Banks Takes the Wind Out of Mitchell’s Sails

By David Matthew on November 17, 2012
Banks Takes the Wind Out of Mitchell’s Sails
Johnathan Banks carried Emanuel Steward’s energetic spirit within him on this night.

“I’ll bounce back,” said Mitchell. “It won’t spoil my dreams. Don’t be sorry for me. Be sorry for my next opponent…”

ATLANTIC CITY—In boxing, it is always dangerous to catch a man in mourning. That was perhaps most poignantly illustrated in Tokyo when Buster Douglas knocked out Mike Tyson just days after his mother had passed. There was something special about Douglas that night. And Johnathon Banks (29-1-1, 19 KOs) was animated with a similar special aura as he shocked Boardwalk Hall with a scintillating 2nd round TKO stoppage of Seth “Mayhem” Mitchell (25-1-1, 19 KOs).

As Mitchell made his way to the ring, he was met by a warm reception from a healthy number of fans who made the trek from the DMV to support the pride of Brandywine, Maryland. Meanwhile, Banks was met with a lukewarm reception from the crowd, but was locked into a zone as he was clearly on a mission to carry the Kronk torch forward, which he did emphatically and honorably.

As round 1 commenced there was plenty of anxiety from both men, who were continually twitching shoulders and flashing fast-twitch reflexes in an effort find the comfort and requisite distance to land meaningful shots. Mitchell was missing upstairs, but was doing meaningful body work early. He was far more assertive and anxious to get off first than in previous fights, and landed a chopping right hand in the middle of the round that sent Banks to the ropes. Banks felt his power and began to box cautiously.  Banks returned fire with very well-thrown counterpunches, namely the right hand that showcased the considerable skill-set and ring IQ that Banks brings to the ring.

After being caught early by Chazz Witherspoon in his last fight, Mitchell was determined to start aggressively right out of the gate to get the upper hand. Filled with energy that one could feel ringside, Mitchell was perhaps too eager to get off with power punches as he seemed more wound up than in previous fights.

As round 2 began Banks started off well, landing a few crisp jabs to set the tone. After controlling the first minute, Banks was caught with a heavy hook to the body that seemed to bother him. This encouraged Mitchell, who was in full-attack mode, and he reached with a windmill overhand right that caught nothing but air, and left him dangerously exposed for a Banks counter, which landed accurately and sent Mitchell sprawling to the canvas.

Mitchell never fully recovered from that knockdown. His legs were wobbly and he was clearly buzzing. Still, Mitchell threw caution to the wind and began whipping wide punches at Banks, which only opened himself up for the precise, straight-lane work of Banks, who showed tremendous class and poise in a heavyweight bout filled with nonstop action and thundering exchanges.  After being caught again with a series of precise, short punches, Mitchell went down a second time. He pleaded with referee Eddie Cotton, stating that he was alright, but his eyes and legs told a different story. Cotton let the fight continue until another Banks barrage sprawled Seth on the canvas one last time in a dizzied buzz.

And just like that—we saw a top contender momentarily cut down in the midst of an impressive ascent. Conversely, one can’t help but feel good for Johnathan Banks as he stood victorious, clad in Kronk-colored culture, making his mentor smile in whatever dimension he presently resides. Continuing where Wladimir Klitschko left off in Germany, Banks carried Steward’s energetic spirit within him on this night, and the Kronk brand remains alive and well.

Mitchell showed tremendous honor in defeat, both congratulating Banks and hoisting himself up on the ropes to show respect towards his considerable fan-base, who cheered for their warrior as if he had won the fight.

“I’m good—I feel okay—he caught me with a good shot,” explained Mitchell. “He dazed me and I’m really upset. He’s a counterpuncher and I threw a shot that was out of reach and he caught me.”

Indeed, Mitchell showed no sign of quit and previewed what fans can expect in his redemptive return to the squared circle. “I’ll bounce back,” he said. “It won’t spoil my dreams. Don’t be sorry for me. Be sorry for my next opponent.”

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  1. OY 09:53am, 11/23/2012

    I can’t help but wonder how useless folks like Kenny Weldon (and others who have dedicated their lives to starting kids early) would be if Seth Mitchell could have pulled off a walk-on to greatness. Damn, even those with great athletic ability that started early can’t rely purely on their athleticism (see: Jermain Taylor).

