by David P. Greisman
Twice before, undefeated heavyweight prospect Seth Mitchell has been slated to face Johnathon Banks on HBO. And twice, that fight has been delayed. But now Mitchell has a date — Nov. 17 in Atlantic City, on the undercard of a broadcast featuring Antonio DeMarco vs. Adrien Broner.
Mitchell spoke with BoxingScene.com in the beginning of October about those delays, about his being featured Oct. 27 in an HBO “2 Days” documentary, and about what benefits there are with sharing a broadcast with Broner.
BoxingScene.com: This is the third date for your fight with Johnathon Banks. The first postponement was because you were injured, the second came because Adrien Broner didn’t have an approved opponent. How frustrating has it been to sit on the sidelines waiting to fight again?
Mitchell: “It’s been a little frustrating, but it’s definitely a part of business that I’ve read about, and I’ve seen fighters that have not fought in a while. I’ve been fortunate that up until this point thus far in my career, I’ve been very busy. I just told myself I only can get mad at the things that I can control. That’s just how I dealt with it.
“I stayed in the gym. We weren’t high intensity training, but we were definitely staying in there so I could stay sharp. Right now I’m at probably about 80 percent. I could be ready to fight four weeks from now on the first, so we got plenty of time to get ready. I’m just excited. A little frustrated, but that’s part of the business. What are you going to do?”
BoxingScene.com: This will be your second fight in 2012, after four in 2011, five in 2010 and seven in 2009. Given the way this year has gone, what kind of activity would you like to have next year?
Mitchell: “Man, I definitely would like to have three or four fights next year, preferably four, but no less than three if I stay healthy. And even if I were heavyweight champion right now, I’m the type of fighter that I would like to stay busy. I’d like to fight every five months. In a little more than a year, I would like to fight three times. That will never change.”
BoxingScene.com: How much boxing do you watch? Are there any of the other heavyweights out there whose fights you’ve been checking out?
Mitchell: “Yeah, any time I get a chance to watch boxing, I love to watch it. I definitely tune into the heavyweight fights. I caught the heavyweight fight [Povetkin-Rahman] this weekend. They’re exciting. These are the people that I can potentially be facing, so I like to check them out.”
BoxingScene.com: Who stands out to you among the heavyweights you’ve been watching of late?
Mitchell: “There are a lot of good heavyweights. I like Deontay Wilder. I think with his height, his athleticism, and he definitely can punch. You know, he gets a lot of flak now for his level of opposition, but I know what I see. I see somebody that’s tall, somebody that has that fire in him, and he can punch, and he’s athletic.
“Bryant Jennings. One thing that stands out to me is his reach. He has the reach of a 6-6, 6-7 guy, but he’s only 6-2, my height. He can fight. I like him. I like [Magomed Abdusalamov]. He’s strong. He can punch. I like Povektin, David Haye, Tyson Fury, David Price, even Chisora. I think there’s a lot of good heavyweights out there.”
BoxingScene.com: I know you’re thinking specifically about Johnathon Banks right now…
BoxingScene.com: …but are there any of those names you mentioned that you’d like to fight next?
Mitchell: “I don’t name call, but I’ll just say that my main focus is on Johnathon Banks right now, and after Nov. 17 I’m willing to fight anybody in the top 10. I feel that I’m ready for that level of opposition. Even though I haven’t been on that level yet, I’m just waiting for my opportunity.”
BoxingScene.com: What benefits do you think come with sharing a broadcast with Adrien Broner?
Mitchell: “Adrien’s my man. He’s going to talk a lot, but you can’t take away his skill. He’s all about business when he gets into the ring. I just think being on the card with him will definitely increase my viewership, because he has a lot of people that love him and hate him, but they’re all going to be tuning in, whether they want to see him win or want to see him lose. That’ll definitely help me out as well, and I got a lot of people watching me, too.”
BoxingScene.com: On Oct. 27, HBO’s going to be broadcasting a “2 Days” feature spotlighting you in the day before and the day of your April win over Chazz Witherspoon. What was it like being filmed so closely during fight week like that?
Mitchell: “For me, to be honest, it was cool because I don’t and I didn’t deviate from my normal routine. We, as a team, are very routine. We go eat together. After I eat, we’ll go for a little 20-minute walk or whatever just to talk and walk the food off. We stay consistent. It was just like, it was a normal routine. When I was going up, normally when I go up to my room, I do a lot of resting during the week, stay off my feet. I tell them I’m going up to go to sleep, and they say ‘OK, call when you’re about to to go back down.’ So it was pretty much routine, but it was cool having them around. I was just glad it ended on a good note, even though there was a big scare in the first round.”
BoxingScene.com: What do you think being spotlighted in the “2 Days” will do for your career?
Mitchell: “I think it’ll give people a glimpse of the real Seth Mitchell, not ‘Mayhem,’ per se. I think that’s one thing that’s real intriguing to people that don’t know me. To people that know me, I’m like the kindest guy. I laugh. I joke. I’m always smiling. But it’s a different person when it’s time to compete. But behind the scenes stuff, they’ll see I’m not a braggart. I’m not boastful. I’m a very humble, down to earth guy. I think, hopefully when they see the piece, they’ll see that this is a dude that I genuinely want him to succeed because he’s a good guy. He’s a good guy, but in the ring, he’s a beast. He’s ‘Mayhem’ in the ring.”
BoxingScene.com: It’s football season, so D.C. is thinking about the Redskins, and meanwhile the Nationals are in the playoffs. How do you go about making Seth Mitchell the next sports franchise in and around the Nation’s Capital?
Mitchell: “I believe I got to get out a little bit more. And of course I have to continue to win. But that’s a tough question because, like you said, I’m competing against a lot. But good lord winning if I continue to win, to have a couple of those fights here, me being in the main event, to bring that big fight to the city, I think that’ll definitely help me out a lot.”
BoxingScene.com: Any final thoughts?
Mitchell: “I just want to thank everybody for supporting me, and I’m asking that they definitely come out to the fight, or tune in Nov. 17. I’m fighting Johnathon Banks. It’s on HBO in the co-main event. Definitely tune in on the 27th of October for the “2 Days” with Seth Mitchell. And as always, continue to keep me in the prayers. I’m excited to get out there and perform. And definitely follow me on Twitter (@SethMayhem48) and on Facebook.”
David P. Greisman is a member of the Boxing Writers Association of America. Follow David on Twitter @fightingwords2 or send questions/comments via email at [email protected]