Steward smiling down on Banks
By John F. McKenna (McJack): In a display of guts and determination heavyweight Johnathan Banks (29-1-1, 19 KO’s) scored an impressive 2nd round TKO over highly touted Seth Mitchell (25-1-1, 19 KO’s) on Saturday night at the Boardwalk Hall in Atlantic City. Banks had a game plan which called for him to stay in the pocket risking a KO by the power punching “Mayhem” Mitchell. After Mitchell missed with one of his power punches, Banks launched a power punch of his own and it was timed perfectly.
Johnathan nailed the aggressive Mitchell with a counter right hook which landed on the button. Banks knew he had hurt his larger and stronger opponent and wasted no time following up on his advantage. He landed a series of rights and lefts which deposited Seth on the canvas for the first time in his career.
When Mitchell arose it was clear he was hurt, but he lacked the experience to deal with the predicament he was in. Banks seized the opportunity and followed it up with an assortment of power punches which left Seth on the canvas for the 2nd time. When Mitschell arose for the 2nd time he gallantly attempted to fight back, but Banks was in no mood to let his opponent off the hook as he sprung to the attack once again. At that point Seth was unable to avoid the heavy artillery of his opponent who was raining damaging punches on him from all angles. Mitchell fell to the canvas for the 3rd time forcing referee Eddie Cotton to call a halt to the proceedings.
It is worth pointing out that very few boxing pundits, including this writer gave Banks much of a chance to defeat Mitchell, who seemed to be on his way towards a title fight with Wladimir Klitschko. It was this writer’s opinion that Mitchell was too big, too powerful and hit too hard for Banks to survive for more than a few rounds.
To his credit however, Banks followed through with his strategy of countering when Mitchell threw one of his power shots. It was a strategy which paid off handsomely. Banks wasted no time during the post fight interview paying homage to his long time trainer and mentor, the late great Emanuel Steward.
What made Banks performance against Mitchell so impressive was the pressure he had been under for the last few weeks. The pain he felt after losing Emanuel Steward was excruciating. He had no time to mourn however due to his obligation to be in the corner of Wladimir Kltichko for his title fight against Mariusz Wach on November 10.
Banks handled that task admirably. Then after the Klitschko fight Banks flew back to Detroit for Steward’s funeral on Tuesday, knowing he would be facing his most difficult fight yet against Mitchell just a few days later.
Somewhere Emanuel Steward is smiling down on his protge.