Rising welterweight Dmitry Mikhaylenko pitched a virtual shutout against San Francisco’s Karim Mayfield en route to a 10-round unanimous decision Saturday night from the Bell Centre in Montreal, Quebec, Canada.
Judge Benoit Roussel favored Mikhaylenko by a score of 99-91 while Don Ackerman and John Stewart scored it 100-90 for the 29-year-old Russian.
SFBay also scored the bout 99-91 in Mikhaylenko’s favor.
The bout – which was the co-feature of unified light heavyweight champion Sergey Kovalev’s seventh-round annihilation of former titleholder Jean Pascal – started off well for Mayfield, who was coming off a 14-month layoff.
He immediately bull-rushed Mikhaylenko at the opening bell and smothered him with short, hard shots. Neither man landed anything devastating throughout the round, though Mikhaylenko clipped Mayfield (19-3-1, 11 KOs) with a short left hook near the end.
Mikhaylenko (21-0, 9 KOs) found his rhythm in the second round, opening up more and consistently tagging Mayfield with short combinations.
He took full control of the fight for the next eight rounds, swarming and frustrating the 35-year-old Mayfield with pinpoint volume punching.
Known for his brawling style, Mayfield’s early bull rushes in the first two rounds may have only been his best moments in the fight as he had no answer for Mikhaylenko’s crafty onslaught.
Mikahylenko made the fight look like easy work by the fifth as he continued tattooing Mayfield with punches.
Mayfield, on the other hand, appeared fatigued and barely threw enough punches to disrupt Mikhaylenko’s rhythm – let alone, turn the fight in his favor.
While not known for his knockout power, Mikhaylenko – a native of Gelendzhik, Russia – definitely left his mark in the sixth when he wobbled Mayfield with a crisp right hand at the end of the round.
The remainder of the fight was no different as Mikhaylenko successfully tagged Mayfield with hard right hands whenever Mayfield was backed up against the ropes.
Ben Bautista – Mayfield’s longtime friend and trainer – kept trying to instill a deep sense of urgency in his fighter in between rounds, asking him to step up his attack and outsmart Mikhaylenko.
Aware the fight was in jeopardy heading into the tenth round, Bautista had one last specific instruction for Mayfield:
“It’s time to thug it out!”
Bautista’s instruction appeared to work as Mayfield had better success pressuring Mikhaylenko and landing shots.
But it was too little too late as Mikhaylenko did more than enough to secure the decision.
Mikhaylenko landed 29 percent of his punches (220 out of 756) according to Compubox while Mayfield landed eight percent less (104 out of 487).
Mikhaylenko – whose other notable wins came against Johan Perez, Ronald Cruz and Sechew Powell – was originally scheduled to face 30-year-old southpaw Ray Robinson of Philadelphia in the opener of HBO’s World Championship Boxing telecast.
But Robinson withdrew after injuring his back in a car accident just two weeks ago, leaving Jolene Mizzone – matchmaker for Mikhaylenko’s promoter Main Events – very little time to find a suitable replacement.
Mizzone reached out to Mayfield promoter Greg Cohen and Mayfield, who was already training for a lower-profile fight in Feburary, didn’t hesitate to accept the offer.
The end result, however, was disappointing for Mayfield as he falls to 1-3 in his last four fights, including a competitive decision loss to Thomas Dulorme in March 2014.