Seth Mitchell: The Sensation of Taking a Serious Power Punch

By Kieran Mulvaney

Heavyweight Seth Mitchell (left) absorbs a power shot from opponent Chazz Witherspoon during the Hopkins-Dawson undercard in Atlantic City. Photo Credit: Will Hart

It’s the ultimate gut check, the moment when a boxer takes a punch that temporarily relieves him of his senses and his equilibrium. It is a moment when he stares at the prospect of sudden defeat and career derailment. It can happen to any fighter.

It’s happened even to Floyd Mayweather, who was rocked twice by right hands in the second round of his contest with Shane Mosley two years ago. The crowd at the MGM Grand that night roared itself almost hoarse in anticipation of a sudden, shocking knockout; instead, it was Mosley who failed the gut check, who, when Mayweather found his legs and fired back, tensed up and lost every minute of every subsequent round.

The night-altering power punch happened last week to Seth Mitchell, the undefeated heavyweight prospect who, in the opening stanza of his fight with Chazz Witherspoon in Atlantic City, took one right hand and then another and then another. Somehow, he survived the round, came out firing in the following frame, and dropped and stopped Witherspoon in the third.

“I knew I was hurt,” said Mitchell on Thursday, as he relaxed in the press room at the MGM Grand. “Cognitively I was there. I saw him, and I could see he knew that he had hurt me. So I was like, ‘I see him coming to me. Grab him. Don’t be macho. Grab him.’ But my legs weren’t there. My mind was there. But I had spaghetti legs. Until I saw the fight [on TV] I didn’t realize I was that hurt. When the ref separated us, I did a little wobble. But I never saw triple Chazz Witherspoons or double Chazz Witherspoons. I just wanted to grab him and survive the first round. And once I survived the first round, I knew I couldn’t have another round like that, and I couldn’t stay on the end of his jab.”

The gut check can go one of two ways. Failure to answer – swiftly, and with authority – begs questions that can result in defeat and deflation. But passing the test can elevate a boxer to another level.

“It definitely makes me more confident,” said Mitchell. “At the same time, I don’t want to go through that again. Because it’s scary, man. Not at one time when I was in trouble did I think, ‘Oh my gosh, it’s about to be over. What am I going to do?’ Not one time did I think that. But after the fight was over, all of it hit. ‘Wow, I almost got knocked out in the first round. That would have set me back four or five fights, a year, fifteen months.’ That’s when all of that hit me, and that’s why I got so emotional.”

It is little surprise that Mitchell identifies Miguel Cotto – like the heavyweight contender, a practitioner of the seek-and-destroy style of boxing – as his favorite fighter. But he does not think that the Puerto Rican will have the opportunity to ask the questions of Mayweather that Mosley did, or that Witherspoon asked of him.

“Cotto can crack. And Floyd has shown that he can get hit, but he’s shown that he can come through adversity,” he noted. “In his last couple of fights, he ain’t been moving, he’s been standing right there in the pocket, putting that shoulder up and sharp shooting. He’s a surgeon in there, and we already know he’s got the dog in him. If you want to stand there and bang with him, he can do that too, and he got the best defense out there. So it’s going to be an uphill battle for Miguel Cotto.”

This Time Around, Dawson Leaves No Room for Controversy

By Michael Gluckstadt

Bernard Hopkins, Chad Dawson - Photo Credit: Will HartBernard Hopkins danced, he mugged and he pushed, but he didn't connect. All the head games in the world can't land punches, and tonight, the 47-year-old Hopkins didn't. His opponent, Chad Dawson, shrugged off Hopkins' antics—which included a full-on tackle in the 11th—and outhustled the fighter 18 years his senior for a majority decision victory and the WBC and Ring  Magazine light heavyweight titles.

Before a crowd of 7,705 mostly Hopkins-supporting fans at Boardwalk Hall in Atlantic City, Dawson got the better of most exchanges and landed the cleaner shots. According to CompuBox numbers he connected on 35 percent of his punches, and 48 percent of his power punches, while Hopkins landed just 25 and 30 percent, respectively.

Leading up to the fight, Hopkins had been reticent about the rematch with Dawson—though Dawson had no problem talking about the controversial no-contest at the Staples Center in Los Angeles, which ended with Dawson slamming Hopkins into the mat and separating his shoulder in only the second round. Through the first four rounds in this fight, both fighters were feeling each other out, throwing fewer than 10 punches per round.

Read more on HBO.com

Fighters and Fans Weigh In on Hopkins vs. Dawson II

By Michael Gluckstadt

Bernard Hopkins, Chad Dawson - Photo Credit: Will Hart 

Bernard Hopkins doesn't have anything left to say. But he still has to say it. He kicked off a tense media session with boxing reporters earlier with the weary preamble of a man who's done it all before. "We should all understand this," Hopkins said. "Nothing else needs to be asked about Bernard Hopkins, so don't do press conferences when you know the book on this guy. We can't predict what's going to happen until it happens. So what are you going to ask a guy after two decades and four years?"

