Lem Satterfield

Exclusive Q&A: Cooney assesses Mitchell, the American heavyweight

RingTV.com: So how does that apply to Mitchell?

GC: He was more or less boxing with the guy, and you have to get inside and get close. It’s that the timing was off a bit. It’s hard to put that into words other than to say that he’s still a green fighter. 

When you fight a pro, you can’t be green and fight in the pros. In the heavyweight division, you’ve got a puncher’s chance, and you’ll get away with it now and then. But over the long term, you won’t.

RingTV.com: How does America beat the Klitschkos?

GC: Well, you have all of these cruiserweights trying to box the Klitschkos. The Klitschkos are great at this. They don’t want to fight. They want to stay at a distance and use the jab. You’ve got to make them uncomfortable.

You’ve got to bring them out of their comfort zone. That means you have to get inside that jab and stay close to the body and bang the body, and then take it over the top. Mike Tyson was a great fighter coming forward.

But when you backed him up, he couldn’t fight. Same thing with Kenny Norton. Kenny Norton was great coming forward. But if you backed him up and took him out of his gameplan, he kind of froze up.

RingTV.com: What is the answer to coming up with a heavyweight in America who can challenge the Klitschkos or become a heavyweight champion in this era?

GC: Well, you know, a lot of the guys today, they all want to make the millions of dollars, but they don’t have the guts to be determined to get in there. You have decent fighters, but you have to get in there.

You’ve got to make the commitment to get inside and not waver from that. Most of the guys, they fall short lately. You see the other night at [Madison Square Garden,] Brandon Rios?

That’s what a heavyweight needs, is that determination. You don’t see that. He finds a way. He makes the adjustment. He’s just a tough guy who has will, and he wasn’t going to fold.

RingTV.com: Is that why Holyfield still is able to be around and remain in the picture at his age?

GC: It’s because Evander Holyfield has the will more than the guys today. He still has that fight in him. But they don’t have it today for some reason. The heavyweight division in America has to reform itself.

You’ve got to have guts. You’ve got to have talent too, but guts is as strong as it is to have talent. Today, it’s too easy to take the heart out of somebody. That’s the game.

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Photo by Tom Hogan, Hogan Photos, Golden Boy Promotions

Photo by Jeff Julian, Fightwire Images

Lem Satterfield can be reached at lemuel.satterfield@gmail.com

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