Philip H. Anselmo: The Seth Mitchell Interview

INTERVIEW WITH SETH MITCHELL-

BY PHILIP H. ANSELMO

Philip Anselmo-“Hello Seth! So tell me big guy, you come from a football background eh?”

Seth Mitchell- “Yes sir.”

PA- “What position did you play?”

SM- “Middle linebacker. I definitely plugged those holes.”

PA- “I’m just wondering, because I’m a huge football fan, has playing middle linebacker and fighting for a spot on the roster transpired in your boxing game?”

SM- “Well, I believe for one, playing middle linebacker, you have to be badass to play that position. To take on those 300lb guards and offensive lineman and fill those holes, then you see that fullback coming downhill, you’ve gotta be ready to meet him at the line of scrimmage and put him on his backside. That toughness seems to carry over. Any arena that you’re in, if you’re a top notch, top-level athlete, you wanna excel and have to train hard. You’ve got to believe in yourself. But there are things that don’t translate or carry over from football, because, you can’t really be taught to take a punch. The only thing I really see that carries over for me, is my ability to take instructions from my corner. I go in there and fight, then come back to the corner, and my trainer gives me instructions and then I have to go out and implement it. That’s what carries over.

“Because in football, you can go over a certain game plan all week long, but come Saturday, the team you’re playing does something completely opposite from what we’re expecting. So you go back to the sideline, and the coach will say, ‘Forget everything you learned this week, this is what they’re doing now’, so you have to be able to go out there and carry over, so taking instructions is probably the one thing that has helped me in boxing.’

“The other thing is cutting off the ring. I believe that I cut off the ring very well. And playing middle linebacker, you have to scrape, and get off blocks, and read the path of the running backs, so it definitely helps in this aspect with boxing.”

PA- “Well man, I’m a Saints fan. What’s your take on all these “bounty” allegations the league has railroaded my team with this offseason, especially our middle linebacker Jonathan Vilma?”

SM- “Man, that stuff goes around all over the league, it’s just, they want to make an example out of somebody I guess.”

Seth Mitchell (r). Photo: Tom Hogan – Hoganphotos/Golden Boy Promotions

PA- “Well, I’ve got my theories as well, but lets get back down to boxing. The heavyweight division today is ruled by the Klitschko brothers. And I look at you as a prospect, and realize that every prospect has to fight journeymen on their way up the ladder. But in my opinion, you have done something that is very unique. You have fought increasingly tough opposition. Who was your toughest test so far?”

SM- “Well to date, Chazz Witherspoon was the only fight where I really got hurt. But honestly, Zach Page was my toughest fight. He was very awkward. He’d come out conventional, then switch to a southpaw stance. He had great legs, in and out movement, he would pot-shot you, and he was only about 202lbs, but he was a strong 202lbs. That fight was a learning curve in my career. This was a fight where I learned about my jab. I always felt I had a good jab. But in the Page fight I had it two rounds for me, two rounds for him in my head after the fourth round. So I just went out there and fought behind my jab. He really made me switch out my game plan and afterwards, he came in the dressing room and told me, ‘You won the fight with your jab’. He couldn’t get away from my jab and I used it as a measuring stick.”

PA- “Great answer. It seems like you are a “thinking’ fighter, am I correct?”

SM- “Absolutely.”

PA- “You brought up the Chazz Witherspoon fight. I’m not gonna lie to you, it was clear you were in trouble in the first round, but 2-rounds later you knocked him out, and that took heart. Is boxing an insane passion for you?

SM- “To be honest, and when I tell people this they look at me like I’m crazy, but truth is, (boxing) is not an insane passion, I just love competing. I love the strategy you have to implore. I love breaking my body down, I love the aspect of competing. And the one-on-one aspect is just a whole new, different feeling. I’m used to playing a team sport. I wouldn’t say that I live and love boxing; I just love competing. I don’t disrespect the sport at all. I train extremely hard, and I don’t think I can’t be beat, but I’m an athlete, and a competitive person, and I thrive on that. I don’t like to lose at anything. Competing is my gift, and that’s what God has blessed me with. I tell people I have the intangibles that you can’t see- that will and determination NOT to lose. I believe that I embody that.”

PA- “What’s your whole take on Oscar de la Hoya and Golden Boy promotions latching onto you and with it, having your fights be shown in prime time slots on HBO? Do you feel a certain extra pressure there to perform?”

