EXCLUSIVE: Karim Mayfield addresses manager’s plight, weigh-in fiasco
When news began to emerge Thursday evening that Northern California boxing manager and NFL agent Marlon Sullivan was accused of planning to participate in a murder-for-hire plot along with other serious allegations, Sullivan’s prized clien Karim Mayfield was a man of few words.
“Oh, what the hell?” Mayfield said to SFWeekly, obviously indicating it was the first the junior welterweight heard of it.
Mayfield is just 24 hours away from the most important fight of his career, an HBO-televised bout against former blue chipper Thomas Dulorme. A victory could lead to the ever elusive title shot, which couldn’t come soon enough for the unbeaten 33-year old from San Francisco.
At the weigh-in on Friday, Mayfield stole the headlines as he and Dulorme got into it. Mayfield got into Dulorme’s head, as evidenced by Dulorme putting his hands on Mayfield in anger.
It was unclear precisely what Mayfield was doing when he leaned in closely to Dulorme. Social media reports indicated that Mayfield “licked” Dulorme, but the fighter cleared up what happened in an exclusive interview with Behind The Gloves, as well as commenting on the situation regarding Sullivan.
“Some chump reporter said that I licked him,” said Mayfield. “I leaned in and was sniffing him, and then I said, ‘I smell p***y’, and that is when he grabbed my hat and turned it around.”
Mayfield is a fighter with a history of playing head games with opponents in the lead up to a fight. Welterweight fringe contender Francisco Santana once told me that prior to their first matchup (in a rare bout putting two unbeaten guys with less than ten fights against each other), Mayfield tried intimidating him on the long-irrelevant MySpace social network.
For Dulorme, Mayfield at the press conference showed a picture on his phone to the Dominican of him laid out after his lone defeat, to Luis Abregu in October 2012. Mayfield ironically shared the bill, decisioning tough gatekeeper Mauricio Herrera.
Dulorme didn’t take too kindly to the gesture and it was heated since then, according to Mayfield. Mayfield feels as though he got into his opponent’s head.
“I don’t think he’s had an opponent like that,” said Mayfield. “Opponents shaking hands, hugging, I’ll hug him after that, after I knock him out, I’ll help him up.”
As far as the situation with Mayfield’s manager, the fighter said he’s still on track and hasn’t been affected mentally.
“I’ve still got tunnel vision, as selfish as it may sound,” said Mayfield. “I’m focused and ready for this fight.”
Sullivan was set to meet up with Mayfield’s team this morning, but was picked up by the Feds once he arrived in New Jersey.
Sullivan had no previous rap sheet and had done a solid job as Mayfield’s de facto manager. Though Mayfield told another outlet that there was no official paperwork tying the two to each other, Mayfield agreed that Sullivan played a large part in his recent success and was who his promoter Top Rank dealt with when arranging fights.
Sullivan now faces serious charges that range from telling an undercover agent it was no problem lining up a hit on someone, to selling fake credit cards, to participating in the drug trade in a major capacity.
HBO had their fighter meaning with all the fighters this morning, and Mayfield indicated the situation regarding Sullivan didn’t come up in the interview.
Mayfield did a press conference on Mar. 20 at City Hall in San Francisco, a press conference that Sullivan was present for.
Mayfield feels as though the negative press surrounding his manager won’t rub off on the fighter himself, given they are two different people.
“For the most part, I do feel people know who I am and what I do for the community,” said Mayfield. “I don’t think they would hold something against me, especially for something I’m not involved in.”
It is a pretty unique situation, even for boxing. How Karim Mayfield deals with it will go a long ways to establishing what trajectory his career takes.
-Mark E. Ortega / @MarkEOrtega
-Managing editor at www.BehindTheGloves.com