By David P. Greisman
He was one of just four remaining active Golden Boy fighters that still were appearing on HBO. But now the relationship is over between network and promoter, and it seems likely that Seth Mitchellís rematch with Johnathon Banks ó which was once to have taken place in February on HBO ó will instead be on Showtime.
Banks-Mitchell 2 was postponed from February after Banks broke his thumb while sparring. It was thought that the bout would be rescheduled for the May 18 card featuring Lamont Peterson vs. Lucas Matthysse, but Banks is still recovering from the injury, according to Dan Rafael of ESPN.com.
Mitchell is still training as if the rematch will happen, potentially in June. He still wants the bout; after all, Banks stopped Mitchell last November, giving the 30-year-old heavyweight his first pro loss.
Mitchell, now 25-1-1 with 19 knockouts, spoke with BoxingScene.com on March 26 about that bout, the upcoming move from being spotlighted on HBO to appearing on Showtime, and his reaction to the recent arrest of Adrien Broner ó a boxer with whom he is friendly.
BoxingScene.com: Whatís been going on with you?
Mitchell: ďNothing much, man. Just staying in the gym, you know, not training full tilt, but just staying in the gym, staying sharp, just waiting for [the Banks bout]. I believe itíll be sometime in June, Iím not exactly sure of the exact date or the venue, but Iíve been told itíll be sometime in June. So Iím just staying sharp, not killing myself, but am in the gym enjoying the [NCAA] tournament right now and enjoying the Miami Heatís run. Just enjoying life.Ē
BoxingScene.com: Letís come back to June in the moment, but I wanted to bring up the big news from last week about HBO and Golden Boy. The landscape of the boxing world really changed for you while youíve been waiting for your rematch with Johnathon Banks. Now that HBO wonít be doing any more business with Golden Boy, I presume your next fight will be on Showtime. What did you think of HBOís announcement when you heard the news?
Mitchell: ďIt was as shocking to me as I guess it was to a lot of people. But, you know, itís business. I have nothing bad to say towards HBO. Iíve had a great run with them with the times I was on their air. They did a great piece on me with ĎSeth Mitchell: 2 Days.í It was unfortunate, but anything can happen in this business. Thatís how I look at it. But I wish them the best, and I have nothing bad to say about HBO.Ē
BoxingScene.com: When you say that itís unfortunate, why is that? Is it because you were building up a fan base on that network and being featured? Is it because you had a relationship with them?
Mitchell: ďJust for some of the fights that probably wonít get made now. Golden Boy has a big stable of fighters that fought on HBO, and with the Top Rank and Golden Boy thing going on, thatís just another barrier thatís probably going to block some fights. So itís unfortunate for fans and the viewership of boxing.Ē
BoxingScene.com: So itís less you speaking as a boxer, and more you speaking as a boxing fan.
BoxingScene.com: How do you feel about potentially being on Showtime, then? It seems like that network has really been on an upward track in recent years.
Mitchell: ďIím definitely excited to fight on the network. You know, my job is just to go out there and put on entertaining fights. Iíve always said, win, lose or draw, my fights are never boring. So Iím just excited to get back out there, get back on TV and fight and put on another exciting fight.Ē
BoxingScene.com: Coming back to June, Iíve been hearing that you could be on the undercard to Adrien Broner and Paulie Malignaggi. Is that what youíve been told is a possibility?
Mitchell: ďIíve heard that is a possibility, but as you know in this sport, until they say ĎIn the red corner,í and ĎIn the blue corner,í anything can change. My fight dates have changed. My venues have changed. Iím definitely told that Iíll fight in June some time, so Iím just preparing as if Iím fighting in June. Iím in the gym now, not killing myself, but just staying sharp, and Iím probably going to start training camp in another three weeks.Ē
BoxingScene.com: Are you presuming that itís still going to be a rematch with Johnathon Banks?
Mitchell: ďThatís what Iíve heard, yes. I believe so.Ē
BoxingScene.com: You were originally supposed to fight him back in February. Whatís it like for you to keep on waiting and not know whether the bout will be happening, and when it will be happening?
Mitchell: ďI have to tell you, itís not fun. Itís not fun when you bite down and go through a hard training camp, and youíre eating right, and youíre just doing the necessary things that you have to do to prepare for a fight, and youíre in peak shape, mentally and physically ó and then you get the call that the fight is not going to happen.
ďItís tough, but I always go back to ĎEverything happens for a reason.í It just gave me more time to prepare, more time to get better, and thatís just what Iíve been doing. But itís not fun at all. The hardest thing for me is because Iím a gym rat, I stay in the gym all the time. The hardest thing for me, when the fights get postponed, is to know when to take a little break, but at the same time not be away from the gym. You donít want to over-train. Thatís the hardest thing for me is not overtraining and finding that balance.Ē
BoxingScene.com: But also making sure you donít get too much rust from being out of the ring.
BoxingScene.com: If Banks is not ready to fight in June, would you wait as that bout is delayed again or would you direct your team to start finding other opponents?
Mitchell: ďDefinitely the latter. I want to fight. I want to fight, so if heís not going to be able to fight, then Iíll definitely have my team start looking elsewhere.Ē
BoxingScene.com: Bryant Jennings and Franklin Lawrence are going to be facing each other in June. Weíve talked about Jennings before. Would you prefer to have the Jennings fight next if Banks is not ready, or prefer it maybe further down the line?
