Well, it wasn't pretty, but former Spartan LB Seth Mitchell got the job done Saturday night at the Barclay's Center in his heavyweight bout against Jonathon Banks.
Banks knocked Mitchell out last November in the second round, giving Mitchell his only pro loss, which he avenged Saturday. He also did it against the backdrop of his wife suffering a stillbirth with their third child just two weeks ago. Anyone who keeps his head on straight so soon after a loss like that gets a tip of the cap, in my book.
This time around the fireworks again went off early, as Mitchell knocked down Banks in the second and Banks knocked Mitchell down in the third. Banks took it to Mayhem and it looked like he might crumple, but Mitchell stayed on his feet for a shaky few rounds before taking command of the fight in the sixth with clean, precise combinations before dancing away from Banks. Not a hell of a lot happened the rest of the fight outside of that script, with Mitchell winning a unanimous decision after going 12.
While I wasn't entertained, I was pretty proud of Mayhem for shaking off what looked like the beginning stages of a knockout and battling through to fight a technically sound, if unexciting fight. His legs buckled early and he leaned on Banks to get through, but showed a lot of grit in figuring out how to win a fight without knocking someone's head off. Two losses to a guy like Banks would have forever sentenced Mayhem to stepping-stone status, and this win keeps him in the hunt for a Klitschko before this is said and done. He'll probably need to fight someone within the top 10 of the heavyweight rankings to get his shot, and really has a lot of defense to work on as his chin appeared pretty weak this weekend. That being said, I think his promoters at Golden Boy see a potential for a big payday with an American heavyweight who already brings in somewhat of a fanbase (Spartan fans. Showtime literally could not tell the "Seth Mitchell used to play for MSU" story enough Saturday night) and could foreseeably be pretty damn marketable.