Home Boxing News Kevin Mitchell, and why he is destined to rule the world!

Kevin Mitchell, and why he is destined to rule the world!

‘Are you watching David Haye? Because that is what this sport is all about. Two gladiators in the ring, giving it their all with no excuses from either man. What a performance from Kevin Mitchell.’ Colin Hart’s words were directed to the audience at home, but everyone in the Liverpool Echo Arena could hear them. Fans at ringside had witnessed a boxing master class from the Dagenham born boxer. Destroyed in three rounds by the heavy handed Michael Katsidis at the home of his beloved West Ham United, the former undefeated British Super Featherweight and Lightweight champion had plunged into the grip of alcohol and depression, a spiral which had lasted a little over a year. Excuses laid to one side, everyone had seemingly turned their back on the fallen man. Even his promoter Frank Warren, the very man Mitchell credited for saving his life, had signed Britain’s new premium Lightweight Champion to replace him. There was no doubting Kevin Mitchell’s boxing talent, what both fans and experts doubted, however, was his boxing hunger.

But on the 16th July, ‘Mighty’ Mitchell emphatically answered those questions with a superb KO victory against John Murray. Any fear of ring rust was laid to rest as the first round started at a blistering pace, with Mitchell stinging the undefeated Murray with his laser like left hand. As Murray plodded forward, Mitchell boxed well, keeping his man at bay, working the body in the process. 10-9 Mitchell, but could he keep up the pace? The second stanza seemed to answer that question. Midway through the round, Mitchell was caught by a right hook which seemed to shake him to his boots. The Scottish voice of Jim Watt could be heard screaming that the East Ender was badly hurt as Mitchell tried desperately to hold on. Half a minute later he was hit hard again, the same right hook crashing onto Mitchell’s chin. But this time Kevin took it well, even managing a wry smile and a wink to Jim Tibbs in the corner. Rounds 3, 4 and 5 saw Mitchell backing up on the ropes, expertly dodging and weaving Murray’s vicious onslaught, whilst landing his own precise body shots and uppercuts with both hands. As Murray came forward, Mitchell darted out, reddening the Manchester fighter’s face with straight lefts and rights. These rounds were close, but the classier work was coming from Mitchell.

The 6th round proved decisive. Murray continued to come forward, but his work rate had dropped considerably. Mitchell continued with his box and weave tactics, but his uppercuts and straight rights had caused cuts and swelling to both of the Manchurian’s eyes. By the 7th, Murray could hardly see the shots coming, and was caught hard by a textbook left uppercut-left hook combination which badly hurt the undefeated man. Mitchell moved in for the kill only to be halted by the bell. It was clear, however, the fight was all but over. With Joe Gallagher desperately trying to buy his man more time in the corner by removing his gum shield at the start of the 8th, Mitchell raced into the centre of the ring with his arms aloft. Within a minute of the round, Mitchell caught Murray coming in with a superb left hook which put Murray down for the first time in his career. Murray rose on the count of six with wobbly legs, and one more sustained assault, which saw Mitchell land yet more uppercuts land on Murray’s bloodied face, prompted Richard Davies to stop the action. Colin Hart was right, Kevin Mitchell was back.

As soon as the fight was over, questions inevitably turned to future opponents. With the win, Ring Magazine ranked Mitchell as high as 5th, behind the formidable Juan Manuel Marquez, the equally formidable ‘Bam Bam’ Brandon Rios, and world class operators Humberto Soto, Robert Guerrero, and Katsidis. One thing that was clear, while the Murray win was a great comeback victory, he should certainly think twice before tackling these names in the near future. But if we dig a little deeper, we see that the Lightweight division isn’t as stacked as it seems. Marquez, while a world class pound for pound fighter, doesn’t have too much more to give. With a fight scheduled for November with the Pilipino dynamo Manny Pacquiao, I expect Marquez to have one farewell fight in his beloved Mexico before calling time on his illustrious career. Then we have Guerrero and Soto. We already know that both men plan on moving up to win weight for their next fight, with the American looking to re-schedule his fight with Marcos Maidana when he comes back from injury. Rios, probably the most feared man at 135 after his three round annihilation of Urbando Antillon, has also struggled to make weight in the past, and has openly suggested he wanted to take on Britain’s Amir Khan in the near future. Katsidis, the only man to date to defeat Mitchell, has suffered back to back one sided losses, first a knock out defeat to the hands of Marquez, followed by a one sided points loss after a sustained beating from the aforementioned Guerrero. It still remains unclear just how much these defeats have taken out of the Australian banger both mentally and physically. Is he the same man that destroyed Mitchell last year?

Suddenly, the stacked Lightweight division isn’t so formidable. Fringe world level operators, such as Miguel Acsota, Miguel Vazquez and Antonio DeMarco, while good boxers, have all been beaten in the past. Mitchell, with his power, speed, movement and defence, could well cause these trouble if he is given time to develop under the guidance of Jim and Mark Tibbs. The important thing in regard to Mitchell is timing. Kevin, at only 26 years of age, has his best days ahead of him. He has come a long way since he was taken into the trenches by Carl Johanneson, and under the guidance of Tibbs he will only get better. He showed in the Breidis Prescott fight he can follow instructions and be a disciplined boxer, and he went on to prove he has power at lightweight by knocking out Murray.

His performance against a very good, if somewhat limited Murray, proved he can still mix it with the best in the division. More so, it proved to us fans, as well as to himself and to his promotor, that the demons of the Katsidis fight have been laid to rest. Suddenly, a world title doesn’t seem so far off. So long as he isn’t rushed by Frank Warren. With Ricky Burns stepping up to the 135lbs division, a domestic dust up looks a mouth watering possibility.

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