Hopkins took the same workmanlike attitude with him to the scales, where he weighed in at 173.5 lbs, glared for a bit, and left the stage. This was just after his opponent Chad Dawson came in at 174.5. Dawson has been decidedly more vocal in the lead up to the fight, a rematch of a controversial no-contest that had originally been ruled a KO for Dawson. Since that night, Dawson has maintained that he had no choice but to slam Hopkins down to the canvas, if only to keep the fighter 18 years his senior from pushing down on his back and wearing him down.  This time, Dawson wants to leave no doubt. "We have a good plan," he said earlier this week. "I am not thinking about a close decision. I don't see it happening that way at all."

Dawson and the oddsmakers see things one way, but Hopkins and the fans see it another. "I wish I were more of an underdog, so that my guys could make some money," he deadpanned. On our HBO Boxing Facebook poll, Dawson earned 65 percent of the 1730 votes cast. On Twitter and HBO.com, the results were slightly more even.

 Here's some more of what you had to say:

  • Hopkins will enjoy this rematch as much as he enjoyed his rematch with Pascal. Hopkins by Decision, with enough energy to do push ups between rounds. V. Varricchio (HBO.com)
  • easy  boring win for dawson, last fight for bernard.  i would hope it aint so but really i rather see him lose this way n quit than get beat up – Shaka Z. (HBO.com)
  • Going the full length, split decision B.Hop! - @PrimeJock_LLC (Twitter)
  • Dawson wins by close decision when BHop comes on late but fails to close. #HopkinsDawson2 - @AtomFry (Twitter)
  • although the first fight was hideous, i am looking forward to this fight.. i believe that dawson looked like he was going to destroy B-hop in the first fight. dawson came prepared and this time he has more to prove.. dawson will be the first guy to knock out B-hop..  B-hop makes history again, but this time in the loosing end. – Manos D Fuego (HBO.com)
  • I see @THEREALBHOP having his moment, with @OfficialBadChad's youth prevailing in a decision. #boxing - @12RounderBoxing (Twitter)

Check out the slideshow at HBO.com.

Meet Seth Mitchell: The Next Great American Heavyweight Hope

By Kieran Mulvaney


Seth Mitchell - Photo Credit: Tom Hogan

Undefeated heavyweight Seth Mitchell takes on fellow American Chazz Witherspoon in the co-feature to the Bernard Hopkins-Chad Dawson rematch on HBO World Championship Boxing this Saturday. Mitchell hails from Brandywine, Maryland, played linebacker at Michigan State University, graduated college with a criminal justice degree, and didn’t begin boxing until he was 24 years old. After a brief amateur career, he turned professional in 2008, and enters Saturday’s fight with a record of 24-0-1 and a growing tendency to finish fights early: 15 of his 24 victims, including his last nine, have failed to last the distance. His most recent outing was a second round stoppage of Timur Ibragimov in Washington, D.C. in December, on HBO’s last card of 2011.

He spoke with InsideHBOBoxing last week, following a well-attended media day at his Maryland gym.

InsideHBOBoxing: Have you noticed the number of cameras and microphones are increasing as you climb up through the ranks?

Seth Mitchell: I’m definitely aware of it. I don’t let it get me big-headed or cocky or anything, because I realize this is a business thing, that all of this is happening because of what I do in the ring. I have fun with it, but at the same time, I keep everything in perspective.

There is of course an extra expectation because you are an American heavyweight, and this country has been starved of quality heavyweights.

It’s been a while in the heavyweight division since an American has held the belt and represented well, and there’s a lot of buzz, a lot of talk going around about myself. I’m glad that people are choosing me to bring back the American heavyweight division, but I’ll let them say it. I’d be lying to you if I said it didn’t feel good. But I know I just have to work hard to continue to get better and that’s what I’m trying to do.

Do you think the fact that you came to the sport a little late – you have an athletic background, but you also have life experience and a college degree – has helped you cope with the attention and keep your focus?

Definitely. A lot of people say, ‘My life is boxing, this is all I know,’ and that truly is not the case for me. Not just having my degree, but going to college, having that experience, getting more cultured, being around different people, and learning and seeing different things, it has definitely helped me out. If boxing were to end for me today, I’d still have something to fall back on, just with the experiences I’ve had in life, so it definitely helped me out.

In the meantime, obviously you’re taking your career step by step, and next up is Chazz Witherspoon. He’s 30-2, and he isn’t by any means somebody to be overlooked.

Chazz is going to come to fight. I’ve studied him, and my trainer has studied him. He has great fundamentals, he has an excellent jab, and he’s not afraid to let his hands go. So I’m expecting a tough fight and I’m excited, and I hope everybody’s going to tune in.

It wasn’t really that long ago that you decided to try boxing and now, here you are, fighting on HBO on the same card as Bernard Hopkins, an all-time great.

 I was thinking just the other day, remembering how on July 31 2010, I was the very first fight on the [Juan Manuel] Marquez-[Juan] Diaz card [in Las Vegas]. There were about 100 people in the arena, and about 30 of them were people who had flown down from Maryland to Vegas to watch me fight. And from there to now, being a co-main event on a Hall-of-Famer’s card, it’s truly amazing. I’m very fortunate.

Read More at HBO.com