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Mitchell takes aim at avenging his only loss

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Sports,Kevin Dunleavy

Prince George's native faces Banks in Brooklyn

Mayhem is everywhere.

The line is from a clever series of insurance commercials, but also applied to the busy and well-traveled boxing career of Seth "Mayhem" Mitchell. The first 26 fights of his heavyweight career came at 18 different venues in a dizzying 51 months.

Turning pro at the relatively advanced age of 25, Mitchell seemed to be making up for lost time. His routine was consistent: A fight, then a brief period of rest and recovery followed by hard work in the gym leading up to another bout. The regimen served the Brandywine native well as he went undefeated, climbing the rankings and claiming a North American Boxing Association heavyweight title.

Up next
Seth Mitchell vs. Johnathon Banks
When » June 22
Where » Barclays Center,
Brooklyn
TV » Showtime

But over the last 13 months, Mitchell has fought just once, a second-round loss to Johnathon Banks. A series of postponements, for both the first fight and the rematch, has thrown Mitchell out of kilter.

After Mitchell injured his right hand a year ago, his initial fight with Banks was rescheduled three times before it finally was contested Nov. 17. The rematch was supposed to take place Feb. 16, but Banks suffered a broken thumb two weeks before. Mitchell and Banks will finally fight -- barring any further setbacks -- on June 22 at the Barclays Center.

"Once the fight got postponed, I stayed in the gym on cruise control," said Mitchell, who resumed camp in early May. "Used to it now."

What Mitchell can't get accustomed to is the feeling of seeing himself lose. He estimates he has watched the fight between 40 and 50 times. Entering the bout, Mitchell had knocked out 10 straight foes, all but one in the first three rounds. His loss to Banks in Atlantic City in November was a stunning reversal of fortune.

"It's definitely a different feeling watching a fight when you've lost, and you got popped," Mitchell said. "I wasn't over-confident, definitely was in shape, was fully prepared. But I just went out there and technically did things wrong. I was lunging and I was reaching against a counter-puncher and he made me pay for it."

Mitchell, who turned 31 on Wednesday, is a month older than Banks. But their experience levels in the ring are vastly different. While Mitchell, a 6-foot-2, 240-pound former linebacker at Gwynn Park and Michigan State, came to boxing late, Banks has been at it since middle school and had a long, decorated amateur career before turning pro in 2004. When Banks faced Mitchell, he used his tactical edge.

"I was winning the fight until I got caught," Mitchell said. "The same mistakes I made in the first round, I made in the second round and he just caught me. I had fought counter-punchers but maybe not at that level."

Mitchell says he will enter the rematch much better prepared mentally, with the appropriate lessons learned.

"I have to be a smarter fighter," Mitchell said. "I have power in both hands. I have speed. I have pretty good defense. I'm an athlete. I've got to bring all of that into the fight instead of trying to demolish my opponents in two or three rounds."

kdunleavy@washingtonexaminer.com

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