Los Angeles, CA - Though they left Boardwalk Hall in Atlantic City Saturday night with different results, both future Hall of Famer Bernard Hopkins and heavyweight contender Seth Mitchell made statements that their careers are going strong and continuing after delivering compelling performances to a packed house in New Jersey and to homes across the country on HBO World Championship Boxing®.
In the main event, "The Executioner" may have come up on the short end of a 12-round majority decision to Chad Dawson, but without question, Hopkins' performance in the closely-contested bout showed that even at 47, there is plenty of fight left in the fighting pride of Philadelphia.
Dawson praised Hopkins at the post-fight press conference for his skill and guile in the ring and exclaimed, "He can still beat anyone else in our division."
While the longtime middleweight king made history for becoming the oldest man to ever a win a major boxing title when he defeated Jean Pascal in 2011, now Hopkins has his sights on besting his own record by winning yet another title later in 2012.
"I fought hard Saturday night and feel the fight was closer than two of the scores reflected," said Hopkins. "Regardless of the result, I will continue my career and challenge any champion in my division. I might be older, but I don't feel a decline in my skills or abilities in the ring. I love to fight and am still competing at a level where boxing cannot deny me the opportunity to succeed."
Kicking off the HBO World Championship Boxing telecast in style was unbeaten Seth "Mayhem" Mitchell, who may have singlehandedly renewed boxing fans' faith in the heavyweight division with his thrilling third round technical knockout win over of Chazz Witherspoon.
Showing off a warrior's heart and huge chin in the first round when he survived Witherspoon's initial attack despite being momentarily dazed, the 29-year old Mitchell kept his composure and rallied in the second round with a punishing body attack. That tactic eventually opened Witherspoon up for a massive left hook to the jaw in the third round that sent him to the canvas. Mitchell then finished the job with a series of powerful shots that forced referee Randy Neumann to stop the bout at the 2:31 mark, giving Mitchell the official title of NABO heavyweight champion and the unofficial crown of America's next great heavyweight. Expect the soft-spoken but heavy-handed Mitchell to wear both titles proudly on his quest to win the heavyweight world championship.
"Every experience I have in the ring allows me to improve my learning curve in the sport as I continue to climb the heavyweight division," said Mitchell. "I know I have the heart, which the fans saw Saturday night. I am very proud of my victory over Chazz and look forward to my next challenge. There is only one dream for me and that is to be the bona fide heavyweight champion of the world."