Johnathan Banks was hardly a household name when he stepped in the ring against the reputed best American heavyweight on the scene, Seth Mitchell. He was strictly associated with one of the greatest boxing trainers of all time in Manny Steward. He had a decent record, mostly against cruiser weight fighters, but that was it when it came to Johnathan Banks. Last November, Banks leaped onto the heavyweight scene with a dominating victory over Mitchell with 3 knock downs of Mitchell in the second round. “I had a great night that night. I had a lot of confidence and a special motivation. Once you feel your reason for being there, you get out there, find your rhythm and go to work”, recalls Banks about the best night of his boxing career.
Mitchell, on the other hand, had to regroup with his team and get ready to take on Banks with much more urgency that the first fight. He chose to go to a training camp away from his home in Maryland and get back to basics. Mitchell says, “I had a rematch clause in the first contract and I was determined to learn from the first fight and started getting mentally charged up not long after that loss. I make no excuses. All of this is a learning process for me. I have only been a pro for 6 years, so I am still figuring things out.” Mitchell is gaining a reputation of starting slow. Remember he was on shaky ground in the first round of the Chazz Witherspoon fight before putting Witherspoon away in round 3. Banks has been tutored by Steward all of his fighting life. He may have had a mental edge over Mitchell who was a heavy favorite in that first fight.
On February 16 in Atlantic City, Mitchell, (25-1-1, 19 KO's), will be in the fight of his boxing life. It is very hard to bounce back from a loss in boxing and nearly impossible to get back in the championship mix with 2 losses. The fight will be shown on HBO as the co-feature to rising star Adrien Broner vs. Gavin Rees for Broner’s WBC lightweight belt. Broner is a must see athlete.
Banks, (29-1-1, 18 KO's), is confident that Mitchell will be even more ready than the first time. “I can see him coming for a knockout this time. He said he is going to be different this time. I believe he will be”, says Banks. Banks is also a hungry fighter, “I've been doing this for a long time and it is a lonely man’s sport. I've experienced the bottom, middle and top. I experienced hunger and what it really feels like to sacrifice to have your dreams come true”. Rematches can be fun, but styles make fights and we will see if Banks’ style is just enough to beat Mitchell for a second time. Please subscribe and read the other stories I have written.