Brandywine heavyweight Seth Mitchell surveyed the punching bag swaying ever so slightly in front of him, crouched and began landing blows at a furious pace during an open workout less than two weeks before his rematch against Johnathon Banks. Mitchell connected low and high, moved on the balls of his feet with alacrity and bobbed his head as if he were avoiding counterpunches.
It was just such a blow from Banks in their first fight Nov. 17 in Atlantic City that wobbled Mitchell, who had lunged and missed with a wild right hand. With his opponent’s upper torso unguarded, Banks landed a stinging combination that sent Mitchell into the ropes and then onto the canvas a minute into the second round.
Ninety seconds later, referee Eddie Cotton moved Mitchell into a neutral corner, gave a standing eight count and said, “You have to show me something.” Mitchell never did, and with 23 seconds left in the round, Cotton stopped the fight.
It was the first loss of Mitchell’s career.
“Absolutely I saw the errors,” Mitchell said Tuesday afternoon at the Dream Team boxing gym in Clinton. “I just got too aggressive and too reckless. My balance and my distance were just off. Every time I watch the fight now, I just look at it and shake my head. Even though I dominated the first round, I still saw the same mistakes I made in the first round in the second round.”
Immediately after the fight, Mitchell (25-1-1, 19 knockouts) asked members of his management team in the dressing room when he could get a rematch as stipulated in the fight contract. Banks (29-1-1, 19 KOs) agreed to fight Mitchell again Feb. 16 in Atlantic City, but two weeks before the rematch, Banks announced he had to withdraw because of an injury incurred during training camp.
The fight was rescheduled for June 22 at Barclays Center in Brooklyn as the co-headliner to Adrien Broner’s bout against Paulie Malignaggi for Malignaggi’s World Boxing Association welterweight championship. Mitchell-Banks II is set for 12 rounds, and Banks will put his North American Boxing Organization and World Boxing Council International belts on the line.
“Once the fight got postponed, I stayed in the gym, but I wasn’t killing myself in the gym,” Mitchell said. “You don’t want to overtrain or peak too soon. That’s just how I handled it. I’m always in the gym. In six and a half years, I’ve never been out of the gym longer than three and a half weeks.”
Mitchell’s team had moved training camp to Lynchburg, Va., this past winter before Banks revealed he had broken his thumb. Mitchell has been training locally for the rescheduled bout and said he won’t be rusty after the lengthy layoff.
The former All-Met linebacker at Gwynn Park High School has fought sparingly since April 28, 2012, when he beat Chazz Witherspoon via second-round knockout in Atlantic City. Mitchell's only other fight since then was against Banks.
“Did he learn from the loss? Absolutely,” said Sharif Salim, Mitchell’s manager. “Did he take it and internalize it in a positive way? Yes he did. So in that regard, we are happy that there was an experience that we believe he recovered from very well and learned from it. We can only be certain on June 22 when that bell rings.”