MITCHELL ANSWERS SOME, BUT NOT ALL QUESTIONS
By John McCormick
Heading into Saturday night’s HBO telecast, the critics remained skeptical about hard-hitting, undefeated heavyweight Seth “Mayhem” Mitchell. How would he match up against an experienced but not washed-up opponent such as Chazz Witherspoon? How would Mitchell perform in the later rounds if Witherspoon took him there? Would Witherspoon’s addition of Virgil Hunter as head trainer give him the necessary technical advantage to out-box Mitchell? How would Mitchell withstand punishment and survive it if he gets into trouble? Some of these questions were answered within the three rounds of action Mitchell needed to win the fight, but some weren’t.
One thing that was clear after Mitchell's victory by third-round technical knockout was that Mitchell can survive an early onslaught like the one put on by a game Witherspoon in the first round. Mitchell persevered, adapted and put Witherspoon out of his misery in a short amount of time. One thing that remains unknown at best at this point is whether Mitchell is ready to take on the Klitschko brothers? The critics still have reason to say Mitchell is not ready for either one of the reigning champions.
Ever since Mitchell burst onto the heavyweight scene with his highlight-reel knockouts, many wondered if the former Michigan State college football player could be the savior of American heavyweight boxing. The Klitschko brothers' names are brought up during every interview done with Mitchell lately. There is no doubt that a potential Klitschko-Mitchell fight would be huge, as the atmosphere at Boardwalk Hall in Atlantic City was electric during Saturday night’s bout. Many fans from Maryland took the trip up north to watch Mitchell and their presence was felt before, during, and after the bout. But that type of fight takes time to promote, which is exactly what Mitchell seems to need in his professional development.
Many fighters’ careers have been ruined by promoters who rush them into fights they have no business being in. Mitchell is no different, as he must work on defense and technical adjustments to go along with his explosive punching power. If a fight were to materialize between either of the Klitschko brothers and Mitchell this year, Mitchell would almost certainly be heading home with a devastating knockout loss. Sure, surviving Witherspoon;s first-round attack proves Mitchell is battle tested, but is not yet ready for either of the Klitschkos.
Mitchell has a great management team. They are looking to build him up, get him some more fights against some rugged contenders before even thinking about placing him into the ring with Wladimir or Vitali Klitschko. Time just may be in his favor, as the Klitschkos get older and Mitchell grows as a fighter, and the upset could happen if the fight were to occur at the right time. But that time has not yet come. For now, Mitchell has a whole lot to learn.
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