SM- “I really don’t feel any pressure. And this is something else people trip on and look at me with wide eyes over. I believe in myself. And when I decided that I was gonna box, I didn’t even put myself in the realm of (other) football players-turned-boxers. They failed. I personally never have thought like that. I believe in myself and I believe that I would have great success in this sport. The only thing that surprised me thus far in my career is how quickly I got signed with Golden Boy. Y’know basically starting out when I was almost 25-years old, only having 10-ametuer fights and went 9-1, with 9 KO’s, and then my first pro fight I was signed with Golden Boy. It surprised me. But I believed in myself and knew I had the ability and was gonna work my ass off and I knew I was just a humble cat by nature. I don’t think that I’m invincible, so when you blend all those things together, I felt I had a pretty good chance of being successful. So
I’m just gonna ride it till the wheels come off and give it my all.”

PA- “There’s one name on your record of victims that sticks out to me, and that’s Timur Ibragimov. Not many folks know much about him outside hardcore boxing insiders. My take was that Ibragimov was no pushover, and a lot of my boxing buddies thought that the fight would be a stern test for you. What was your mindset going into this fight?”

SM- “I was very confident. That was my first time fighting in like five months so I was itching. I had a great training camp, and I knew Ibragimov was going to be one of my toughest tests, but styles make fights. I knew he was more of a laid-back counter puncher-type guy. He wasn’t going to apply a lot of pressure or throw a lot of punches. He knew how to fight though. He had a pretty good jab. He actually changed his jab to more of a pawing jab against me, then he started pumping his jab and he caught me a few times. But I felt very confident, I definitely expected to win. I didn’t expect to knock him out in the second round to tell the truth, I expected to wear him down in about round six or seven, then get him out of there in the eighth. But sometimes all cylinders are clicking, and that’s how I felt coming into the fight. So I was very confident that I would go in there and cross all my T’s and dot all my I’s. Actually, after the first round, I was like, ‘Ok’, then fortunately I caught him with a good left hook which started his downfall.”

PA- “You brought up your left hook. Is that your favorite “Goodnight Dick” punch? And if not, what is?”

SM- “The punch that comes naturally for me, where I don’t even have to think is probably my overhand right… a chopping right hand. But in the amateurs I used to knock people cold with my left hook. In time I kinda got away from it, don’t ask me why, but in the pros, I started to stop people with my overhand right, or my looping right. But then again, my last two fights I stopped Timur with a barrage of right hands, and with Witherspoon, I dropped him in the third round with a left hook, and then I finished him off with right hands.”

PA- “The heavyweights today are dominated by big, tall guys that can actually fight. What would be your strategy to beat one of these cats, whether it’s the Klitschkos, Tyson Fury, Robert Helenius or David Price?”

SM- “I preface my comment or my statement with this: everybody knows how they should fight the Klitschkos, or what’s the best way of beating them, but kudos to them (The Klitschkos), for not allowing their opponents to pull it off once they get in the ring with them. But if I were in there, I would not reach. You can’t reach. You gotta take a lot of short steps with your jab just so you’re in the right position. And then I’d have to get on the inside. You gotta have push and you gotta have good head movement. You can’t just walk straight in. And when you get on the inside, you have to work. You know you’re only going to get a few seconds, maybe two-seconds to do some work, because you know the Klitschkos don’t fight on the inside.

“They’re gonna grab you and put their weight on you. You gotta act like they don’t even have a head, then attack their body. You gotta make it an ugly fight. You gotta go into the fight knowing you’re going to come out of there with two swollen eyes. You know you’re gonna get hit, so you might as well hit them because you will get hit yourself. You gotta be nasty. You gotta bring that dog out. You’ve gotta be in tip-top shape, and who knows, if I’m fortunate enough to get the opportunity to fight one of them, that would be my game plan. No fear whatsoever. You gotta be smart though, but you gotta be ready to go hard for fifteen rounds. Unless you’re 6-5”, then you can go man-to-man, skill-for-skill, jab-for-jab, but at 6-2”, I’m not going to be able to do that, so I know I’d have to get on the inside. I have to find a way to do that.’

“Look at David Haye. He’s a great fighter, I like him. But going against the Klitschkos (Wladimir), weighing 215 pounds ain’t gonna cut it. In my opinion, he was too small weight-wise and height-wise to stay on the outside and try and box. I’m a true heavyweight. Right now, I’m 253 pounds, and I fight in the low forties. I was 198 pounds when I was 15-years old going into high school. I was 230 pounds when I graduated, and weighed in at 238 ½ when I was a freshman linebacker in college, so I’m a true, solid, in-shape heavyweight. So with me having this size and this girth, I could get on the inside. It won’t be a disadvantage for me on the inside.”

