Boxing


Seth Mitchell & Chazz Witherspoon Conference Call Transcript; Adamek vs. Chambers tickets go on sale Saturday, 4/14

Kelly Swanson

Thank you, everybody, for dialing in today. I'll tell you, we are feeling the heavyweights. We have on the phone with us both Seth "Mayhem" Mitchell from his training camp in Clinton, Maryland, which is right outside of Washington, D.C.; as well as "The Gentlemen," Chazz Witherspoon, calling in all the way from Oakland, California.



Speaking of Seth Mitchell, he will be hosting a media day next Wednesday, April 18th at 2 p.m. You will be receiving more information on that. Without further ado, I'm going to turn this over to Dave Itskowitch, Chief Operating Officer of Golden Boy Promotions. Dave?



David Itskowitch

Thank you very much, Kelly. Thank you, everyone, for joining us today. We are here for the Seth Mitchell vs. Chazz Witherspoon conference call. This fight is going to be a 12-round heavyweight fight for the vacant NABO heavyweight title. It will be the co-main event to Hopkins versus Dawson, which will be a 12-round fight for the WBC and Ring Magazine Light Heavyweight Championships.



The event is promoted by Golden Boy Promotions and Gary Shaw Productions. It will be happening Saturday, April 28th at Boardwalk Hall in Atlantic City, televised live on HBO World Championship Boxing, beginning at 10:15 p.m. eastern time, 7:15 p.m. pacific time, sponsored by Corona, AT&T, and of course, Caesar's Atlantic City. We have tickets still available, but they are going very fast. We implore everyone to get their tickets before they are all gone because this is a hot-selling event.



Now, to say a few words, I'd like to introduce a gentleman I've known for quite a few years. He's very aptly named as "The Gentleman." He's the cousin of former heavyweight champion, Tim Witherspoon. He began boxing when he was a sophomore at St. Joseph's University in 2002. He impressively made the 2004 Olympic team as an alternate after fighting for less than two years. He graduated from St. Joe's in 2005 with a degree in pharmaceutical marketing.



He has an impressive knockout percentage of 22 of his 30 wins, coming by way of knockout. He is the winner of seven of his last eight fights. He has a record of 30 and 2 with 22 K.O.'s. From Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, "The Gentleman" Chazz Witherspoon.



Chazz Witherspoon

How is everyone doing? I appreciate everybody for calling in. I feel good. I feel really blessed to have this opportunity to take this fight with Seth. I appreciate Golden Boy, and Seth, and everybody who made this possible-HBO. I'm just happy to be here.



Dave Itskowitch

Thanks a lot, Chazz. Now, to say a few words, another young man who is a heavyweight contender, who's bringing a lot of energy and excitement into his division. He is 29 years old. He's a former high school All-American and former standout linebacker at Michigan State University. A rarity these days when you can have a fight of any kind, but a heavyweight fight with two college graduates tangling.



He turned pro in 2008. He was named one of ESPN.com's Prospects to Watch for 2011, and is widely considered to be the United States' best chance for a heavyweight world champion. He's won nine fights in a row by knockout; four coming in 2008, and in his last fight in December of last year, in front of his hometown fans in Washington, D.C. In his HBO debut he knocked out Timur Ibragimov, handing him his first knockout defeat.



On April 28th he will be fighting in Atlantic City for the first time in his career. I know he's bringing quite a few fans up the road from the D.C. area. With a record of 24, 0, and 1, with 18 KO's, from Brandywine, Maryland, Seth "Mayhem" Mitchell.



Seth Mitchell

Thanks, Dave. How's everybody doing? First, I just want to thank God for giving me this opportunity. I want to thank everyone that made this possible-Golden Boy, my team, my management. I want to thank Chazz for accepting the fight. I don't know about you all, but I'm very excited for this fight. I know Chazz is training extremely hard. I'm training extremely hard. It's going to be a good fight.



