Banks vs Mitchell, Bika vs Periban on Broner-Malinaggi undercard
By Thomas Cowan: This Saturday, Seth Mitchell faces fellow American heavyweight Johnathon Banks in New York on the Adrien Broner vs Paulie Malinaggi undercard. These two faced each other in Atlantic City in 2012, where heavy favourite Mitchell was blown out in two rounds by Banks. There’s been a lot of hype in the last year about the “new breed” of heavyweights but the hype has been dying down recently.
Mitchell was destroyed by Banks, Deontay Wilder still isn’t fighting anyone remotely good and across the pond David Price was shocked by aging Tony Thompson, while Tyson Fury looked awful against Steve Cunningham. I really can’t see any of these four putting up any kind of fight against a Klitschko brother and I even have serious doubts over whether any of them could last 5 rounds with David Haye.
Getting back to the Banks-Mitchell rematch, I see this one going pretty much the same way. Banks is an experienced, accomplished fighter whose only loss came courtesy of an 8th round KO at the hands of Tomasz Adamek in a fight Banks was winning at the time of the stoppage. Mitchell has faced mostly fodder opposition although he did look good against Timur Ibragimov and Chazz Witherspoon. However, Banks looked too fast, too strong and too clever in the first fight and I can see Mitchell folding under the pressure again. The winner will be in a good position to fight for the WBC title at some point in 2014.
Sakio Bika vs Marco Antonio Periban: Is this really a title fight?
Also on the undercard, Sakio Bika faces Marco Antonio Periban in New York for the vacant WBC super middleweight belt. The belt was made vacant after Andre Ward was stripped for inactivity.
I do think it’s a bit of a joke that the WBC stripped Ward when they didn’t strip Floyd Mayweather despite the fact he didn’t defend the belt for nearly two years. However, Ward showed no interest in fighting Anthony Dirrell when he was mandatory challenger in 2012 before a car accident and he hasn’t sounded interested in fighting Bika since he’s been number 1 contender so I think Ward would have ended up being stripped anyway.
Cameroon-born Australian Bika has five losses on his record but he is a decent fighter. Three of his losses have come agaisnt elite opponents in Ward, Lucian Bute and Joe Calzaghe. He also lost to Sam Soliman early in his career but avenged that loss in 2007 and he was disqualified against Jean-Paul Mendy. Periban on the other hand in unbeaten but has never faced anyone remotely good. The best name on his record is probably Italian Francisco Sierra who was stopped by George Groves,Thomas Oosthuizen, Edison Miranda and Rigoberto Alvarez but Periban could only scrape a majority decsion.
I can’t say agree with the WBC’s decision to make this a title fight. Bika is a good fighter but I don’t think he’s championship level and Periban is totally unproven at this sort of level. Bika will probably win this easily by a dominant decision or possibly a stoppage. The winner could face Ward, Carl Froch or Robert Stieglitz in a unification fight but it seems more likely that Bika/Periban will milk the title against weak opponents rather than take unification fights that they are unlikely to win.