by Keith Idec
His fight against Chazz Witherspoon wasn’t long, but it was extremely important in Seth Mitchell’s growth as a heavyweight contender.
The former Michigan State linebacker always believed he would respond positively when he encountered trouble in the ring. Proving it against Witherspoon, a B-level heavyweight who has above-average punching power, made Mitchell realize that he can handle anything difficult Detroit’s Johnathon Banks might present when they square off tonight in a 12-round bout in Atlantic City (HBO; 10 p.m. ET/PT).
A Witherspoon right hand in the first round left Mitchell wobbled April 28 at Boardwalk Hall in Atlantic City, but the Brandywine, Md., native held and survived the trouble to stop Witherspoon in the third round.
“I believe that helped me develop a lot,” Mitchell, 30, said. “I tell people all the time, if they were to ask me how I would respond to adversity [in the ring], I would’ve told them I would’ve responded how I responded in the Chazz fight. But until you get put in that situation, you really don’t know. So for me to get put in that situation and come through as I did, I think that it showed signs of that I’m a true champion, I’m somebody that definitely has the heart, has the determination to show recovery.”
Mitchell (25-0-1, 19 KOs) regained his legs during the second round and reminded the Philadelphia-bred Witherspoon (30-3, 22 KOs) that he wouldn’t go away easily. He then dropped Witherspoon with a left hook early in the third round, before a right hand later in the third prompted referee Randy Neumann to step in and wave off the action as a disoriented, stading Witherspoon was struggling to regain his senses.
“I wasn’t overanxious,” Mitchell said. “I stayed composed, I stayed calm and I think it helped me out a lot and let me know I can fight through adversity when in trouble. At the same time, I don’t want to continue to put myself in those situations and let me see why I had that situation and things of that nature to work on. So overall, I think it helped me out a lot.”
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.