It's my first time being scheduled for 12 rounds. I know a lot of people are thinking, 'how's he going to do if he gets taken into deep waters?' But, this is what I do to provide for my family. I'm not worried about going the distance at all. I'm just excited about this fight. Again, I know Chazz is training hard, so it's just making me train harder. I'm excited. You all should be excited, too.



Like Dave said, this is the first time that-now I don't know if it's the first time, but to have two African American heavyweights who both have college degrees, getting it in, about to lock on. I respect Chazz. His record speaks for itself-30 wins, 2 losses, 22 KO's. I consider him to be fundamentally sound. He's a good technical boxer, and he comes to fight. He throws a lot of punches. He's just making me sharpen up my game, cross my t's and dot my i's.



Come the 28th of April, he's going to be ready. I'm going to be ready. I know a lot of people are saying that Chazz has been at this level two other times and he's came up short. I know he's going to train hard. They say this is like the nail in the coffin fight for him, but I feel the same way for me. I'm not finished reaching my goals, where I'm trying to go in my boxing career.



Now, I was laughing with my sister about three weeks ago. I said, this might be the nail in the coffin for Chazz if he loses this fight, but if I lose this fight, my coffin is going to be in production. I'm not ready for my coffin to be in production yet. I hope everybody-if you can't make it to the arena, definitely tune in on April 28th because you're going to have two heavyweights that are coming to put on a show. We're going to do our part, so you all just tune in. Thanks again for the opportunity. I really appreciate it.



Dave Itskowitch

Thanks a lot, Seth. I guess we'll now turn over to Q&A from the media.



Kelly Swanson

Okay. Operator, if you could open the phone lines. I just want to say I heard two college-educated, graduated heavyweights. I think it's a first in boxing. Can't you hear it in their articulation? I love it. Please be mindful that they are both on the phone. If you can ask one question and then possibly get in another one for the other guy, that would be awesome. Okay, operator, go ahead.



Q:

Question for you here, I guess, first, you followed the cut of the career paths of other heavyweights, particularly Americans, like Mike Tyson, and Riddick Bowe, and those guys. Where do you compare yourself in terms of where they were in their career to where you are in your career now? Are you comfortable with being identified as the next American chance to win a world heavyweight championship?



Seth Mitchell

I believe in myself. I'm very confident, but I'm not cocky. I let other people say all the accolades and give all the praise. I just continue to work hard. I do believe I have the tools to become heavyweight champion of the world. But as far as me saying that I'm the next great American heavyweight-I let everybody else say it. It sounds better when they say it. You'll never hear me say it. I'm just going to continue to try to be a sponge, work as hard as I can, and try to reach my goals. But I do believe that I have the tools to become heavyweight champion of the world.



Q:

My question, you mentioned that earlier in your opening remarks about the fact that Chazz had stepped up a couple of times and come up short. Those are the two fights he had against Areola and Tony Thompson. I wonder, those are two guys that have fought for the heavyweight title. Thompson is going to get another opportunity to fight for the title coming up July 7th.



I wonder, when you look and you see how he performed against those guys-I know you want to win the fight, but do you have it in your mind that you want to be as equally impressive as those two guys? Areola got a DQ win in the third round, but being honest, he was basically on the verge of knocking Chazz out. Chazz, in a good fight, got stopped I believe, in the tenth round by Tony Thompson. Would you like to put on an equally spectacular performance to measure yourself against these other top-ten heavyweight contenders?



Seth Mitchell

Definitely. I would be lying if I said I didn't want to look impressive. My main thing is I want to get the "W," but I definitely want to go out there and be entertaining. It's an entertaining sport. That's why I'm back on HBO as the co-main event. At the same time, I'm not going to go out there reckless. I'm just going to dictate, stay behind my jab. I believe if I put my punches together and stay with my game plan, I could get him out of there. But, I'm definitely going to be prepared to go hard 12 rounds. I do want to be impressive. I don't want my knockout streak to stop. But at the same time, I'll go out there to be smart. But, I'm an entertaining fighter. Win, lose, or draw, I'm coming to fight and the fans will be entertained. But I definitely-I expect to win.



