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


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.

Santiago Casilla signs, but who will close for the A's?

Santiago Casilla signs, but who will close for the A's?

Santiago Casilla says he’s returning to his baseball home, which requires only a trip across the Bay Bridge.

The A’s finalized a two-year $11 million contract with the former Giants closer Friday, adding him to a bullpen that has no shortage of late-inning relief options for manager Bob Melvin.

“There’s an old saying that it’s always good to return home, and I’m very happy to get this new opportunity with the Athletics,” Casilla said on a media conference call, via interpreter Manolo Hernandez Douen.

It’s “new” in that the 36-year-old Casilla spent the past seven seasons wearing black and orange. But his major league career is rooted in Oakland. The A’s signed him out of the Dominican Republic as an amateur free agent back in 2000, and he spent his first six seasons with Oakland, the first two of those pitching under the name Jairo Garcia.

He’s since won three World Series rings with the Giants, including notching four saves during the 2014 postseason. His final season with San Francisco ended on a sour note last year, however, as he was demoted from the closer’s role during a rough September.

What role will he find in 2017?

Casilla, who reportedly can earn up to $3 million in incentives based on games finished, joins three other relievers in the A’s ‘pen who have legitimate big league closer’s experience — John Axford, Sean Doolittle and Ryan Madson. Doolittle was the closer entering last spring but shoulder problems derailed him for a second consecutive season. Madson handled the ninth for most of 2016 and notched 30 saves, but general manager David Forst made it clear Friday that the Opening Night closer has yet to be determined.

“We had a number of different guys save games last year,” Forst said. “… Santiago saved almost 80 games the last couple years. He’s got a lot of experience. As we talked to him and his representatives, he made it clear he’s willing to do anything. It’s great for Bob to have a number of options. It’ll sort itself out in spring training as to who the guy is to start the season.”

Doolittle, Axford, Ryan Dull and Zach Neal combined for 12 saves last season. But even though the A’s are fully stocked with ninth-inning options, it’s fair to question whether any of them is a clear-cut answer for the closer’s role as spring training nears.

Madson’s seven blown saves tied for second most in the American League. Doolittle hasn’t pitched a full season since 2014. Axford issued 4.11 walks per nine innings last year, and Dull’s biggest strength is his ability escape jams when entering mid-inning.

Casilla went 2-5 with a 3.57 ERA and 31 saves last season, striking out a career-best 10.1 per nine innings, but there was some turbulence. He was displeased with Giants manager Bruce Bochy last May after being pulled from a game. Then he struggled mightily in September and lost the closer’s role. Bochy didn’t call on him at all as the bullpen coughed up a ninth-inning lead to the Cubs in Game 4 of the NL Division Series that ended the Giants’ season. That decision had Casilla in tears after the game.

Asked Friday if he harbored any hard feelings toward the Giants, Casilla replied: “It’s a new year, a new team. I have left this in the past.”

Forst pointed to Casilla’s sustained velocity — his fastball averaged 93.6 miles per hour last season — and his expanded repertoire over his career as reasons why the A’s went after him.

“His numbers were really good — 65 strikeouts, 19 walks,” Forst said. “As we got through the offseason I think we thought he was being overlooked a little bit just because of the narrative surrounding his departure with the Giants. I wasn’t around and I don’t know what went on, but it seems like a few blown saves marred what otherwise was a fantastic season for him.”

In other news, the A’s signed veteran outfielder Alejandro De Aza to a minor league deal with an invitation to major league spring training. Forst noted De Aza’s ability to play all three outfield spots and his speed as traits that caught the A’s attention.

Report: 49ers increase offer to Bradley to become D-coordinator

Report: 49ers increase offer to Bradley to become D-coordinator

The 49ers reportedly continue to pursue Gus Bradley to serve as defensive coordinator on presumptive coach Kyle Shanahan’s staff.

The 49ers have increased their offer to Bradley, Mike Siliver of the NFL Network reported on Friday. Bradley wanted to work with Tom Cable, according to the report.

Cable interviewed with the 49ers on Sunday but removed his name from consideration on Tuesday after he and Seattle co-director of player personnel Trent Kirchner sensed their 49ers’ interest in them intended to receive a commitment from Shanahan, sources told CSNBayArea.com.

Bradley served as defensive coordinator with the Seattle Seahawks from 2009 to ’12. In Bradley’s final season on Pete Carroll’s staff, Seattle ranked first in the NFL in points allowed and fourth in total yards.

Bradley became head coach of the Jacksonville Jaguars in 2013. His teams went 14-48 before he was fired with two games remaining in the season.

The 49ers this week inquired with the Chicago Bears about the possibility of bringing back Vic Fangio to the organization to serve as defensive coordinator. The 49es were informed, according to a source, that the Bears would not let Fangio out of his contract. Fangio was the defensive coordinator for all four seasons with the 49ers under Jim Harbaugh.