Seth "Mayhem" Mitchell (25-1, 19 KO) must prove he's more than just another hulking football player-turned-boxer on Saturday night. The former Michigan State Spartans linebacker will be rematching Johnathon Banks (29-1, 19 KO) at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn, N.Y.
The first fight took place in November 2012. Banks' experience and poise allowed him to stop Mitchell in just the second round. In the rematch, Mitchell will be hoping to fix his mistakes. Here is a look at their first fight.
This is a rare battle of two mildly relevant American heavyweights with a chance for the winner to leap into consideration for more lucrative opportunities.
Here's how you can catch Banks vs. Mitchell 2, as well as a closer look at their second matchup.
The Book on Mitchell
If Mitchell doesn't stop Banks on Saturday night, it is safe to say his masquerade as a serious heavyweight title contender is over. Mayhem came into the first fight as the favorite and one of the most heralded American heavyweights in the world.
By the time it was over, Mitchell was shown to be grossly inexperienced, unrefined and more hulk than fighter.
If he is to change those perceptions, he needs a good-to-great showing on Saturday night. His reputation as a legitimate heavyweight depends on it.
In the Ring
Mitchell's greatest strength is his punching power. He has GTS (go to sleep) power in either hand, but his overhand right is exceptionally strong.
His greatest deficiencies are his average to below-average stamina, somewhat lumbering style and less-than-accurate punching. All of those issues led to his loss to Banks seven months ago. Has he had time to right those wrongs?
We shall soon find out.
The Book on Banks
Do You Want More?
No matter what happens in the ring, Banks has a promising future in the corner and in the gym as a trainer. As an understudy of the late Emmanuel Steward, Banks already trains heavyweight champion Wladimir Klitschko.
At 30 years old, the question for Banks is the same as the title of the legendary hip hop group The Roots' second studio album: Do You Want More?
If Banks is OK with gradually transitioning into his career as a trainer, he may allow himself to lose focus on the task at hand. Subconsciously or consciously, he knows he'll be alright financially either way.
However, if he still has the burning desire to make his mark in the ring, we'll likely see the same focus from Banks that we saw in the first bout with Mitchell.
In the Ring
Who will win this fight and how?
It may not seem like it, but Banks has very good power. He has stopped 19 of the 30 men he's faced, but mentally he's more of a boxer than a puncher. Technically he's sound, but the criticism of Banks is usually aimed at his tendency to be too calculated in the ring.
He usually doesn't show the type of aggression that many pine for, though the first fight with Mitchell was the exception to that rule.
Against Mitchell, his poise and measured approach are the best strategies. In the first fight, these qualities allowed Banks to take advantage of the less experienced fighter's overexuberance. Once Banks hurt Mitchell, he wasted no time finishing him.
We could see a repeat on Saturday.
It would be better for the heavyweight division if Mitchell wins, but he won't. Banks is the perfect fighter to expose all of Mitchell's weaknesses, and seven months isn't enough time to correct what made him vulnerable.
Banks will stop Mitchell again, but this one will at least last until the middle rounds. My prediction is a fifth-round TKO win for Banks.
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