The man Floyd Mayweather avoided like his kyrptonite, Karim "Hard Hitta" Mayfield, has just signed a contract to be a late substitute on next weekend's Kovalev-Pascal II card, televised on HBO. Mayfield (19-2-1, 11 KOs), who had already been training for another opponent, will now take on Dmitry Mikhaylenko (20-0, 9 KOs) in 10-rounds of welterweight action.
Mikhaylenko, 29, had been lined-up to face Philadelphia's Ray Robinson on this HBO feature, but Robinson had to pull out of the fight after suffering a back injury in a car accident last week. While this unfortunate accident put promotional company Main Events into a scurry to find a suitable replacement, it ultimately gave Mayfield another shot on premium network television.
"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."
A number of people consider Mayfield to be a tougher opponent than Robinson, but he's coming off a long layoff in which he hasn't fought in over a year -- last beating Michael Balasi in an 8-rounder in November 2014. Prior to that bounce-back fight Mayfield had lost two straight bouts to Emanuel Taylor and Thomas Dulorme in 2013, the latter of which was his first and only feature on HBO.