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Kevin Mitchell would have beaten Jorge Linares if he’d lasted 10 more seconds, says Hearn

mitchell33By Scott Gilfoid: Last Saturday night we saw #1 WBC 135lb contender Kevin Mitchell (39-3, 29 KOs) get sliced and diced in losing by a 10th round stoppage to talented WBC lightweight champion Jorge Linares (39-3, 26 KOs) in the Rule Britannica card at the O2 Arena in London, UK.

Mitchell was bleeding badly at the time of the stoppage from a cut on the bridge of his nose, which he came into the fight with, a deep cut over his left eye that he suffered in the 7th. As bad Mitchell looked at the time the fight was mercifully halted by referee halted by referee Victor Loughlin, Mitchell’s promoter Eddie Hearn believes that he was only 10 seconds away from winning the fight.

With only 10 seconds left in the 10th round, Hearn believed that the fight would have been halted after the round was over due to Mitchell’s cuts, and the fight then would have gone to the cards. Two of the judges had Mitchell ahead at the time of the stoppage, so Hearn believed that Mitchell would have won the fight. I’m not sure if that would be the case though. The judges had Mitchell up by the scores 85-85, 88-82 and 86-84. The judge that had Mitchell up by six rounds was British judge Ian John-Lewis.

Given that there was a knockdown in the 10th round, you would have to believe that the scores for the judges would be adjusted to reflect the knockdown, don’t you? As such, the scores for the fight after 10 rounds would have been 95-93 for Linares, 96-92 for Mitchell, 94-94 even. In other words, the fight would have been scored a draw. But if Hearn wants to extend his make believe scenario to where Mitchell was never knocked down, then yeah, Mitchell would have won the fight by a split decision.

“He was 10 seconds away [from winning the fight],” Hearn said to IFL TV. “On the scorecards he [Mitchell] was up by two rounds. One was all squared, and one was up by six rounds [British judge Ian-John Lewis], which I think was very ridiculous. If he [Mitchell] survived 10 more seconds of that fight, they would have stopped it in his corner, and they would have gone to the scorecards and he would have been the new WBC lightweight champion. I hope he carries on because he’s lost to probably the best lightweight in the world. If he fought Darleys Perez, if he fought Mickey Bey, he would have won a world title tonight. He boxed Jorge Linares and was winning the fight. The injuries couldn’t enable him to box the way he could have boxed. He told me ‘I’m so sorry.’ Kevin was concentrating so hard. Even when he was under attack, he was catching shots. He was brilliant. I’m just gutted that Kevin couldn’t do it.”

I don’t agree with the scoring for the fight, by the way. I honestly only had Mitchell winning one round, and that was the 5th round in which he scored a knockdown after he caught Linares with a left hand followed by what appeared to be his left elbow to the head. You can see the elbow making contact with Linares’ head right before the knockdown. It was kind of a cheap knockdown in my eyes. I thought Linares totally out-boxed Mitchell and was winning easily by the time he stopped him in the 10th.

Hearn believes that Mitchell would have beaten Darleys Perez and Mickey Bey, two of the other lightweight world champions, if Mitchell had been facing them last night instead of Linares. I wouldn’t assume anything if I were Hearn. Perez and Bey are two very good fighters with greater variety in their punches than Mitchell. They don’t just rely on a desperate looking left hook like Mitchell does, and they have a lot of different ways to beat a fighter. With Mitchell coming into the fight with a preexisting cut on the bridge of his nose that he suffered in training camp, I wouldn’t be surprised if he were sliced up by those guys in the same way that he was against Linares. As a result, I think Mitchell would have been bleeding badly against either of those guys and in a bad way late in the fight just like he was last Saturday night.

I don’t know where Mitchell goes from here. Hearn is hoping he’ll carry on with his career, but this is obviously a huge blow for him. At 30, Mitchell may need a couple of years before he gets another world title shot unless Hearn can work his magic to get him an immediate rematch against Linares or a world title shot against one of the other lightweight champions like Bey, Perez, or Richard Abril.

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