  2. Joe 01:40pm, 11/21/2012

    Did anybody really believe that this dude Mitchell had anything to do in boxing?

  3. Lindy Lindell 07:40pm, 11/19/2012

    Since when are Kronk colors dominated by bright blue?  David, you are seeing what you want to see.  Red and gold piping can be seen as Kronk colors, and it is a nice gesture that Johnathan is acknowledging Emanuel Steward under whom he did train, but Johnathan has been in the fold of K2 (Peter Kohl and the Klitschkos) for over two years.

  4. the thresher 08:04am, 11/19/2012

    Mike Lee represents all that is wrong with American boxing, He lacks talent and is a figment of someone’s hyped up imgination. His entire scenario is puke-provoking. He will get sent to Leprechaun Dreamland the first time he fights a live body.

  5. bk don 07:57am, 11/19/2012

    I know he’s not a heavyweight but how about the kid Mike Lee? He’s a former football player who actually had some background in the sport of boxing and got a fairly early start. Also competed in the Golden Gloves I believe. He might turn out to be a good professional.

  6. the thresher 04:05pm, 11/18/2012

    Powell KOs Nino Valdez to become a ranking heavy. He was himself waxed by Charlie Norkus and Ali. But he could pop. I still call him from time to time, but his memory is pretty well gone.

  7. the thresher 04:04pm, 11/18/2012

    Following his football career, Alonzo Highsmith became a professional boxer. Over a four-year career, Highsmith amassed a 27-1-2 record in the heavyweight division, but his level of opposition was made up of morgue and cemetary inhabitans and even included the fraud Gastineau.

  8. the thresher 04:00pm, 11/18/2012

    Jones and Gastineau don’t belong in the same universe as those others.

  9. peter 03:16pm, 11/18/2012

    The Heavyweight Championship (for Football Players)

    1) Charlie Powell
    2) Derrick Rossy
    3) Seth Mitchell
    4) Ed “Too Tall” Jones
    5) Marc Gastineau
    6) ?
    7) ?
    8) ?
    9) ?
    10) ?

  10. the thresher 12:09pm, 11/18/2012

    The only football player who became a rock solid fighter and contender was Charlie Powell and he was one of the greatest all-around athletes ever. Aside form Charlie, there have been pretenders, posers, and impostors.

  11. raxman 10:44am, 11/18/2012

    hope you guys didn’t skin your knees jumping off the band wagon.

    i can’t believe how quickly some of you have turned on this guy - shame on you all for hoisting this bloke so high that you’re shocked by the inevitable fall.

    this was always going to be a tough fight. many a big puncher has been brought undone when in with an experienced opponent.  banks is and has always been a well under rated fighter and coming in with grief behind him - as DM pointed out in this piece - made him dangerous on its own

    With Mitchell’s lack of amateur experience and fast track pro career there was always going to be hiccups along the way, but he can still be a top level HW - you guys just have to stop looking for the saviour of american heavyweight boxing under every mouthguard

  12. Adam Berlin 10:15am, 11/18/2012

    Football players need to stay football players.  Case closed.

  13. mike schmidt 07:18am, 11/18/2012

    Agreed. Chin and long list of fights that really did not help him build to the level that was the disaster this weekend. Here is a guy who obviously loves the sport, comes in condition, has one hell of a punch, and does not have the experience or knowledge to even understand how to clinch properly when hurt—straight on fighter who met a straight on punch—shame shame shame—he will, as today’s gold standard (haw haw haw) of moving fighters goes, get a few easy fights—the rebuilt publicity show will come again, and then he will get blasted out again. Bring on Deontay Wilder, who although has faced limited opponents, certainly looks like he has all the mechanics down pat—he is big, can punch, can box from the outside, and has shown continued improvement

  14. the thresher 06:33am, 11/18/2012

    Seth’s chin has been exposed. It’s now over for him. Let’s move on.

  15. bk don 12:25am, 11/18/2012

    I love an upset and it was almost impossible to not root for Banks b/c of his ties to Steward. However, I really wanted to believe Mitchell could be the American heavyweight savior we’ve all been waiting for. He has a big punch and big contingent of fans, unfortunately that’s not enough to make one a legit heavyweight contender. Certainly Mitchell goes back to the drawing board from here, but i wonder if it’s just too late for him to learn to fight at the elite level. As much as he wants to be a threat, it’s so rare in this sport for a fighter to achieve anything w/o having a boxing background.

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