PA- “Damn! 253lbs! You are a true heavyweight! And size-wise, a natural middle linebacker.”

SM- “I ponder, ‘why boxing over football’… football is tough! Not everybody is gonna be able to get out there and play, but it’s a totally different beast when you step into that ring, and I don’t know what it is, but you’ve got to be mentally tougher, maybe it’s that ‘alone in there’ factor. It’s tough man.”

PA- “Well man, you definitely come off as very humble young brother. What do you think of trash talking in boxing?”

SM- “It’s not my style. But I know guys do it, but in my opinion some guys are transparent. You can see right through them. It’s really not them. They’re like frightened, or they’re thinking. Those are the ones that really bother me. But to each his own. I don’t do it. I think you should take the more humble approach. But for people that do it, that’s their style. They have a right to do whatever they do, but it’s just not my cup of tea. If they do it to keep motivated, or try to get under somebody’s skin, once again, to each his own.”

PA- “Maybe this is something you won’t know until you’re there, but if you had a cat like David Haye or Dereck Chisora talking trash to your face, how would you remain composed?”

SM- “Well, the slapping or spitting water in people’s faces (Chisora’s antics vs. Vital and Wlad Klitschko), I don’t get down with that. That is a whole different ballgame. But a boxer can say what he wants to say. I won’t sit up there and be a mute, but I will not compromise my character just because my opponent is acting like an ass. I’ll let you know, since you’re talking all the trash, that you’ll have to back it up. When we get in that ring it’s a whole different game. But you will know, that there is no fear from me, all you’re doing is talking. Bottom line is, come fight night, you’re gonna have to see me. Did you see the thing on YouTube when Kevin Johnson approached me?”

PA- “Yes I did.”

SM- “I just let him say what he had to say and I just told him, ‘You know I’ll bust your ass!’ that’s all. You know, he could keep talking, and it is what it is, but I don’t fall for it. I am very confident and I have a way of NOT being a cocky dude. It only takes one punch in the heavyweights. I almost got stopped in the first round against Chazz Witherspoon! So I just stay grounded. When somebody fights me, they know they’re in a fight. I’m gonna come into the fight in shape, and I’m coming ready to fight. I have the talent to do it and win. That’s just how I feel.”

PA- “I’m gonna run some names past you Seth, and get your take on them. Just tell me the first thing that comes to mind when I say their names… like
Deontay Wilder…”

SM- “Me and Deontay are cool…I think he’s got a lot of talent. A lot of people give him a hard time, but one thing you can’t deny is his athletic ability. With a couple more fights under his belt, I think he could be a good heavyweight. He’s got height and he definitely has power. So I think people are being a little too harsh on him right now. Myself included, we are both still learning on the job. But I like him, and he has that ‘eraser’… that one-punch knock out power.”

PA- “Have you seen Oscar Rivas?”

SM- “I’ve never seen him or heard of him.”

PA- “How ‘bout Jason Estrada?”

SM- “I’ve seen him work a little before with Tony Thompson. He’s real slick, definitely can fight, and has a slick overhand right man. He’s a decent fighter.”

PA- “Have you seen the prospect from England, David Price?”

SM- “I’ve seen one or two of his fights on YouTube, I’ve never watched him live, but I’m definitely impressed with him. He kinda fights like Wladimir (Klitschko).”

PA- “I agree 100%, and re-bringing up Wlad and the Klitschko reign, as well as these taller guys like Price and Fury, would you say they are the best skilled fighters out there right now? Because eventually it would seem like you’re gonna have to meet one of these guys.”

SM- “Well of course I think they are. Honestly, I would say, outside of the Klitschkos, I can hang with any fighter out there. I’d put myself in that group of guys that are possibly the future of the division. And if I ever got the opportunity to fight one of them, I’d do my very best to come out of there with a victory.”

PA-“Thanks for your time Seth, and good luck young brother.”

SM- “Ok, be cool.”

Seth Mitchell (25-0-1, 19 KO’s) is scheduled to face Jonathan Banks 28-1-1, 18 KO’s) on September 9th.

Be cool all!

PA

– Philip H. Anselmo is the singer and song writer for multiple Heavy Metal acts (Pantera/Down/SJR/Arson Anthem) and the new Down EP will be out this Fall 2012. And watch for Philip’s solo record, “Philip H. Anselmo: ‘Walk Through Exits Only’, out later this year, or early next. Also keep up with Anselmo’s record label, housecore records at thehousecorerecords.com.

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