By John J. Raspanti, Doghouse Boxing: "The greats learned from their losses.”
On April 28 in Atlantic City, New Jersey, Chazz “The Gentlemen”
Witherspoon (30-2, 22 KOs) will meet Seth “Mayhem” Mitchell (24-0, 18
KOs) in the biggest fight of his eight-year career. Witherspoon feels
he's ready to tangle with heavy-handed Mitchell, whose stock rose
mightily after a 2nd round blowout of European heavyweight Timur
“I’m fighting a guy that they believe is the next best
thing in the heavyweight division,“ said Witherspoon from his training
camp in Hayward, California. “I believe people have put my career out to
pasture. It’s funny that boxing does that. It’s the only sport where
one or two losses and your career is over,"he said. "The greats learned
from their losses."
Witherspoon feels his own two losses, though painful, helped his career.
“Definitely, you always have to reflect on a loss and learn from it,” said Witherspoon.
In 2008 Witherspoon lost for the first time against heavyweight contender Chris Arreola.
the end of the day the Arreola fight was something that I took to
early,” Witherspoon said. “When I got in there with Arreola, he pulled
me into his fight, he hits hard and I had never been hurt in a fight."
didn’t know how to react from that," said Witherspoon. "They say when
you get hit its either flight or fight. Well, the fighter comes out in
me and I started fighting that much harder.”
Witherspoon’s other loss was to number-one ranked Tony Thompson. The 6'3 battler suffered a concussion early in the fight.
“I’m willing to die in there," he said. "It’s my pride. It wasn’t smart but it is what it is."
Philadelphia bred and born Witherspoon comes from good stock. His uncle
is former heavyweight champion Tim Witherspoon. A few months ago,
Witherspoon signed on with Jawbreaker Promotions. Another former
heavyweight champion, Ken Norton, along with Steve Russa, run
Jawbreaker. Norton suggested bringing Virgil Hunter on board to train
“We talked about taking this fight.
Virgil’s name came up from Kenny Norton,” said Witherspoon. “I told my
trainers back in Philadelphia that I wanted to bring in Virgil and they
were gracious enough to be cool with that. They told me they just want
me to be successful.”
“Things are going real well," said Hunter,
who has been working with Witherspoon for two weeks. "Chazz is
intelligent. He doesn’t leave it in the gym, “ said the veteran trainer
whom Witherspoon compares to a professor. “He takes what he learns with
and analyzes it," Hunter said. "It’s a pleasure working with him because
everything makes sense."
"This has been easiest transition I’ve ever had since I’ve been training fighters.”
But the intensity of training has Witherspoon, a father of four young boys, missing his family.
is the first time I’ve had a real camp,” Witherspoon said. “I’m able to
concentrate on boxing and only boxing. This is whole different level of
With four weeks to go until his showdown with Mitchell,
Witherspoon already looks sharp. The 30-year-old has nothing but praise
for his opponent.
“It’s obvious that he (Mitchell) is strong.
Ibraginov had never been stopped," said Witherspoon the student. “You
can see that Seth is tenacious in there. He has some real good
attributes for someone who doesn’t have a lot of experience. With a guy
like him, I expect the fight to start real fast," he said. "He comes to
fight and I come to fight."
It’s refreshing that neither heavyweight has a propensity for braggadocio. They let their punches do their talking.
“Seth is not boastful and neither I am. There’s no bad guy in this fight," Witherspoon said.
"I don’t think people should go to the bathroom for this one."
Chazz Witherspoon versus Seth Mitchell contest will be televised on
HBO's Championship Boxing. The headline bout April 28 is the rematch
between light heavyweight champion Bernard Hopkins and Chad Dawson.
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