Brinson for some of the rounds, while Brinson simply out-boxed him in others. Escalera turned up the violence in the sixth round, hurting Brinson with an uppercut and a couple rights. Escalera really went for the stoppage in the eighth, though as Teddy Atlas repeatedly commented, he neglected to go to the body. Brinson would occasionally throw a counter in the round, and that was all that kept Referee Johnny Callas from stopping it in the seventh. I scored that round 10-8 for Escalera.

In the eighth Escalera again tried to go for the stoppage but Brinson looked like he got his legs back. Brinson even picked up his work rate, throwing back with haymakers, though Escalera still controlled the action. I scored it 77-74 for Escalera with the 10-8 round. One judge scored it 76-75 for Escalera, which drew boos from the crowd (probably due to Brinson being from a town nearby). Another judge scored it 76-75 for Brinson which made the crowd cheer. The third judge scored it 76-76 and the crowd booed, because according to them fighters are not allowed to have a draw.

In the first bout of the televised card southpaw Anthony “Sweet Tooth” Jones (2-0-1, 0 KO’s) of Newark, NJ took the fight on just four days’ notice, but having fought just over a week ago, he seemed ready for the task. Kevin Rooney, Jr. (4-2, 2 KO’s) of Catskills, NY drew cheers from the crowd at Albany for every shot he landed, though unfortunately for him Jones landed many more punches.

Jones came out throwing in the first and Rooney covered up behind a shell defense. Jones really loaded up trying to split his guard, but mostly with no effect. Later in the round Rooney landed a hard right which backed Jones into the ropes. As Rooney came in with an uppercut to the body, Jones countered with a right hook and Rooney went down into the ropes. Clearly Rooney’s foot tripped over Jones’, however, Referee Joe Cusano ruled it a knockdown.

Jones boxed and moved in the second round, not letting Rooney connect with anything. With one minute left the round Jones landed a right hook to Rooney’s jaw and followed it up a second later with a straight left to the head which sent Rooney sprawling across the canvass. He got up quickly, but that just gave Jones more time to pound away trying to finish the fight.

Rooney did better in the third round and certainly won the fourth as Jones slowed down and tried to box from the outside. Rooney was really loading up looking for one big shot to change the outcome of the fight. One judge scored it 39-35, and the other two as I had it at 38-35, all for Jones.

Article posted on 19.05.2012

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