Among American heavyweights Seth Mitchell and Johnathon Banks occupy opposite ends of the scale. The undefeated Mitchell, a onetime football player, brings linebacker aggressiveness and sack-master impact to his game, elements that rate him arguably the most exciting big man in the sport. Conversely Banks is careful, calculating and cautious, throwing precious few punches and lulling everyone to sleep, including stadium crowds who are there to see the Klitschkos perform.
Will Mitchell wake up the echoes of Arturo Gatti at Boardwalk Hall -- known as "The House That Gatti Built" -- or will Banks sing him a lullaby before putting him to sleep? Their CompuBox histories offer these clues:
Pure Mayhem: The average heavyweight throws a little less than 46 punches per round but in his last three fights against Chazz Witherspoon, Timur Ibragimov and Hector Ferreyro -- all knockout wins -- Mitchell unleashed 68.3, 65 and 79.7 punches per round respectively. More importantly for the powerful Mitchell, his power punching was on target as he landed 43.9%, 42.3% and 64% in those fights. If Mitchell imposes his pace on the sleepy Banks, it should be a short and painful night.
That's because against opponents who throw far fewer punches, his devastation quotient rises exponentially. Against Ibragimov, who threw 29.5 punches per round, Mitchell out-landed his opponent 44-23 overall, 14-9 jabs and 30-14 in power shots while against Ferreyro, who threw 27.9 per round, he amassed connect advantages of 116-23 (total), 44-9 (jabs) and 72-14 (power) in a little less than three rounds.
The King of Pain -- For the Fans: As a heavyweight, the skills that were so evident in his cruiserweight challenge of Tomasz Adamek in February 2009 were entombed in extra weight as well as phlegmatic attitude. In victories over Nicolai Firtha and Saul Montana as well as a dreary draw against journeyman Jason Gavern, he barely demonstrated a pulse. He averaged 32.8 punches per round against Firtha, 34.5 versus Montana and just 21.8 against Gavern and he was out-landed 70-61 -- over 12 rounds -- by the latter, meaning that Gavern averaged a little less than six connects per round while Banks averaged a little more than five.
The good news for Banks is that his three foes opted to match his sloth-like pace. Firtha threw 31.3, Montana 25.9 and Gavern 29.7. Banks also doesn't fight like the typical heavyweight in that he throws more jabs than power punches (222 vs. 172 against Firtha, 237 vs. 177 against Montana and 154 vs. 107 against Gavern). Can Banks possibly force
Mitchell into a slow-down game or will Mitchell drag Banks into a game of fast-break boxing?
Prediction: As previously mentioned, Mitchell brings a football mentality for boxing and thus his fast motor will force Banks to fight faster than he wants. Banks doesn't pose the same knockout threat that Chazz Witherspoon -- himself a modest puncher -- did, so don't expect Mitchell's chin to be an issue.
The death of Emanuel Steward may pose a wild card, however. Banks was very close to the "Wizard of Kronk" and his passing could serve as inspiration. The flip side is that Banks could be distracted, especially he just served as chief second for Wladimir Klitschko for his fight against Mariusz Wach.
The guess here is that a sleeping leopard won't change his spots. Mitchell by TKO.