BANKS-MITCHELL II SET FOR NEW JERSEY ON FEB. 16
Press Release: Adrien Broner vs. Gavin Rees, for Broner's WBC lightweight title, will take place Saturday, February 16th at Boardwalk Hall in Atlantic City, New Jersey. The event is promoted by Golden Boy Promotions and will be televised live on HBO World Championship Boxing beginning at 10:30 p.m. ET/PT. Also on the HBO broadcast will be a twelve-round heavyweight rematch between Johnathon Banks and Seth "Mayhem" Mitchell. Here is what the heavyweights had to say about the co-feature during a conference call held to promote the event:
Promoter Oscar de la Hoya: We're extremely, extremely excited to once again return back to Atlantic City where first and foremost we were able to raise a big amount of money that went towards the Boys and Girls Clubs there in Atlantic City. In our last outing with Adrien Broner, with Banks, also with Seth Mitchell, so it was an exciting, exciting event and a very successful event in terms of giving back to Atlantic City.
The main event, as you know Adrien Broner vs. Gavin Rees will be at WBC Lightweight World Title fight and we also have.. .Johnathon Banks vs. Seth Mitchell... At this moment I would like to take the opportunity to introduce one of the participants who will be fighting on the co-main event. His record is 25-1 with 19 knockouts. He is from Brandywine, Maryland. He's a former standout at Michigan State University, where he was a linebacker. And he's become relatively quickly one of the fighters in the heavyweight division to bring back excitement to the heavyweight division here in the United States. He is no stranger to Atlantic City. People, the fans there love him. He brings an exciting style. He's a puncher who definitely brings a lot to the table when
it comes to excitement. Let me introduce to you Seth Mitchell.
Seth Mitchell: Thanks, Oscar. Appreciate that. First and foremost I'd like to say Happy New Year to everybody that's listening on the call. And I want to thank my promotional company, Golden Boy. I want to thank my team, Al Haymon at HBO for just providing me with this opportunity again. I also want to thank Johnathon Banks for accepting the rematch and fighting me again.
It was a tough defeat for me [Banks KO's Mitchell in their first meeting]. Mentally and physically I was fine after the fight, but just experiencing that first loss it was a tough pill to swallow, but I tell people it's a gift. I've been in the game for, actually, yesterday was six years all together amateur and pro, so I'm learning on the job, but I'm a quick learner and I definitely learned a lot from that fight. And a lot of people said Emanuel
Steward had a lot to do with the fight and things of that nature.
I don't really look too much into that because I said if I had gone out there and I had blown Johnathon Banks out in the first round people would have said, well, he had a lot on his plate and things of that nature, so I learned a lot. I'm excited for this fight. I've been in training camp basically since December. I've been
training so I'm very focused for the fight.
Again, I want to thank Johnathon for accepting the fight and I'm definitely looking forward to the fight and looking forward to a difference. I tell people I'm fighting at the same time, same venue, same opponent, just a different outcome this time. So, I'm definitely looking forward to putting on another great fight for the fans and I'm excited.
De La Hoya: Thank you very much, Seth. And just to add, Seth Mitchell is the one who wanted this rematch and it goes to show you the character, it goes to show you the hard work that he's putting into this rematch. I strongly believe we will see a stronger, faster and, most importantly, wiser Seth Mitchell, one fighter who was on the canvas, got back up and is going to fight even harder, so this is one fight that we're really, really looking forward to live on HBO Championship Boxing.
Johnathon Banks: First of all, I want to say hello to everybody who is on the call. I look forward to the fight February on HBO. I look forward to the rematch. As always, my hat continuously pulls off to Seth Mitchell because he always shows a lot of character, which is something I personally admire in fighters because a
lot of fighters don't do that. So, I personally just want to take my hat off to him, as always. And I know he's going to come back stronger. I know he's going to come back even more prepared than the first time and I'm really looking forward to a good competitive fight.
Q: Seth, can you just kind of give us an idea of what you learned from the last fight against Johnathon Banks and what you want to do differently this time to get a different outcome?
Mitchell: We had a great game plan going into the fight, but as I watched the fight tape, even though hands down I won the first round, my balance and my distance were terrible in that fight. And I got a little overzealous, audacious, so just patience and
I'm definitely working on my balance and my distance and it's just a learning process, but I'm a sponge, man, and learning lessons sometimes you've got to get knocked down to grow.
In my case you've got to get knocked down three times. And I've got to say it was a tough pill to swallow, but it definitely made me a better fighter and we've just been working on my eyes and my balance and my distance, just not being so aggressive naturally. If you know me, when it comes to competing I'm a pit bull; I'm very aggressive, but I've just got to learn how to channel that and use it and do it at the right time.
