I got caught. I am very disappointed. I was confident in my ability to win this fight. My heart just hurts right now. This was a big fight for both of us, a fight that I wanted. I didn’t want to step back after beating Jonathan Banks. – Seth Mitchell
Photo Credits: Esther Lin/Showtime
INDIO CA — Seth Mitchell, and fans for that matter, wanted a definitive answer on where he stood in the heavyweight landscape. The answer came in the form of a brash, well-prepared Chris Arreola, who delivered a brutal reality check just 2:25 seconds into round one. The undercard featured a sad end to a Mexican Hall of Famer. All in all, nothing that happened last night was unexpected, but it was still an entertaining night of fights. Let’s get right to the highlights.
OVER FROM THE FIRST SOLID PUNCH: You could argue that Mitchell-Arreola was over from the minute the contract was signed. After shrugging off some solid right hands and left hooks from Mitchell, Arreola knocked the heavyweight prospect into the ropes with a glancing left hook, and then began his opponent’s downfall with the first solid punch he landed, a straight right.
The shot was a counter off Mitchell’s jab, and the former foootball standout grabbed immediately and found himself tossed across the ring by Arreola. The roughhousing and tumble actually gave Mitchell some time to recover, but he was right back in the Land of Make-Believe courtesy of Arreola’s left hook. This time, Mitchell attempts to hold were pushed off and he soon toppled to the floor after a cluster of right hands.
Referee Jack Reiss asked Mitchell about five questions about his ability continue, giving Mitchell an undeserved total of around 17 seconds. It didn’t matter any, as Arreola went right back to business with several more jab-straight right combos on the outside, and rocking Mitchell with short hooks when he tried to hold inside.
The last two rights activated Mitchell’s “fight or flight” instincts, and he turned away from the beating as he careened into the ropes, giving Reiss no choice but to call it off as Mitchell clearly could not defend himself.
A WEAK CHIN IS JUST ONE OF THE PROBLEMS: The Chazz Witherspoon and Johnathon Banks fights let us know that Mitchell was not George Chuvalo when it came to punch resistance. However, that wasn’t the sole reason Arreola bulldozed him. Mitchell showcased a pawing jab that any capable heavyweight would exploit. His head and overall movement was bad, letting Arreola essentially hit him with the same right hand over and over. As Paulie Malignaggi pointed out, Mitchell was standing straight up and making Arreola’s job much easier.
What we saw last night was a Grand canyon-like gulf in class and durability. Make no mistake — Mitchell got in some of his best punches, including a hard jab-straight right to start the fight, and also a left hook before Arreola decided to turn him into a 242 pound, human Pinata.
TIME TO FIND ANOTHER PROFESSION?: With both Mitchell and Arreola being managed by Al Haymon, this was seen as a “cash-out” fight, with both men having to produce or be banished to the fringes of contention for the foreseeable future. Arreola has been there before, having to fight off TV and on lowly ESPN card to get back to relevancy. He obviously did not want to go back there based on his performance last night.
Does Mitchell have it in him to start from the bottom? One of my boxing peers had no mercy on her Twitter last night in evaluating what Mitchell should be doing.
Man go back to football.. They have flag football leagues #Mitchell lol
— Aby D (@AbyDauz) September 8, 2013
Very harsh, but it raises a valid point. Is Mitchell’s heart truly in boxing? His management made a point in his HBO “2 Days” special that Mitchell viewed the sport as a “means to an end” rather than a passion. The “means” is the financial benefit from big fights, and Mitchell got bigger opportunities faster that most heavys because of marketability.
Now that’s pretty much evaporated. Will Mitchell be willing to take low pay off TV and on smaller ESPN shows to get better? Does he still have the confidence to do that after being so throughly outclassed by a fighter in Arreola who’s underachieved for most of his career?
You never want to count out the human spirit, but I would not be surprised if this is the last time we’ve seen Seth Mitchell in the ring.
ARREOLA VS. WILDER OR STIVERNE REMATCH: These are the next logical fights for Arreola, as he said himself in the post-fight interview. He wants the Stiverne rematch, but in terms of excitement, I believe Golden BOy and Chris’ promoter Goossen Tutor will move ahead with the Wilder fight. Deontay is in dire need of a real test and someone who can take his power. Arreola is that man in spades.
ESQUIVIAS TKO9 MARQUEZ: Rafael Marquez had what was likely his final stand in the ring last night after taking a battering from Efrain Esquivias. Marquez’s vicious combinations were a shadow of its former glory, with the former champion being reduced to sporadic hard rights when Esquivias lingered in front of him too long. Youth took over as the rounds went on. Esquivias stayed consistent while Marquez got weaker and weaker following every exchange.
Equivias’ straight right and pull-counter couldn’t miss all night. In the early rounds, it stunned Marquez. In the middle rounds, it buckled his legs. By the late rounds, nothing was left. It was a straight right that put Marquez down and the referee thankfully called off the carnage.
Seeing a former great champ get decimated is never fun, but in this case it was for the better. Had Marquez won, he would be competing as a featherweight. Golden Boy’s top fighters in that weight class are Abner Mares, Leo Santa Cruz, Jhonny Gonzalez and Gary Russell. It would be criminal to see Marquez in there with any of them.
Make sure to check back here next week with full fight wek coverage of the Mayweather-Canelo matchup live from Las Vegas.