Heavyweight: 2013, Jun 24-30

#20 Seth Mitchell got his revenge over the man who handed him his only career defeat on Saturday, but in very strange fashion.  #10 Johnathon Banks was thought of as a bit of a lazy underachiever, having only managed a draw with journeyman Jason Gavern in his only real test at heavyweight.  But then in just a 2-week span, he becomes a famous trainer by guiding the Heavyweight champion to a dominant victory after the passing of both men’s trainer, Manny Steward, and then he really starts to look like a boxing guru by apparently diagnosing Seth Mitchell’s flaws in the ring and exploiting them with clinical and punishing execution.  But the rematch undid the illusion of his genius entirely.


Both men were cautious for the first couple rounds, skirmishing and jabbing from distance.  Near the end of the 2nd, Mitchell caught Banks with a fairly ordinary uppercut on the inside and then kind of a half-punch, half-shove to the shoulder or so as he leaned forward.  It was ruled a knockdown- questionable and certainly not a bad one, if it was one at all, and it came in an otherwise nondescript round.  But the third turned out to be Banks’ high-water mark.  He caught Mitchell a couple times with hard, hurtful shots, and it looked like a repeat of the first fight’s result was in order.  Mitchell was nearly out on his feet for much of the round, but Banks didn’t show the same killer instinct that sealed his victory the first time around.  Mitchell was still not entirely steadied at the start of the 4th, but Banks let him off the hook to such an extent that I thought Mitchell pretty clearly won the round. 


And it didn’t get better from there for Banks.  Mitchell fought, against type, as a pure boxer.  He didn’t exactly conjure images of a prime Sergio Martinez with his jab, but it was enough to keep a peculiarly passive Banks completely cowed.  I felt that Banks nicked the 8th, but Mitchell easily won each of the other remaining rounds.  The crowd hated it.  The broadcasters- who apparently fell asleep and scored the fight preposterously close- questioned whether the redemption demonstrates that Mitchell any chance of being relevant.  I’ll agree with them to the extent that his chin really does appear to be problematic, having been roughly out on his feet during each of his last three fights, against less than spectacular punchers.  But as far as this fight went, Mitchell fought intelligently and dominated.  Granted, he got a lot of cooperation from his opponent, who as far as I can tell didn’t even try to crouch behind the high guard, draw and errant punch off a weave, and land a big shot, the way he did in the 3rd.  Hell, he didn’t even bother to work his way in at any point.  He just languished at the end of Mitchell’s range, not punching.  Many folks have suggested the fight may have been fixed.  Given the fact that Banks seems to have let up just when he had Mitchell almost out of there, and then didn’t try for the rest of the fight whatsoever, I can see their point.


I’m not sure I believe, as I once did, that Mitchell is likely to succeed Wladimir Klitschko as Champion, but he did what he had to do, while employing the only strategy with which he could have hoped to succeed.  He handed Banks a pillow, and Banks fell asleep on it.  Mitchell is not building his reputation as a crowd favorite, but his first job is to win, and he had a knockout loss and a pair of wobbly legs to prove he wasn’t going to do that by going to war.  Despite being a big, strong, athletic guy, Mitchell’s chin means that the less entertaining he is, the further he’s likely to go.


Mitchell advances to #12 with the win.  Banks falls back to #18.  In the exchange, Bermane Stiverne moves up to debut in the top 10, and Tony Thompson ascends to #11.  On the other end, Denis Boytsov and Franklin Lawrence fall back to #19 and #20, respectively.