Q: Seth, I just want to ask you, I heard what you said about it's a learning experience and the things you said you were working on with the balance and the distance, but I think you know as well as anybody that if you go into a big time, any kind of fight, but especially a big fight on network like HBO with a lot of people watching, fans, media, etc., and you lose a second time in a row, it's extraordinarily bad for somebody's career. How much pressure do you feel that this is a, they're all must wins I guess in this business, but even more than your must win fight?
Mitchell: Well, absolutely. I like to be where the stakes are high. When I went back in the dressing room after the fight, when I talked to Al Haymon I asked him two questions. I asked him how much did this set me back and when can I get a rematch. So, I just want it to be known that I wanted this rematch. It's not like I was forced into the rematch. Not taking anything away from Johnathon Banks, but I feel that I can beat Johnathon Banks and that's just the type of person I am. That's my character. It's not me being arrogant or anything. But I would be lying to you if I didn't know that this was a vital fight in my career, not to say that it's a career ending fight, but it definitely would set me back. I want to be where the stakes are high. This is the classroom that I want to be in and I understand that I'm young in the game and I'm learning, but I've got to learn and win at the same time and that's something that I know and I'm very focused and I definitely expect to win the rematch.
Q: Seth, could you just address also that when the fight was over and you're back in the dressing room and it's starting now to sort of set in what happened, what were you thinking about? Were you like I can't believe what just happened or were you just in shock? What was your emotion at that time because, no disrespect to Johnathon, it was considered to be a major upset because of what happened. And not only that you lost, because we knew that John was also a good fighter, but it was the manner
in which you lost that was probably most surprising. What were you feeling? Were you just dumbfounded, like you couldn't believe that that just happened?
Mitchell: The first two days, it was like you just said, did this really just happen? Did I just lose this fight? But actually, it was better that it happened that way than if I'd have went out there and just got totally outclassed with four, five, six rounds and then got knocked out. So, I'm an optimistic person. I try to look at the glass as half full, but it was difficult. Like I say, thanks to Johnathon I didn't enjoy my Thanksgiving. Even though, it was funny, I'm looking at my wife, she's cooking dinner and everything and the kids are running around, all of the blessings that I have around me, but I still had that sickening feeling in the pit of my stomach. So, it's just going to make me a better fighter and a stronger fighter, but it took me about a week to get over the fight. But then, after that, it was just you got to get better. It's a learning experience and that's how I took it.
Q: Johnathon, a question for you about the fight. You won the fight. It was a resounding victory. You scored a bunch of knockdowns and stop a highly touted guy in the second round. You know, it's pretty definitive. So, my question for you is he had a rematch clause that he exercised, obviously. You were contractually bound to take this fight and you'll be once again on HBO. I assume you're getting a better payday than you got the first time around. But after scoring such a big victory, are you a little disappointed maybe that you have to go back in with him as opposed to moving on to something bigger and better?
Banks: You said, am I disappointed?
Q: Yeah, because when you score that kind of win in a resounding fashion, most times guys, it's not like it was a close decision or it was controversial, or was a draw. You went out there and basically did what you had to do. You got rid of him in two rounds and most guys after that move on. But he had the rematch clause, so now you really didn't have a choice, I suppose, to take this. So, some guys might be a little resentful of that because you might have had an opportunity to move on to something bigger and better, unless this is the better fight for you?
Banks: Yeah, I mean, I definitely wanted to move on to something different or, I wouldn't say bigger or better any time. But I would have wanted to move on to something different, but you've got to go with what the paper, what's in black and white.
And he chose to exercise the rematch clause. That's what he wanted so that's what we're going to do. I think that I can't stop taking my hat off to the dude because I would have done the same thing if I was in his position. He's a true fighter at heart and that's what fighters do. So, I wasn't shocked about it, but I thought I would have been there doing something different, but it didn't totally shock me because I knew going into the fight, I knew what type of guy I was facing. I knew I was facing an extremely relentless dude that was all straightforward, that
was coming for a victory. No matter how he was going to get it, I knew he was coming for that. So, I wasn't surprised that he wanted that. So, it's no resentment as far as I should be doing something else. This is what's in front of me and that's basically what I'm focusing on.
Q: And you just expect to do the same thing once again?
Banks: In my opinion I look forward to a victory. I don't know how. I didn't know how the first one was going to come and I don't know how the second one is going to come, but I'm confident about Johnathon and I do believe I'll be victorious.
