Heavyweight Johnathon Banks has said that he damaged both hands early during Saturday night’s unanimous decision loss to Seth “Mayhem” Mitchell, injuries that his promoter, Tom Loeffler, said were diagnosed as fractures on Monday by a Detroit-based physician.
The victory by Mitchell (26-1-1, 19 knockouts) avenged November’s second-round knockout loss to Banks (29-2-1, 19 KOs), who informed RingTV.com on Monday that he hurt his left hand in the first round, and his right, during the second of their clash at Barclays Center in Brooklyn.
“Johnathan did say in the locker room afterward when he took both hand wraps off that it was clearly uncomfortable and painful,” said Loeffler.
“I did hear from Johnathon today. Apparently, when he got back to Detroit, they diagnosed both of the middle knuckles of both hands as being fractured. So that was unusual to have both hands injured in a fight like that.”
Although Banks was able to wobble Mitchell twice in the third round — once with a right hand, and later with a left hook — he was unable to follow up his advantage.
“I injured both hands early in the first two rounds,” said Banks. “I hurt my left hand in the first round, and I hurt my right hand in the second round. I wanted to finish him off, but I just couldn’t do it. There was an injury, but I try not to take nothing away from the victory or from a loss.”
“When I hurt him, he was definitely hurt, but I was hurting more than he was hurting, as far as the hand. I was shocked that I still hurt him pretty good with it being like that, but that’s neither here nor there. It really hurt. I was hurt more inside from bell three through bell 12 because I knew, in myself, the pain that I was in.”
Loeffler also lamented the third round.
“If his left hand had been okay, then he could have thrown the jab and the left hook, and if his right hand was okay, he could have maybe set up the right hand. But he didn’t want to make excuses, and he wasn’t blaming the hands for the way that he fought that night,” said Loeffler.
“But it was very unfortunate the way that they happened early in the fight. I think that the way things went in the third round, you could see that he was connecting with Mitchell and that he was clearly the superior boxer at that particular time.”
Loeffler also disputed the knockdown against Banks in the second round, contending that it was the result of a rabbit punch.
“I thought that the knockdown was not a legitimate knockdown and that it was from a hit behind the head,” said Loeffler.
“Johnathon was winning that round prior to the referee calling that the knockdown. We thought that, clearly, that should not have been scored a knockdown. And if you go back and review the scoring of the fight, with the two points for the knockdown, that might have changed the result of the fight.”
Banks lost 114-112, 115-112, and 117-109 on the cards of Don Trella, Waleska Roldan, and Mike Ross, respectively.
“I don’t want to say that the injuries were the only reason that I lost. He won the fight. But I think, in my opinion, he thought he was better than me, and he thought he could hurt me, and he thought that he could knock me out,” said Banks, who floored Mitchell three times in the final round of their previous meeting.
“He wanted the knockout because that’s what he’s used to doing. But if I proved anything on Saturday night, I proved that he couldn’t hurt me and that he couldn’t knock me out. So to me, that’s what I proved to him. As far as the public, I don’t know. The fight hurt me from bell No. 2. It was hurting me because of the pain I was in.”
Before the loss to Banks in the first fight, Mitchell, of Brandywine, Md., had been touted as America’s greatest hope to dethrone the dominant Klitschko brothers, Wladimir and Vitali. Banks, meanwhile, was 24 pounds lighter and potentially drained by the loss of his mentor, Hall of Fame legend Emanuel “Manny” Steward, just a few weeks earlier.
Banks attended Steward’s funeral the Wednesday prior to the bout, plus he had also been charged by Steward with training Wladimir Klitschko for his unanimous-decision victory over Mariusz Wach a week prior to facing Mitchell.
Their originally scheduled rematch had to be postponed from Feb. 16 when Banks suffered a thumb injury during the first week of the month.
“I’ve spent the day in the doctor’s office. I’ve gotten my hands checked out and X-rayed. It’s the bones on the back of the hand. I can fight with hurt knuckles, but it’s the bone on the back of my hands. The back of both of them,” said Banks on Monday.
“I don’t want to take any time off. I would love to fight Seth again. It’s not winning or losing. It’s my performance. I couldn’t do what I wanted to do. Where do I go from here, I don’t know. I’m obviously going to fight again, but who, when, I don’t know.”