Mitchell: ďIt doesnít matter. Like I said, Jennings called me out once the [Banks] fight got postponed, and I was willing to fight him then. Iím not running from anybody. But right now Jennings is not my opponent. Johnathon Banks is supposed to be my opponent, so Iím focused on that. But if Jennings wants to fight, we can fight. Iím not worried about Jennings right now. I like him as a fighter, but Iíd definitely be willing to fight him.Ē
BoxingScene.com: I know you pay attention to the sport, especially to your division. What do you think about the Jennings-Lawrence bout? Are you familiar with Lawrence?
Mitchell: ďIím familiar with the name. I havenít seen him fight. Iíve seen Jennings fight on TV about three times. I think itíll be a good fight. Franklin Lawrence can fight. I heard he has a good left hook and good power. I think itís definitely a fight worth watching.Ē
BoxingScene.com: What do you think of the upcoming bout between Chris Arreola and Bermane Stiverne?
Mitchell: ďThatís definitely an exciting heavyweight bout to watch as well. I think itís a 50-50 fight. Iíve seen Stiverne fight a couple of times. Sometimes he comes in and I guess is not in as good a shape, and you can tell by his output and his punches and everything. But I think if he comes in shape ó and Chris Arreola in his last few fights definitely came in the ring in shape, so I think itíll be a good fight. I canít pick a winner, though.Ē
BoxingScene.com: And one other notable heavyweight fight coming up is Steve Cunningham and Tyson Fury. What do you think about that one?
Mitchell: ďI probably would pick Tyson Fury to win, just for his size. I think his size is going to be the determining factor in that fight.Ē
BoxingScene.com: Another local heavyweight got a big win recently. Did you catch Tony Thompsonís victory over David Price?
Mitchell: ďI didnít catch it, but I definitely heard about it as soon as it happened. It didnít surprise me. I knew that Tony Thompson has a lot of experience. Iíve sparred with him ever since I got into boxing. So I know what he brings to the table. I know that he can fight. And David Price, he was a young lion coming up It was a pickíem fight, but Tony had a lot of experience, and if he wasnít ready for that experience, then he could probably lose that fight. That was a big step for [Price].Ē
BoxingScene.com: I bring all of these names for a reason. For a time, it seemed like the heavyweight division was the Klitschko brothers and not much else. But now there are a lot of younger fighters such as you and others coming up. This has to be an exciting time to be in the division. I know the end goal for you is still to get a shot at the Klitschkos, but how much do you also want to face these other heavyweights and assert your dominance, your claim for a shot at the Klitschkos?
Mitchell: ďThatís a big goal of mine. Like you stated, thereís a lot of heavyweights out there besides the Klitschkos that can put on great, exciting fights for the fans. I definitely want to be involved in a lot of those fights. The ultimate goal is to become heavyweight champion in the world. So whatever the other heavyweights do outside of the Klitschkos, youíre still going to have that asterisk above your head ó you didnít beat the Klitschkos, or you havenít fought the Klitschkos yet. Thatís the ultimate goal, is to win the belts and to fight whoever, if itís the Klitschkos, whoever has the straps at the time.Ē
BoxingScene.com: Do you want to get to the Klitschkos sooner, or do you think you should face some of these other guys first?
Mitchell: ďI believe Iím probably about three fights away. I definitely want to fight about two to three more times before I have my opportunity. But my main focus right now is my next fight. As you know, as everybody knows, this is a big fight for me, rematching the person that I just lost to. Thatís my main focus now. If I donít take care of business, then that just prolongs my journey to the heavyweight title. Thatís just my main focus right now, is beating Johnathon Banks.Ē
BoxingScene.com: I know youíre friends with Adrien Broner. What did you think of his arrest?
Mitchell: ďItís unfortunate. But Adrien Broner, heís going to do what he does. Heís young. Heíll get it together. But it was just unfortunate. I think a lot of times, he gets a bad rap because of some of the things that he says and he does. But I know him on a personal level. When you sit down with him and talk to him, heís definitely not an arrogant, cocky individual. He doesnít come off like that when you know him and sit down and talk to him in person. I guess heís a bad rap for some of his antics. But it was just unfortunate. I just wish him the best. You got to realize, heís 23 years old. He has a lot coming at him right now. But Adrien Broner, heís a good person, heís a good individual.Ē
BoxingScene.com: Any final thoughts for your fans?
Mitchell: ďEverybody can follow me on Twitter (@SethMayhem48) and on Facebook. Iím excited and ready to get back into the ring. Itíll be some time in June, and once that date is officially announced, Iíll keep everybody updated and posted. And just continue to pray for me, and thank you.Ē
BoxingScene.com: Who do you think is going to win the NCAA tournament?
Mitchell: ďCome on now. You know who I think is going to win ó Michigan State! And I got about 11 of 16 teams in the Sweet 16, so my bracket is pretty strong right now. I picked a few upsets in the first round, but I didnít have Florida Gulf Coast, but I do have 11 out of 16.Ē
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 firstname.lastname@example.org
Tags: Seth Mitchell