By Keith Idec
ATLANTIC CITY — As impressive as Seth Mitchell’s comeback from first-round adversity was two weeks ago, his third-round technical knockout victory over Chazz Witherspoon provided plenty of proof that Mitchell is nowhere near ready to challenge one of the Klitschko brothers.
“I think it’s a learning experience and I don’t think we need to go and chase the Klitschkos,” said Richard Schaefer, chief executive officer for Golden Boy Promotions, which represents Mitchell. “I just don’t think that makes much sense. You keep on building him. This is not about, ‘Let’s go for a payday.’ This is about really building a heavyweight champion here in the United States again. That’s the plan. The plan is not to go and get a big payday, fighting over in Germany [against] a Klitschko.”
Oscar De La Hoya has mentioned that 39-year-old Michael Grant could be Mitchell’s next opponent. Other than the 6-foot-7 Grant’s height, he obviously has little in common with Wladimir Klitschko (57-3, 50 KOs) or Vitali Klitschko (44-2, 40 KOs), who’ve both been eyeing Mitchell as an opponent for later this year.
Grant could, however, help the 6-2 Mitchell (25-0-1, 19 KOs) grow accustomed to fighting boxers that tall.
Of course, beating Grant (48-4, 36 KOs) wouldn’t mean he’s ready for one of the Klitschkos, but Schaefer stressed patience for a hard-hitting heavyweight who is very much learning on the job. The 29-year-old Mitchell, a former Michigan State linebacker from Brandywine, Md., began boxing less than six years ago and hopes to take incremental steps toward a title shot.
“It’s a learning curve for Seth, and I think he’s doing very well,” Schaefer said. “He’s passing with flying colors and we want to try to get him back as soon as possible.”
Withstanding Witherspoon’s onslaught during a dangerous first round in which it looked like Mitchell might get stopped at least provided evidence that he can overcome real trouble in the ring.
“I was a bit scared during the first round,” Schaefer said, “but he came through, made some adjustments and finished strong. I mean, what an exciting fighter. Who wouldn’t want to see him? I’m really happy for the heavyweight division here in the U.S. I think with Seth Mitchell, we do have somebody who eventually is going to become heavyweight champion and is going to be great.”
Keith Idec covers boxing for The Record and Herald News, of Woodland Park, N.J., and BoxingScene.com.