By: William Holmes
Saturday’s Golden Boy Promotions card from Brooklyn, NY marks the end of a terrific stretch of spring/early summer boxing and it marks the beginning of a two-month stretch of less than compelling fights. Brooklyn was going to host a Hopkins fight in early July but that card’s cancellation leaves Brooklyn with only one major card this summer.
But, Saturday’s card is a very good one that will have major implications in the welterweight and heavyweight divisions.
Paulie Malignaggi will defend his WBA Welterweight title against Adrien Broner in the main event, and Johnathon Banks will face Seth Mitchell in a rematch of their previous bout.
The following is a preview of both televised bouts:
Johnathon Banks (29-1-1) vs. Seth Mitchell (25-1-1); Heavyweights
It wasn’t too long ago that many considered Seth Mitchell to be the next big thing for American Heavyweight boxers. He was raw, athletic, and powerful. He was on the short list as a possible future opponent for Wladimir Klitschko.
However those plans were derailed when he faced Klitschko’s new trainer since the passing of Emmanuel Steard, Johnathan Banks, in 2012 in Atlantic City. Banks knocked him down three times and Mitchell was defeated by a 2nd round TKO.
It was a humbling experience for Mitchell and his ability to bounce back from that defeat will be a good indication of his true potential in the heavyweight division.
Prior to competing in boxing Seth Mitchell was a standout linebacker for Michigan State University. A knee injury halted Mitchell’s football career and he decided to pick up boxing. He had a brief, but successful, amateur career. Mitchell has nineteen stoppages and has considerable power, but he has been carefully matched with inferior opponents for most of his career.
His only impressive victories were against Chazz Witherspoon and Timur Ibragimov. Other than that his record is filled with sub par and past their prime opponents.
Banks has the same amount of stoppages as Mitchell but he’ll the mental edge since he easily defeated Mitchell in their last bout. Banks is slightly younger than Mitchell and he has the same amount of stoppage victories but he has considerable more amateur experience.
Banks was a three time National Amateur Champion and one of Emmanuel Steward’s top protégé. If Wladimir Klitschko is willing to let Banks become his head trainer you know Banks is a technically sound boxer.
Banks has defeated the likes of Seth Mitchell, Travis Walker, and Javier Mora. His lone loss came in 2009 to Tomasz Adamek in a close bout until Adamek ended it in the eighth round.
Banks shocked the boxing world in 2012 with his upset victory over Mitchell but it wouldn’t be so shocking if he beat him on Saturday. Neither Mitchell or Banks has stepped inside the ring since their first encounter and it’s highly unlikely that Mitchell has improved enough to beat Banks.
Paulie Malignaggi (32-4) vs. Adrien Broner (26-0); WBA Welterweight Championship
Paulie Malignaggi is an excellent commentator for Showtime and one of the most entertaining prizefighters outside of the ring. He’s fought many of the best in the junior welterweight and welterweight divisions and has a large fan base in Brooklyn, NY.
Unfortunately for the “Magic Man”, there is a very slim chance of him winning on Saturday.
Malignaggi will have a slight height advantage and will be the slightly bigger man inside the ring. He’s the former IBF Light Welterweight Champion and he is the current WBA Welterweight Champion. He’s not known for his power. He’s only stopped seven of his opponents and only two of his last ten fights were stoppage victories.
Malignaggi however has tested himself against some of the best competition available since 2007. He’s defeated the likes of Edner Cherry, Lovemore N’Dou, Herman Ngoudjo, Juan Diaz, Vyacheslav Senchenko, and Pablo Cesar Cano.
His victory over Senchenko was his most impressive victory to date. He beat Senchenko on his home turn and won the WBA belt and earned himself this payday against Adrien Broner.
But, Malignaggi has been used as a stepping stone by some of boxing’s most talented fighters. His losses were to Amir Khan, Juan Diaz (a loss in which he later got revenge), Ricky Hatton, and Miguel Cotto.
Broner is likely looking at Malignaggi as a stepping stone.
Broner is jumping up two weight divisions to face Malignaggi and won’t be giving up that much in height and reach. He has considerably younger and a stronger puncher than Malignaggi. Twenty two of his victories have come by way of stoppage.
Broner calls Floyd Mayweather Jr. his pseudo “big brother”, but he doesn’t have the defensive skills of Mayweather. He’s never tasted defeat but was hit more than expected by opponents such as Gavin Rees and Daniel Ponce De Leon.
Malignaggi has mocked Broner for beating up scrubs and so called “midgets”. Broner has been matched up carefully by his management but he has beaten some quality fighters.
He stopped the diminutive Gavin Rees in the fifth round, made it look easy against Antonio DeMarco, blitzed Jason Litzau in one round, and won a hard fought match against Daniel Ponce De Leon.
Broner however has yet to face a premier junior welterweight or a premier welterweight. Malignaggi is a good fighter, but he’s clearly the lesser thought of champion amongst the current welterweight champions.
If Broner was facing any other welterweight he would have to be concerned about the extra weight and power that welterweight would bring inside the ring. However, Broner is facing Paulie Malignaggi, a fighter often mocked (unjustly) for having “pillow” hands.
Broner should win on Saturday, and who he fights next will be an intriguing question.