Karim Mayfield keeps NABO belt

ALBANY, N.Y. — Karim Mayfield floored Raymond Serrano at the fourth-round bell, and then landed a solid right hand less than a minute into the fifth that stopped the challenger in the NABO junior welterweight title fight Friday night.

Mayfield and Serrano both swung at the bell of the fourth round, but Mayfield’s punch landed, sending Serrano (18-1) to the canvas. Serrano eventually returned to his corner, wobbling and recovering barely enough to go out for the fifth

“I stayed composed,” Mayfield said. “My corner told me that was a shot that was going to be hard to recover from. A minute’s time wasn’t long enough time to recover from a shot like that. In my mind I was thinking, I don’t want to let this opportunity go where I could’ve gotten him out of there, but didn’t.”

Mayfield (16-0-2 10 KOs) came out with a flurry in the fifth, and referee Eddie Claudio stopped it with Serrano staggering 47 seconds in.

“He fought a good fight,” Serrano said. “He caught me with a good shot. I’ll be back.”

Mayfield, listed shorter by an inch and crouching to make himself shorter, effectively ducked under many of Serrano’s punches in the first three rounds. Mayfield sent Serrano down in the third with a right counter and two more punches.

“I’m only 5-7, maybe even giving myself two inches,” Mayfield said. “When you got a guy that’s shorter than you and a guy goes down lower, it’s a little timid, because you don’t want to be reaching down to jab. Coming up with that coiling style is very intimidating, because you have to reach down, and I’m actually reaching up while you’re reaching down. I knew I could make opportunities from that.”

Serrano was game, especially starting out.

“I was surprised how easy it was for me to hit him,” Serrano said. “He’s strong.”

“He’s a pit bull,” Mayfield said.

But Mayfield crouched and kept his distance in the opening two rounds and was able to counter in the third. He nearly ended it with his right hand at the bell to end the fourth.

“Honestly, I was hoping he was a little timid — but he wasn’t,” Mayfield said. “I caught him with a great shot that put him down. That normally should’ve put a lot of guys out. He shouldn’t have gotten up from that, because I caught him flush.”

In the junior middleweight undercard, Kevin Rooney Jr. lost for the second time, beaten by late replacement Anthony Jones in a four-round decision. The southpaw Jones, who also fought and won four rounds nine days ago, came out aggressively and barely let up. Jones knocked Rooney down twice — in the first round and solidly with a straight left in the second. Rooney landed two good rights in the third round, including an overhand right, but it wasn’t enough. Rooney falls to 4-2.

Copyright 2012 by The Associated Press