Q: Seth, I was looking up, I know you haven't used the word revenge or anything like that. But you did talk about the sick feeling, so I looked up a word, redemption, and I came up with a couple of definitions. And I wanted to see how you thought this applies to you. It says, "to make good, to get over or to win back, to change for the better or to eliminate blame or doubt." Does that word apply to you in this situation and, if so, how?
Mitchell: I want to get this nasty taste out of my mouth, I want to win the fight. This is what I do to support my family as of right now and I have to continue to win. So, I wouldn't necessarily say that it's redemption because Johnathon, he came out there and he did what he was supposed to do and that's what I plan on doing this time. I plan on coming out victorious. But I definitely want to; I'm the type of person, I don't get too high off the praise and I don't let the criticism bring me down too much. So, when you say that I want eliminate doubt, just like he said, he believes in himself, I believe in myself. I believe in Seth Mitchell. And I just want to go out there and not prove to myself because I believe in myself already. I just want to go out and get this victory, I want to right this wrong, that's basically what I want to do.
Q: Johnathon, one of the things that you said about Seth and you also I think mentioned about Travis Walker kind of goes along with some of the things that Evander Holyfield once told me and he said that he really appreciates when a bigger fighter comes
to him because he feels like he can set him up and he feels like there's a lot of real estate to hit. You kind of implied that one of the best things about Seth is that he's going to come to you. Can you characterize what you mean by that and why that was, I don't
know if we want to call it an advantage, but preferable to you possibly?
Banks: Well, it's not an advantage of any kind, but it's just my particular style, that when a guy comes forward a lot of times it's almost you can see or not too much see, but you almost know. If someone's coming forward you pretty much know they're coming forward to punch. So, that's basically the situation. But that's what happened, I guess, the first time around, but what I'm understanding and the reality of it is that happened the first time around, but I've really got a big guy feeling that I'm going to get a different opponent the second time around because like the dude said, he said he's a sponge and he soaked up a lot of knowledge and he's forever continuously learning so I believe the second time around everything will be really different on his side.
But that's usually what I mean when I say about someone coming forward towards me is that's just me; I see things a little different.
Q: When you say you think he's going to be different, how do you fathom him being different as a fighter and you're a boxer? I've seen fights where you will just go ahead and box your way to victory. So, how do you imagine this being a different fight?
Banks: The only thing we can do, especially as fighters and trainers actually, too, the only thing we can do is assume how this guy is going to be. The difference is knowing that you're going against a top level guy, knowing you're going against someone who's, like he said, you want to right a wrong that's done, he has to look at himself; he already said he knew what he did wrong. So, that's already being corrected as we speak.
So, therefore the way I just figure that when I say I'm facing a different guy, I think he's going to come at me a little different and I have to come at him different because we've been in a square circle once before. So, we've both got to come at each other a little different. It would be very ignorant of me to walk on this fight thinking the same thing, that I'm fighting the style of guy, same type of guy I fought the first match. I'm not going to do anything like that.
Q: How difficult has it been to recharge your battery since a loss that can be described as stunning no less. Was it tough for you to get back in the gym and have you worked harder than you did before or have you pretty much been the same?
Mitchell: It wasn't hard at all. The eighth of this month has been six years total that I've been boxing and I've never been out of the gym longer than three weeks. And so we fought November 17. I was back in the gym on December 1, I was back in the gym
training. I hadn't started a training camp yet. I start my training camp usually about two months out, but I never underestimate
any opponent before I get into the ring and I'm always in shape when I get into the ring, so as far as me training harder and getting in better shape, I was in tiptop shape when I fought Johnathon the first time and we definitely have just made a conscious effort on some technical things as far as balance and things of that nature, so we've really been focusing on that. But I've been getting good work and just learning. Like I said, I definitely learned a lot from this fight and I think the people and the fans, they'll see a better Seth come the 16th of February.
Q: So, you had no problems regaining the vigor that you had previously as an undefeated fighter? Were you at all despondent at all after that loss or did you just say, okay, it's in the past, I'm moving forward?
Mitchell: I mean, to say it didn't hurt I would be telling a bold faced lie. I didn't want to eat for three or four days. It took me a week. We fought on Saturday and I didn't stop having that sick feeling in my stomach until Friday. But I never was discouraged like, oh, I'll continue boxing. That never crept into my mind at all and physically I was fine right after the fight. But that competitor inside of me, that was hurt. And another thing I think it's easier for one to overcome something like that. Before this fight I never once said that I'm the best, I can't be defeated. I believe that any time somebody steps into that ring, they can be defeated, especially in the heavyweight division. It only takes one shot.
