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Thursday, June 13, 2013
Mitchell looks to get back at Banks

By Michael Woods

Many fight fans think they know what is going to go down June 22 at Barclays Center, in both the main event (Paul Malignaggi versus Adrien Broner) and the main support bout, a heavyweight rematch between Johnathan Banks and Seth Mitchell.

The last time they clashed, the "guy that was supposed to win" -- i.e. the more heralded guy, the fighter more seen as a future star by the powers that be -- didn't.

Seth Mitchell, a former footballer at Michigan State, someone seen, among optimistic types, as a boxer who perhaps in the near future could pose a threat to a Klitschko brother, was knocked down three times in Round 2 and stopped out by Banks, to that point a journeyman whose career momentum never seemed to get pumping.

That changed on Nov. 17, 2012, when Banks (29-1-1), fighting without sage/father figure Emanuel Steward in his corner for the first time, did a quickie script re-write in Atlantic City. "An amazing upset; Steward magic," said HBO's Jim Lampley as the ref saw enough, and pulled the plug on Mitchell.

Many folks think the same sort of thing will happen in the rematch, which will unfold in Brooklyn, and on Showtime. Mitchell, to me, deserves immense credit for looking to hop right back on the horse that bucked him; naysayers wonder why he doesn't take two steps back, get a few W's under his belt, get some more seasoning, before he looks to get back at Banks. He was asked during a recent workout if he looks at this fight as a revenge opportunity.

"I'm not even looking at it like revenge," said Mitchell, a 31-year-old Washington, D.C., resident with a 25-1-1 record. "I look at it as I took a hit and I learned from it. I came to the gym, I worked extremely hard to try to get my prep, to work on my things and to learn from my mistakes. I want to win, so if you want to call that revenge, then that's revenge."

Mitchell clarified the thinking on taking the immediate rematch, which is promoted by Golden Boy.

"If Johnathon Banks would've out-boxed me for six or seven rounds or outclassed me, of course the fighter in me would've wanted a rematch, but I wouldn't have taken the rematch right away," he said. "I believe that I'm a better fighter than him and I didn't show everything that I'm capable of. That's why I want a rematch. I went to my team and I said I wanted a rematch. I've got a smart group of people around me and if they felt that I couldn't beat him, they'd have talked among themselves and come out with a different game plan."

Readers, feel free to offer a prediction. More of the same for Mitchell? Or has he learned his lesson, tightened up his game, and emerged a stronger sort post-KO?