By Keith Idec
Johnathon Banks barely had time to enjoy his victory over Seth Mitchell before the heavyweight from Detroit learned for sure that his reward would be to meet Mitchell again three months later.
“I definitely wanted to move on to something different,” Banks, 30, said while discussing their Feb. 16 rematch at Boardwalk Hall in Atlantic City. “I wouldn’t say bigger or better [things] of any kind, but I would’ve wanted to move on to something different. But, I mean, you’ve got to go with what’s in black and white. He chose the rematch clause. That’s what he wanted, so that’s what we’re going to do.”
The 30-year-old Mitchell (25-1-1, 19 KOs), a former Michigan State linebacker from Brandywine, Md., had an immediate rematch clause in black and white. He asked adviser Al Haymon about exercising it in the dressing room Nov. 17 at Boardwalk Hall, just moments after Banks (29-1-1, 19 KOs) stopped him in the second round of their HBO-televised slugfest.
Though slightly disappointed that he wouldn’t get the opportunity to fight someone else, Banks couldn’t help but admire Mitchell’s determination.
“I can’t stop taking my hat off to this dude,” said Banks, who knocked Mitchell to canvas three times in the second round before referee Eddie Cotton called a halt to their fight. “I would’ve done the same thing if I was in his position. He’s a true fighter at heart. That’s what fighters do. I wasn’t shocked about it, but I thought I would’ve been doing something different.
“But it didn’t totally shock me because going into the fight I knew what type of guy I was facing. I knew I was facing an extremely relentless dude that was coming straight forward, that was coming for a victory. ... So I wasn’t surprised that he wanted [a rematch]. There’s no resentment in it, as far as I should be doing something else. It’s just what’s in front of me and that’s basically what I’m focusing on.”
Banks obviously believes he’ll overcome Mitchell again, but he stopped short of predicting another knockout win.
“I look forward to a victory,” Banks said. “I didn’t how the first one was going to come and I don’t know how the second one’s going to come. But I’m confident about Johnathon and I do believe I’ll be victorious.”
The Banks-Mitchell rematch will open another HBO doubleheader that’ll feature unbeaten WBC lightweight champ Adrien Broner in the main event. Cincinnati’s Broner (25-0, 21 KOs) is scheduled to make his first defense of his 135-pound crown against Wales’ Gavin Rees (37-1-1, 18 KOs).
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.