So, my mentality was there before the fight as well as afterwards. It was a tough pill to swallow. It took me about a week to get over it, but then after that it was back to the gym and you look at the fight and you learn from it and I just try to grow as a fighter. And I think I've done that and I believe it'll show on
Q: But was it hard to watch the fight again?
Mitchell: It upset me because, like I said, even though I felt that I won the first round, when I watched the first round some of the technical things that I was doing in my lunging and my reaching, it could have been over in the first round. One time I threw a right hand and I just reached with it so bad and Johnathon stepped
back and threw a little chopping shot and it just missed me and that happened. Even though I won the first round and I felt I was winning the second round, but eventually my mistakes and my lunging and reaching caught up with me, caught me with a shot that I didn't see, equilibrium shot and the rest is history. But it was just frustrating to watch the fight because I don't feel that Johnathon beat me necessarily. I think that my technique and my stuff was so bad that it wouldn't have been hard for anybody to beat me that night if they could.
Q: All right, thanks. Johnathon, you, obviously, won't have the distractions that you had first time around. Is that going to help you do you feel?
Banks: Well, I didn't feel I had any distractions the first time around.
Q: You didn't? Training Wladimir and then flying to Detroit and then coming back for the fight, you didn't look at that as being distractions?
Banks: No. It was the situation that I had to handle, but it wasn't a distraction.
Q: Did you talk to Wladimir after the fight and did he see it and did you discuss the fight at all?
Banks: Me and Wladimir talked and yes, he saw the fight.
Q: What were his thoughts?
Banks: He just said congratulations.
Seth, you indicated that you're much like a sponge. Part of the problem with that
is you seem to absorbing yet not handling very well some of the power of the heavyweights
that you've fought before. The Witherspoon fight was an example and Johnathon taking
you out like that. Does that cause you any concern going in and as you move up,
assuming a victory here against some of the bigger heating heavyweights in the
division and what do you to counter that?
No, it doesn't concern me. With the Johnathon Banks fight, when I watched the fight,
I was like wow, that shot didn't even look that hard or whatever. But when you
don't see shots coming and by me lunging and my eyes weren't on my target and when
you don't see shots coming, they affect you a lot more.
It's like if you're scared of spiders and you see a spider across the room it doesn't
affect you that much. You might still have those nerves, but you're not as scared
versus you coming into the room and I tell you, stop, there goes a spider. You
know what I'm saying? You're going to jump and you're going to move because you
don't know where it's at and when you don't see shots coming, it can affect you
even if they're not that hard.
And that's what happened in the fight. My eyes weren't on my target. I was lunging,
I was leaning over. I actually have a picture that I keep in my phone. It was
right before I got knocked down and my legs were spread so far apart and I was lunging
so bad and it was right before Johnathon knocked me down. I just keep that as a
But the shots that you don't see affect you a lot more. But I'm not worried about it. You can't let that fester in you. You've just got to work on getting better and doing better the next time out. That's what I plan on doing.
Coming into this fight and I know that you're both professionals, you never overlook
an opponent. Two questions for you really. One is do you think that Mitchell's
inexperience contributed to the win and will contribute to another win? One of
the things that I thought I noticed was that on the inside you got the better of
him. Do you expect him to change his strategy and try to keep you at the end of
his punches a little bit more this time?
Well, first of all, a lot of people said something about Mitchell's inexperience.
I didn't see, even on his previous fights, a few of them, I didn't see his inexperience
that everyone says that he has. In my opinion, what I said was, they said how can
you go up against a guy - this was all before the first fight, how do you feel going
against a guy that don't have as much experience?
I said it doesn't matter. If he catches me with a punch that first round I can't
come back from it. Experience no longer matters at that point. So, I've never
seen Mitchell's inexperience. Every fighter makes mistakes. We have to learn and
we grew from them.
Mentally, that's not even in my mind because all I'm looking at is there's a big
guy, he's a big heavyweight, he can punch and he's coming for a victory. That's
all I'm seeing. So, I don't see no inexperience.
Q: And lastly, assuming a win in this fight, which I know you will not assume the win, but should you prevail, moving forward is a fight with Klitschko something you would consider or how difficult would that be given your familiarity and your training of Wladimir?
Banks: That's a question that I really, really have no clue to the answer. Yes, I am the trainer of Wladimir Klitschko, so a fight with him would be so less likely. But all I can think about is Mitchell. So, to be honest about it, I can't see past that because if I don't go past that then everything is irrelevant.