Dan’s Top 20 (Weeks in current position-weeks in top 10 (if applicable)-weeks in top 20)
Champ: Wladimir Klitschko (209-422-422)
Last Fight: 5/4/2013- TKO6 Francesco Pianeta
Next Fight: 10/5/2013- vs. #4 Alexander Povetkin
The drug testing issues between Klitschko and Povetkin have reportedly been resolved (with a confidentiality clause), and both sides appear ready to officially sign the contract for the 10/5 fight.
1) Vitali Klitschko (246-246-246)
Last Fight: 9/8/2012- TKO4 Manuel Charr (UNR)
Next Fight: Unknown
The Vitali-Stiverne deadline has passed with no deal, but I can’t find any evidence that a scheduled purse bid has been held or rescheduled.  Pretty odd for a very big international fight.
2) Tyson Fury (10-101-101)
Last Fight: 4/20/2013- KO7 #3 Steve Cunningham
Next Fight: Unknown
Fury shockingly pulled out the the eliminator with Pulev, and appears close to signing on to a deal to fight Haye, instead, perhaps in September.  Without having really checked, it seems like that winner might have a chance to eclipse Vitali.
3) David Haye (10-50-50)
Last Fight: 7/14/2012- TKO5 #6 Dereck Chisora
Next Fight: Unknown
See Fury’s notes, above.
4) Alexander Povetkin (50-296-296)
Last Fight: 5/17/2013- TKO3 Andrzej Wawryzk (UNR)
Next Fight: 10/5/2013- vs. Champ Wladimir Klitschko
See Wlad’s notes, above.
5) Steve Cunningham (10-27-27)
Last Fight: 4/20/2013- L (KO7) vs. #6 Tyson Fury
Next Fight: Unknown
Only time will tell where Cunningham goes form here.  His hopes for a title shot are dashed at least for awhile.  Perhaps a trilogy with Adamek would make sense at this point.
6Tomasz Adamek (10-166-166)
Last Fight: 12/22/2012- W (SD12)* vs. CW #4 Steve Cunningham (Robbery)
Next Fight: 8/3/2013- vs. Tony Grano (UNR)
Adamek will fight high-level journeyman Tony Grano on NBC Sports from the Mohegan Sun in Connecticut.  He’s one fight too late, as journeyman/prospect Eric Molina already exposed Grano in April.
7) Kubrat Pulev (3-60-137)
Last Fight: 9/29/2012- KO11 Alexander Ustinov (UNR)
Next Fight: Unknown
One recent report had Pulev close to a deal to fight Chagaev on August 24.  Then came the news that the EBU was mandating a rematch with Dimitrenko as his next title defense, with purse bids to be held on July 10.
8) Dereck Chisora (3-82-145)
Last Fight: 4/20/2013- TKO9 Hector Avila (UNR)
Next Fight: 7/20/2013- vs. #17 Malik Scott
In a surprise announcement, Chisora will be fighting Malik Scott- a much better opponent than the other guys that had been discussed.
9) Odlanier Solis (3-14-161)
Last Fight: 3/22/2013- UD12 Leif Larsen (UNR)
Next Fight: 7/27/2013- vs. Yakup Saglam (UNR)
Solis has signed on to fight in a planned WBC “World Cup” tournament, but for now is set for a tune-up type fight against Turkish journeyman Yakup Saglam.
10) Bermane Stiverne (1-1-17)
Last Fight: 4/27/2013- UD12 #15 Chris Arreola
Next Fight: Unknown
Stiverne is hoping that Vitali doesn’t retire so that he can try and do the honors himself.  At this point he’d be a pretty credible opponent, too.
11) Tony Thompson (1-161)
Last Fight: 2/23/2013- TKO2 David Price (UNR)
Next Fight: 7/6/2013- vs. David Price (UNR)
After originally saying he’d only fight David Price in a rematch if Price came to the US, Thompson has instead agreed to fight in Price’s Liverpool backyard again.
12) Seth Mitchell (1-3)
Last Fight: 6/22/2013- UD12 #10 Johnathon Banks
Next Fight: Unknown
Banks wants a trilogy, but I’m not sure I see the percentages in it.  The fans won’t want it after the mundane last 9 rounds, and it’s not going to enhance Mitchell’s career much at this point, even with another dominant win.
13) Deontay Wilder (3-9)
Last Fight: 4/27/2013- TKO1 Audley Harrison (UNR)
Next Fight: Unknown Date
Wilder appears to be off the July 13 card in Brooklyn, and is now likely to fight Sergei Liakhovich on ShoBox, in Alabama.  No date, though.
14) Robert Helenius (3-161)
Last Fight: 3/23/2013- W*(UD10) vs. Michael Sprott (UNR)
Next Fight: Unknown
If Helenius’ team was accurate on the severity of his hand injury, it should be healed by about now, although there were immediate rumors that the injury was more serious.
15) Alexander Dimitrenko (3-128)
Last Fight: 3/9/2013- UD8 Ivica Perkovic (UNR)
Next Fight: Unknown
Dimitrenko is now the mandatory challenger for Pulev’s European belt, though it sounded a week ago like Pulev was about to sign for a fight with Chagaev.
16) Vyacheslav Glazkov (3-27)
Last Fight: 2/23/2013- Draw* (SD10) vs. Malik Scott (UNR)
Next Fight: 8/3/2013- vs. Unknown Opponent
Glazkov will be back in action for the Main Events/NBC Sports card on August 3 in Connecticut, but has no opponent yet.
17) Malik Scott (3-18)
Last Fight: 2/23/2013- Draw* (SD10) vs. #19 Vyacheslav Glazkov
Next Fight: 7/20/2013- vs. #8 Dereck Chisora
Scott will travel to London and try upset Dereck Chisora on July 20.
18) Johnathon Banks (1-32)
Last Fight: 6/22/2013- L (UD12) vs. #20 Seth Mitchell
Next Fight: Unknown
See Mitchell’s notes, above.
19) Denis Boytsov (1-210)
Last Fight: 6/15/2013- KO3 Alexander Nesterenko (UNR)
Next Fight: Unknown
Boytsov knocked out novice Ukrainian Nesterenko in a very short-notice fight on June 15.  No word on a worthwhile fight for the unbeaten Russian, though.
20) Franklin Lawrence (1-17)
Last Fight: 1/25/2013- Mark Brown (UNR)
Next Fight: Unknown
Lawrence reportedly pulled out of a planned (and very good) crossroads fight with prospect Bryant Jennings.


THE WEEK AHEAD: I have no action to report for the upcoming week.

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