Bob Arum said Julio Cesar Chavez could fight Brian Vera next, and eventually, Andre Ward.
Q&A Banks: 'My life has definitely changed'
Heavyweight standout Johnathon Banks on his rematch with Seth Mitchell: "Just because I was the underdog before doesn't mean that I'm not the underdog now."
The life of heavyweight Johnathon Banks has changed dramatically in the wake of last month's HBO-televised upset second-round knockout over previously undefeated Seth "Mayhem" Mitchell in Atlantic City, which Banks executed just a week after having worked the corner of RING, IBF WBA and WBO heavyweight champion Wladimir Klitschko for his unanimous-decision victory over Mariusz Wach in Hamburg, Germany.
Banks' acheivements culminated an emotional couple of weeks marked by the October death of training mentor Emanuel "Manny" Steward, a Hall of Famer who charged Banks with handling Klitschko after having guided Klitschko through a 16-fight winning streak.
A Detroit-based fighter who first met Steward at the city's famous Kronk Gym when he was 15, Banks attended Steward's funeral four days prior to facing Mitchell, who was coming off his ninth and 10th consecutive knockout victories over Timur Ibragimov and Chazz Witherspoon in December of last year and April, respectively.
Banks (29-1-1, 19 knockouts) scored three knockdowns in the final round against Mitchell (25-1-1, 19 KOs), ending a winning streak that had covered 23 consecutive bouts and which had included stoppage wins.
In this Q&A with RingTV.com, Banks, 30, shared about his relationship with Steward, his career-defining victory over Mitchell and their rematch that is scheduled for Feb. 16, yet again, at Atlantic City's Boardwalk Hall.
RingTV.com: How has life changed for you in Detroit?
RingTV.com: So was he right?
JB: Yeah, he was right. My life has definitely changed. But I had a lot of heart break as well, because I just buried an extremely close cousin of mine this past Saturday.
RingTV.com: What sort of demands have been made on your time?
They're paying more attention because the majority of them have seen the fight. So since they've seen the fight, that's what I've been doing. I just did a television show yesterday.
A lot of people were shocked that I was working on Christmas day. But any message that I can get out to the children, then I'll do it.
The guy that I was on the show with, he's a local from Detroit, he said that he's never received that large of a call volume.
RingTV.com: Do you believe that it's your life experiences that people are responding to?
RingTV.com: Can you talk about your family and your life, growing up?
RingTV.com: Will you continue to be the perceived underdog entering the rematch?
RingTV.com: What do you mean?
So that's what they're coming to do. They're coming to try to capitalize on something that they didn't do the first time.
So a rematch is actually more dangerous than the first fight, because they fight has already happened and it's been said and done.
This is boxing. Boxing is what I do, and boxing is my life. Am I worried about the rematch? No. Was I worried about the first fight? No.
Am I confident about the rematch? Yes, just like I was confident about the first fight. I don't underestimate Seth Mitchell.
I say it once again, just like I said after the first fight, that I take my hat off to the guy. I have nothing bad to say about the guy.
He's a big guy. He's still a strong puncher. I still have to be careful. I still have to bring my best. If I don't, I'll be in trouble.
RingTV.com: How much will Manny's influence, spiritually and figuratively, and that of his nephew, your trainer, Sugar Hill, be a factor into the next fight?
And Sugar Hill, he's like my brother, man. We're family. As family, we got each other through a very, very difficult time.
Since Manny has been gone, it's like me and Sugar Hill have been together every single day. We were in camp together. He could have left camp, and I even offered that to him.
But he said no, I'd rather be here. He stuck with me through everything, and there's nothing that I wouldn't do for him as a result of that.
We both knew what Emanuel wanted, and we did it. It was like, "Do your job, and I'll do mine," and that's how we did it. So we kept on going.
That's the message that I would have for any Johnathon Banks fans or followers, or even any enemies. If you've gotten anything out of what I've done, I hope that it's that you can believe in yourself.
If you believe in yourself, and that this is the position that you're supposed to be in, then the sky is the limit. Especially if you're from a city like my city or any other city like it in the world.
You just have to believe in yourself and you can accomplish your goals. Just follow your dreams, and the sky is the limit.
Photo by Naoki Fukuda
Photo by Joern Pollex-Bongarts, Gettyimages
Photos by Naoki Fukuda
Lem Satterfield can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org