By Keith Idec
Seth Mitchell might not have the most reliable chin in the heavyweight division, but the former football player is confident he can pull of an upset Saturday night against Chris Arreola.
“He talks tough and that’s expected from Chris Arreola,” Mitchell said. “He’s a clown and a comedian, but on Saturday the joke’s going to be on him.”
The trash-talking Arreola (35-3, 30 KOs) is heavily favored to beat Mitchell in their main event at Fantasy Springs Resort Casino in Indio, Calif. (Showtime; 10:30 p.m. ET/PT). But Mitchell (26-1-1, 19 KOs) regained some confidence when he out-boxed Johnathon Banks in their 12-round rematch June 22 in Brooklyn, seven months after Banks (29-2-1, 19 KOs) scored a second-round technical knockout victory over Mitchell in Atlantic City.
“I look at this as a crossroads fight for both of us,” said Mitchell, a former Michigan State linebacker from Brandywine, Md. “He’s coming off a loss [to Bermane Stiverne], and I just avenged my loss to Banks. This fight would’ve had more steam if he hadn’t lost to Stiverne and I hadn’t lost to Banks, but this is a fight I’ve been talking about. I think our styles complement each other and mesh well. It’s going to be a great fight.”
Haiti’s Stiverne (23-1-1, 20 KOs) floored Arreola, 32, in the third round of their fight, in which Arreola also suffered a broken nose on his way to losing a unanimous decision April 27 in Ontario, Calif. Mitchell managed to avoid another knockdown in his second fight against a strangely passive Banks, which he won by unanimous decision at Barclays Center.
“I know Arreola is coming and when you fight him, you’ve got to be in shape,” Mitchell, 31, said. “This fight I expect will be totally different [from the Banks fight]. Chris is going to bring it. He’s a come-forward fighter who throws a lot of punches. I’m not expecting him to sit out there and try to out-box me.”
Arreola, of Riverside, Calif., believe his significant experience edge, punching power and chin are major advantages. Mitchell disagrees.
“He’s a hell of a fighter and I’m a hell of a fighter,” said Mitchell, who had a very limited amateur background before making his pro debut 5½ years ago. “The only thing I give him the advantage on is experience. I don’t concede anything else. As far as speed, power or boxing IQ, I’m just as good or better than him. He does have more experience, but I’m learning each and every fight.”
Mitchell understands that he can regain some of the status he lost when Banks beat him by upsetting Arreola.
“When the stakes are this high, it’s a high-risk, high-reward situation,” Mitchell said. “Some people look at this as a cash-out fight for me. I look at it as a cash-in fight.”
Keith Idec covers boxing for The Record and Herald News, of Woodland Park, N.J., and BoxingScene.com. He can be reached on Twitter @Idecboxing.