NCAA

S.F.'s Mayfield to prepare Pacquiao for Mosley

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S.F.'s Mayfield to prepare Pacquiao for Mosley

April 2, 2011

Ryan MaquianaCSNBayArea.com

Saturday night, Manny Pac-Man Pacquiao makes his much awaited return to Los Angeles, and a heros welcome full of rabid fans and camera crews will await him at the airport.One day later, San Francisco native Karim Mayfields arrival at LAX will be met with much less fanfare, but his role within Team Pacquiao will be vital to the current pound-for-pound champions success.Nicknamed The Hard Hitta, Mayfield (13-0-1, 8 KOs) has received the call to be Pacquiaos next sparring partner for the Filipinos May 7 defense of his WBO welterweight title against Sugar Shane Mosley on Showtime Pay-Per-View.With my style and strength, I feel they picked me for that, said Mayfield, a Washington High product who grew up in the Fillmore. They said that Freddie Roach remembered me and thought Id actually be a good man for the job.Such a fortuitous opportunity could not have come at a better time for the 30-year-old. His undefeated record and heavy hands have led to numerous opponents pulling out of bouts at the last minute, including one set for April 15 at Longshoremens Hall in San Francisco. With his last bout, a fifth-round stoppage of Sergio De La Torre at Kezar Pavilion, coming a distant ten months ago, this latest period of inactivity has left Mayfields career stuck in neutral. According to Mayfield, he kept in touch with Gary Poole, the author of Pacquiaos biography, who along with Roach, paved the way for the fighters trip to Hollywood. Perhaps this months trip will open some doors for him.Ive had so many opponents pull out on me in the last second that I should be 18-0, he said. Im hoping this camp will help me get some more exposure to get my name out there.Mayfield has made a name for himself in boxing circles as a sparring partner for some of the sports elite fighters. He once traveled to England to prepare Ricky Hatton for Floyd Mayweather, and later sparred Andre Ward across the Bay in Oaklands Kings Gym. However, it is his familiarity emulating Mosleys style as a sparring partner for Antonio Margarito and Sergio Mora that has made him a sought after man by Pacquiao and his coach, four-time Trainer of the Year Freddie Roach.I possess a natural overhand right that Ive started off with since I was an amateur, and thats what Shane is known for, said Mayfield. Over the years, Ive picked up my left hook, and Shane throws those left hooks. Also at times, Shane may hit and clinch, and I know how to clinch whenever I need to. With Margo (Margarito), Shane would hit him in the clinch, and Im assuming hes going to try to do the same thing with Pacquiao with the strength Pacquiao has throwing many punches.A Manny Pacquiao training camp is a circus unlike any other. Between the CBSShowtime Fight Camp 360 cameras that will shadow the champions every move and perpetual controversy surrounding his entourage, its easy for anyone to get caught up in the madness. Not Mayfield.Everybody sees a world-class fighter like Manny and gets star-struck, he said, but you have to realize that hes just another dude like the rest of us. Hes a great champion and a good guy, but hes also just another person.Still, one cant but help recognize his upcoming time in the spotlight and the gravity of this experience.I look forward going to Hollywood to learn, said Mayfield. Im definitely going to bring my journal, and write down some of the drills and certain things of that sort. Also, I want to let people know Im representing The City. I want to show them we can fight out here.

Limping Love leads Stanford to Big Game win over Cal

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AP

Limping Love leads Stanford to Big Game win over Cal

BOX SCORE

PALO ALTO — Bryce Love rushed for 101 yards and a touchdown despite missing most of the fourth quarter after aggravating an ankle injury, and No. 20 Stanford held off California 17-14 on Saturday to keep its Pac-12 title hopes alive.

K.J. Costello completed 17 of 26 passes for 185 yards and a touchdown, Ben Edwards made a key interception in the fourth quarter and Cameron Scarlett rushed for 49 yards on the final drive in place of Love to help the Cardinal (8-3, 7-2 Pac-12) milk the clock and win its eighth straight Big Game.

Stanford can earn a spot in the Pac-12 championship game against USC but needs some help.

The Cardinal can get there if No. 15 Washington State loses to No. 16 Washington next week. If the Cougars — who beat Stanford 24-21 on Nov. 4 — beat the Huskies, they get the nod because of the tiebreaker.

The nation's leading rusher going into the game, Love was held in check most of the game by Cal's defense and sat out the final 11:43 after re-injuring his ankle that has bothered him for the past month. He did stay on the field long enough to score a 57-yard touchdown — his 11th run of 50 yards or longer this season.

Scarlett, Love's primary backup all season, also came up big for Stanford. Scarlett rushed for 61 yards, the majority coming on the Cardinal's last drive that took the final 7:25. Scarlett's 2-yard gain on 4th-and-1 kept the drive going.

