By David Robinett and Robert Hough
Photo by Sean McDonough
San Francisco has a rich boxing history but in recent years has seen little action, in part because there have been few homegrown fighters good enough to compel promoters and television networks to invest their time and money in staging events in the “City by the Bay”. Undefeated welterweight prospect Karim Mayfield hopes to change all that. The “Hard Hitta” took his first step towards establishing himself as a local attraction, successfully headlining the first boxing card in San Francisco in six years with a fifth round referee’s stoppage of overmatched Sergio De La Torre Saturday night at Kezar Pavilion in San Francisco, California.
Mayfield, (13-0-1, 8 KOs), had little trouble with De La Torre, (11-14-3, 1 KO), knocking him down twice in round three, and battering him in every round until the referee jumped in moments before the bell to end the fifth round in a scheduled eight-round contest.
Mayfield started judiciously, firing away with a quick jab and following up on occasion with an overhand right, or looping right hook when he was not countering De La Torre’s weak left jab. Mayfield utilized the right hand more in round two, though De la Torre was mitigating the damage by rolling his body away from it. De La Torre did little to bother Mayfield in the first two rounds.
In round three, Mayfield started to use the left hand to catch De la Torre when he was rolling away from a constant volley of right hands, and dropped De La Torre with a straight left hand flush on the face. Although De La Torre stayed off the canvas, the referee ruled it a knockdown as only the ropes kept him up. The action had resumed for only a few seconds before Mayfield scored another knockdown, this time with a flashy right-left-right combination that caused De La Torre to stumble wildly across the ring. De La Torre managed to keep his feet again, but his glove touched the canvas.
Rounds four and five were more of the same, with Mayfield battering De La Torre in one direction with the right hand, then violently straightening De La Torre back in the other direction with the left hand. After Mayfield cornered De La Torre along the ropes and landed several unanswered rights, the referee had seen enough and jumped in to rescue De La Torre an instant before the bell. Time of the stoppage was 3:00 of round five.
Immediately after the stoppage, a wild scene ensued with 20-30 spectators among the several hundred in attendance rushing into the ring to carry Mayfield on their shoulders, chanting “Hard Hitta, Hard Hitta.” Order was quickly restored and Mayfield left the ring to the cheers of an enthusiastic crowd clearly enjoying this rare moment of live boxing.
There was a time in San Francisco’s past where the likes of Rocky Marciano and Bob Foster headlined Kezar Pavilion and its adjacent stadium. While those glory days may never be duplicated, Mayfield planted the seed of a burgeoning relationship between himself and the long-suffering boxing fans of San Francisco.
– David Robinett
Hirsch Hammers Rubio!
Super-middleweight Tony Hirsch (12-3-1, 5 KOs) was sharp and strong in overwhelming Jovanni Rubio (6-12, 5 KOs), getting the TKO at 2:34 of the second round. Hirsch, who has sparred with WBA Super-Middleweight Champion Andre Ward, used a considerable height and reach advantage to avoid Rubio’s lunging punches and blast him with counterpunches.
Hirsch rocked Rubio with a counter right at the bell to end the first round and continued a one-sided assault until the bout was stopped late in the second round.
– Robert Hough
Escalante Edges Alcantara!
Junior featherweights Bruno Escalante and Jonathan Alcantara went toe to toe for most of their four-round bout, with Escalante scoring a split decision victory 39-37, 39-37, 37-39. Escalante, (1-0-1, 0 KOs), whose stock went up even before the opening bell when his opponent from his debut bout, Takashi Okada, upset super-prospect McWilliams Arroyo earlier in the evening on another fight card, was generally sharper and more accurate than Alcantara (4-2, 0 KOs).
Escalante took control early by pumping his jab into Alcantara’s face, following with quick two- and three-punch combinations, then darting out of the way before the slower Alcantara could counter. Alcantara was game however, applying constant pressure to Escalante and gaining momentum as the fight wore on. By the fourth round, Alcantara was catching Escalante coming in and landing hard shots, particularly the right hook to the body, but Escalante’s early lead was too much for Alcantara to overcome.
– David Robinett
Rivera Outworks Wate!
Junior-welterweight Ben Rivera (1-3, 0 KOs) won a unanimous decision over Shawn Wate (0-4-1), who sported what might be the biggest afro in boxing. Wate’s loose locks stretched several inches in all direction.
Both fighters were active in the four-found fight, but Rivera pressed the action, landed more often and landed bigger punches. Scores were 40-36, 39-37 and 39-37.
– Robert Hough