SAN DIEGO, November 18, 2012 – After an emotional week for the boxing community that included trainer Emanuel Steward’s memorial service, his longtime protégé Johnathon Banks had to get back to work and focus on tonight’s fight with rising undefeated heavyweight star Seth Mitchell.
For eight weeks, Banks took over for Steward, training Wladimir Klitschko for his fight last week with Mariusz Wach in Germany. Meanwhile, he was also training himself. Banks would do his full workout, then go through a workout with Klitschko. And then he’d do it again in the afternoon. Every day. For eight weeks.
Steward’s services were delayed so Banks and the Klitschkos could make it to Detroit after the fight last weekend. The brutal schedule and the emotional impact of Steward’s death seemed to give Banks that kind of once in a lifetime motivation, the focal point where the sum total of everything that’s happened in your life turns an underdog into a dominating upset winner.
It’s the stuff of storybooks and movies; as boxing fans, it is a thrill for us to witness it. Banks channeled it all into a stunning second round knockout of Mitchell at 2:37 of the second round.
Mitchell (25-1-1, 19 KOs) started off well and won the first round. But in round two, Banks (29-1-1, 18 KOs). found an opening for a right hand, and rocked Mitchell as hard as he’s ever been hit. Mitchell eventually went down three times in the space of a little more than a minute thanks to several more rights, and the fight was over. Banks and his team were elated, including his own trainer, Steward’s nephew Javon “Sugar” Hill.
Banks said Steward played a big role in his life, “and fighting is my life.” Banks said Emanuel loves knockouts. “I dedicate this to Emnauel Steward, never forgotten and we are truly going to miss him.”
Despite being considerably smaller than Mitchell, Banks said it didn’t bother him. “I’ve been fighting big guys all my life, I’ve never been scared of them.” Including one that’s several inches taller and weighs 40 pounds more on a daily basis.
In an interview after the fight with BoricuaBoxing.com, Banks said he didn’t think the first right hand hurt Mitchell, until he saw his feet wobbling. Then he knew he needed to do what Chazz Witherspoon didn’t do, keep touching him. t was to finish him off. “He was hurt real bad after the first time, he was hurt even worse the second time. I wanted to really stretch him out. I knew Emanuel would like it, he always liked knockouts.”
“Without him I wouldn’t be here, I wouldn’t have been in Hamburg last week. I’m showing my appreciation by working hard so I can stay… It’s a shout out to every child out there, that dreams do come true.”
After the fight, Mitchell said Banks did exactly what he was supposed to do. Mitchell says he will bounce back from this, look at the tape, learn what he did wrong, go back to the drawing board. “Don’t be sorry for me, be sorry for my next opponent,” he warned.
What’s fascinating is what may lie ahead for Banks. The winner of this fight, originally assumed to be Seth Mitchell, was destined for a fight against Banks’ own fighter, Wladimir Klitchsko. How these circumstances play out is anyone’s guess.
In the main event, Adrien “The Problem” Broner (25-0, 20 KOs) had no problem whatsoever with Antonio DeMarco (28-3-1, 21 KOs), winning by TKO in the eighth round. DeMarco never found a way to do any damage to Broner due to the small target he presents, similar to Floyd Mayweather.
Meanwhile, as he stood in trying to find a way to get to Broner, Broner was getting to DeMarco repeatedly with body shots and wicked upper cuts the taller fighter simply leaned right into. DeMarco needed to take his best shot and move away. He didn’t connect and he didn’t move away either.
As a result DeMarco withstood tremendous punishment. Good fighters need to be able to do this, but they have to offer some offensive tools to make taking that sort of punishment pay off. DeMarco couldn’t do it. After he went down in the ninth round, his own corner threw in the towel and asked that the fight be stopped. The truth is that it should have been stopped several rounds earlier.
“I wanted to shake him, bake him, cook him and eat him,” said Broner after the fight. “I wanted to make a statement that anyone who fights Adrien Broner has stepped in some doo-doo they can’t get off their shoe.” Uh, sure. That’s an exact quote by the way.
After the fight on Twitter, Broner sent this message to Floyd Mayweather: “Big bro we make this look so easy! #Kings”
It’s a shame DeMarco didn’t get the same kind of result as Banks. DeMarco rose from extreme poverty in the streets of Tijuana, Mexico to become a champion. He said he dedicated his fight to everyone who gave him a bowl of soup during the three years he was homeless. The 26-year-old will need to regroup and see where his career might go from here after such a tremendous defeat.
Just over 4,000 fans were in attendance at Boardwalk Hall in Atlantic City, understandable as so many people are still in the midst of recovering from Hurricane Sandy. Still, it was an important symbol of the region’s resilience to stage the fights tonight and let everyone know that Atlantic City, New Jersey is still open for business.
Golden Boy Promotions, Oscar De La Hoya and Caesars Atlantic City combined forces to donate $44,292 to the Boys and Girls Club of Atlantic City, tallied from $2 from each ticket sold and $1,000 for each of the seven knockdowns on the entire card, a total of $14,763 matched by all three participants. Bravo to everyone involved for making it happen.
Gayle Lynn Falkenthal, APR, is President/Owner of the Falcon Valley Group in San Diego, California. She is also a serious boxing fan covering the Sweet Science for Communities. Read more Ringside Seat in the Communities at The Washington Times. Follow Gayle on Facebook and on Twitter @PRProSanDiego.
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Copyright © 2012 by Falcon Valley Group
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