Patrick Laird ran for 153 yards and a touchdown on 20 carries while Ross Bowers passed for 182 yards and a touchdown for California. The Golden Bears (5-6, 2-6) need a win in their final game to become bowl eligible in coach Justin Wilcox's first season.

THE TAKEAWAY

California: The Bears made the Cardinal sweat and kept the game a lot closer than many thought possible. Wilcox's defense did a good job bottling up Love most of the game but couldn't stop Scarlett on the final drive which was huge. Still, there are plenty of positives for Cal to take out of this one.

Stanford: It wasn't the best game for David Shaw's team but the Cardinal gritted it out and held off a pesky Cal team that had plenty to play for. The conference title can still happen but before that Stanford has a pretty big game coming up against Notre Dame.

UP NEXT

California: Ends the regular season at UCLA on Saturday.

Stanford: The Cardinal stay home and will host No. 9 Notre Dame on Saturday. Stanford has won the last two and six of last eight against the Irish.

Raiders counting heavily on lightning rod CB against Patriots

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AP

Raiders counting heavily on lightning rod CB against Patriots

MEXICO CITY – The Raiders cornerback David Amerson didn’t practice all week, but ran just well enough to be considered “doubtful” for Sunday’s game against New England.

Translation: Outlook for Sunday is not good, but Jack Del Rio’s fingers remained crossed real, real tight. The Raiders hope there’s a way he can be active against Tom Brady’s buzz saw attack, because their cover men are beat up.

Amerson has missed two straight with a foot injury, and has dealt with injury all year. Gareon Conley’s season officially ended Monday, when he was placed on season-ending injured reserve. Antonio Hamilton and Demetrius McCray were already there.

Reggie McKenzie hasn’t reached out for reinforcements. That leaves TJ Carrie, Dexter McDonald and Sean Smith to play cornerback. Carrie’s been the rock, a sure tackler who hasn’t made spectacular plays but doesn’t give them up. McDonald has been forced into action, with holes let in his game.

Smith should be the No. 1 guy in this group, the steadying presence on the outside. That hasn’t been the case this year, where he lost a starting job in training camp and sub-package snaps during the season, only to have injuries to Conley and Amerson bring him in the fray.

He’s also been dealing with felony assault and battery charges in Los Angeles stemming from a July 4 incident in Pasadena.

Smith has been a lightning rod for fan criticism, a byproduct of his $9.5 million salary this year and explosive plays allowed early in the year.

If there’s an anvil weighing on his mind, teammates insist you’d never know.

“We’re human at the end of the day,” Amerson said. “You feel it, but you have to find a way to remain even keel and professional and do your job well.”

Smith will be counted on heavily Sunday against New England, especially if Amerson can’t play as expected. He has proven vulnerable to speed without help and proper disruption at the line of scrimmage, though that hasn’t been an issue lately because the Utah alum has recovered well after a rough start.

He got pulled after struggling against Vernon Davis in Washington. He didn’t play against the Chargers after giving up two huge plays to Baltimore the week before.

Amerson originally sprained his foot in Week 7 against Kansas City – he hasn’t played since – and Smith was called upon to respond. He wasn’t targeted in that game, and has been strong in coverage ever since.

Smith has allowed three catches for 12 yards in four targets over the last two games. The ninth-year veteran insists he wasn’t doing anything markedly different, and had zero interest in patting himself on the back for recent jobs well done.

“I’m not,” Smith said. “I’m out there doing my job, man, the best way I can.”

Smith says the off-field distractions during a roller-coaster season, one of his career’s most trying yet, haven’t impacted him much

“Nope. Not at all,” Smith said. “As long as I wake up a Raider, I’m all right. I’ll deal with whatever happens. I’ll always be there for my guys, and I’ll do whatever it takes to help our team win.”

Raiders defensive backs laud Smith’s locker room presence, saying he’s an excellent teammate. Cornerbacks in general must have a short memory when things go bad, to refocus and prevent that from happening again. Smith apparently has that in spades.

“I know how things go, especially when you have a target on your back,” Amerson said. “Sometimes you get hit with the perfect pass and you give up some plays. You can’t do anything about that but take advantage of the next opportunity. Sean’s a good player, and he definitely has that mindset.”

Smith will lend experience to this big game, something the Raiders need after suffering so many injuries.

"It sucks that so many of us have gone down,” Smith said. "You want to have all your guys out there, but that’s the NFL. Injuries happen. As long as everybody comes to work and acts like a pro, we’ll be all right. We all have a job to do. We all would like to start, but you have to be ready when your number’s called.”