Seth “Mayhem” Mitchell (25-0-1, 19KO), a former middle linebacker for the Michigan State Spartans who didn’t get his start in boxing until his mid-twenties, is being touted by many as the next American Heavyweight hopeful. There aren’t too many stand out American heavyweights, so for now he resides at or near the top of the class.
What Mitchell lacks in experience he makes up for in athleticism and power. In his last fight, he answered questions while raising new ones. He nearly didn’t make it out of the first round after being severely hurt by a Chazz Witherspoon right hand. That raised a question about his chin, but it also opened the door to answer questions about his heart and ability to adjust. He answered by attacking to the body and scoring a third round TKO. This response coupled with his emotion after the fight, answered the question about whether a football player really has a desire to win a championship in boxing.
The man standing in Mitchell’s way is his polar opposite. Johnathon Banks (28-1-1, 17KO) is as experienced as they come. Banks has an extensive amateur background, winning multiple national championships. He has fought for and won world titles. He also fights out of the Kronk Gym.
Banks, who fought much of his career at cruiserweight, isn’t at a huge size disadvantage, but is the naturally smaller man. He can punch, but doesn’t show as much explosiveness as Mitchell. His most recent journey into the ring was filling in for the late great Emmanuel Steward in Wladimir Klitschko’s corner in the champ’s first fight without the legendary trainer. There’s no telling whether the role of training Wladimir by day, and training himself by night, added to the loss of Steward whom he was close to, will take a toll. Perhaps the added focus and emotion will give him an edge.
Both fighters have much to prove in this fight. A loss by either, especially Mitchell will drop their stock dramatically. Banks isn’t a step back or a leap up in class for Mitchell. However, if Mitchell truly is the next American hopeful, stylistically Banks will force him to answer a few more questions.
I can see Mitchell landing a big one early to make it another quick night, but I believe Banks’ slick style and intelligence will take it to the later rounds or to a decision. It’s possible for me to see Banks winning, the experience and boxing knowledge, is such. More likely, I see the power and strength of Mitchell being too much and catching up in the later rounds.
Catch the fight on HBO on the Adrien Broner vs. Antonio Demarco undercard.
A Boxing Fan