By Jake Donovan
Seth Mitchell was barely a few minutes removed from his first official loss – a 2nd round stoppage against underdog Johnathon Banks last November – when discussion had already begun regarding his next fight. Reality hadn’t even fully set in, but he was alert enough to know that what just happened needed to be immediately corrected.
The former high school and college football standout gets a chance to avenge that loss when he and Banks collide again on February 16. The rest of the particulars are the same – once again taking place at the Boardwalk Hall in Atlantic City, serving as the televised chief support of an HBO show headlined by unbeaten lightweight titlist Adrien Broner.
The only two things that have changed are the date and the fact that the pride of Brandywine, Marlyand is no longer unbeaten.
“I like to be where the stakes are high,” Mitchell (25-1-1, 19KO) insisted when asked why he chose to pursue an immediate rematch. “The first thing I did when I got back to the dressing room, I turned to (adviser) Al Haymon and I asked, ‘How much did this set me back and when can I get a rematch.’
“I feel that I can beat Johnathon Banks. I’d be lying if (I said) I didn’t know it’s a vital fight, a loss that can set me back. I’m learning and I’m focused. I’m set to win the rematch.”
The desire to conquer Banks isn’t so much revenge, but for the opportunity to return to the same point where his career was prior to last November.
“I want to remove that bad taste out of my mouth,” Mitchell clarifies. “This is what I do to support my family. I have to continue to win. I wouldn’t necessarily say that it’s redemption. I don’t get too high off the praise and get too down on the criticism. I believe in myself. He believes in himself and I believe in Seth Mitchell. I want to right this wrong. That’s what I want to do.”
Mitchell – now just five years in the pro ranks after a relatively brief amateur career - was being groomed as a future star in a heavyweight division currently devoid of any American fighters threatening to reclaim the top spot anytime soon.
Suffering a knockout loss on the way up certainly doesn’t bolster Mitchell’s chances any in regards to public perception, especially at age 30 and with such a late introduction to the sport. Well aware of this fact, a rematch with Banks was a no-brainer.
“Seth Mitchell is the one who wanted this rematch,” points out Golden Boy President Oscar de la Hoya, Mitchell’s promoter. “It goes to show his character and willingness to take this fight. He was on the canvas, got back up and is willing to fight every fighter.”
Their first fight included a rematch clause, which Mitchell wasted no time in exercising. He also wasted no time in physical exercise, using the Thanksgiving holidays to get past the loss before returning to the gym and training through Christmas for what now serves as the biggest fight of his young career.
“It wasn’t hard at all (to recharge). I’ve never been out of the gym longer than three weeks. The loss was November 17; I was back in the gym December 1,” Mitchell reveals. “I never underestimate an opponent. I’m always training, I’m always in shape. We’ve focused on technical things and just learning. I’ve learned a lot from this fight. I think the fans will be a better Seth come February 16.”
Jake Donovan is the Managing Editor of Boxingscene.com. Follow Jake on Twitter: @JakeNDaBox