Being a prospect in any sport is difficult, let alone in a sport where a mistake can end your night in the blink of an eye. Months of training and preparation go out the window with one punch. Two heavyweights had their dreams of moving forward in the Heavyweight division stopped. When tested, they received failing grades; with knockouts; I’m talking about American prospect and former Michigan State University football player Seth “Mayhem” Mitchell (25-1 19 KO’s), and British prospect David Price (15-1 13 KO’s).
Mitchell showed a lot of heart when he entered the squared circle to face off against Jonathan Banks (29-1 19 KO’s) for the Vacant WBO International Heavyweight title. The first round was a good one for Mitchell. He used his jab to set up power shots, hitting Banks with rights to the body and head. Mitchell won round one and seemed to be relaxed and comfortable. In round two, Mitchell came out with the same game plan, using his jab to set up downstairs power shots to Banks’ body. However, one minute into the round, Banks caught Mitchell with a left hook that clearly shook him, knocking Mitchell into the ropes. Moments later, Banks hit Mitchell with a right that sent him down for the first time in his career. Mitchell beat the count and tried to fight back, swinging wildly. He was knocked down two more times. On the third time, Mitchell was knocked out— beaten for the first time in 25 fights.
On June 22nd at the Barclays Center, Brooklyn, New York, Mitchell will try to avenge his knockout loss against Jonathan Banks. In what could be a redemption fight, Mitchell will attempt to show the world that he has what it takes, not only to recover but to come back with a vengeance.
This February, David Price tried to step up in a competition before a home crowd at the Echo Arena, Liverpool. United Kingdom. Price faced off against veteran Tony “The Tiger” Thompson (37-3 25 KO’s). In an uneventful first round, Price used his evasive abilities to stay out of the range of the more active Thompson. In the second round Price came out more aggressively, keeping his right hand out, trying to find Thompsons range and landing clean shots. Price had Thompson against the ropes and let of a good flurry, which Thompson did little to try to get away from. But then, two minutes into the round Thompson caught Price with a powerful right hook to the jaw, knocking Price down for the first time in his professional career. Price tried to get back to his feet for the 10 count on rubbery legs. The referee called a stop to the action.
On July 6th, in the same arena Thompson handed him his first knockout and loss, Price will get his shot at salvaging his career. Price is working with former Heavyweight champion Lennox Lewis for the bout, but it may take more than the tutelage of a former champion to help him rewrite his wrongs.
In the cruel world of boxing, sometimes one defeat is enough to derail a promising career. After their KOʼs, Price and Mitchell have a lot to prove. Some fighters canʼt return to their former promise after being knocked out; we watch because the defeated can also rise. The sport is filled with Cinderella stories. Consider Lennox Lewis and Wladimir Klitschko; both rematched and beat the men who took the spotlight away from them. Can they return? Both will try. The knockout is done, but Mitchell and Price will have to prove their mental toughness by coming back and defeating the men who snatched their dreams away.