Q:

Is it at all difficult for you to strictly focus on the task at hand, but knowing in the back of your mind that as long as Seth Mitchell keeps putting together some wins, there is going to be a heavyweight title shot? I mean, the Klitschko brothers themselves have mentioned your name, have talked about you when they've talked to media when they've done conference calls and interviews prior to some of their fights, because they constantly are seeking an American opponent. Is it hard to stay focused, knowing in the big picture, that you keep doing things right, you're getting a chance to fight for one of the big titles?



Seth Mitchell

To be honest, it's really not that hard for me because, exactly what you said, I have to keep winning. If I don't keep winning, all that talk is for nothing. I just have to take it one step at a time. To say that I don't think about it, I would be lying. I do think about it, but at the same time, I keep everything in perspective. I have a good team around me. I just continue to work hard. But I know all of my plans are contingent on me winning, and me looking impressive, and improving at each and every fight. And thus far, in my career, I feel that I have.



Q:

Chazz, I wanted to ask you something similar to that. Maybe by beating Seth Mitchell you don't automatically get in the front of the line to fight one of the Klitschko's, but how significant is it for you in this fight to take on a guy like Seth who has a lot of people talking, people thinking maybe he's going to be the future champ, going to be at least a guy to get one of those big opportunities? For you to take care of him, put those two losses in your step-up fights, and show that you can step-up a bit and handle that, and go out there and not only get the win, but look good also doing so.



Chazz Witherspoon

I look at that and the question you asked of me, the way I look at it is people have yet to see me at my best. I just plan on going out here and putting out my best performance. Everything is starting to come together. Everything came together with this fight, and it came together out of nowhere. It was definitely a blessing to how I got with Virgil. I got the chance to finally go away to camp, my first time ever being at a camp, and getting good sleep and eating correct and training all the time.



Everything came together, I believe, for a reason. I plan on going out there and putting on a good performance. In both of those fights, in any of my losses-everybody knows me. Anybody who knows me knows that when Chazz Witherspoon comes into a fight, he's coming to fight. I'm a man's man. I come to rumble. I don't fear any man. When I fight Seth, I'm not going to come and fight him like I'm scared of him.



I'm not trying to say that all these other opponents were scared of him, but when you watch the fights, when they're fighting him, they're throwing punches just trying to keep him off of them. They're not really committing their punches. They're fighting scared, so to speak. I'm not a guy that's going to come in like that. My heart doesn't pump any Kool-Aid. I know Seth's heart doesn't pump any Kool-Aid. You're going to have two men in there that are trying to win a fight. I believe I'm going to have a good showing myself.



Q:

I just want to ask you one other thing, and you brought it up. You're now training, I believe, with Virgil Hunter out in the Bay area. First of all, who was training you prior to that, and what was it that led you to Virgil, and how has it been going?



Chazz Witherspoon

Wade and Randy Hinnant were training me before I came to Virgil. Actually, my coach, Wade, is still going to be in the corner. Virgil is just going to be the number one in the corner. So we added Virgil in. That came about because I got with a new management team. It's called Jaw Breaker Management, and it's with a guy named Steve Russo and Ken Norton.



Ken Norton actually suggested me attempting to get with a new trainer and he mentioned Virgil. The funny thing about Virgil was the fact that I had a list of three trainers that if I ever worked with anybody else, the three guys that I would work with, and Virgil's name was on that list. The three names were Nazim Richardson, Virgil Hunter, and Barry Hunter.



Now that wasn't in any particular order. That was just the three names I had on my list, so if I ever worked with anybody else. When they mentioned Virgil, I talked with Virgil on the phone. I had met him before because me and Dre were roommates back for the 2004 Olympics, me and Andre Ward. I met Virgil back then. It kind of came together and I came out here.



I think I had a five-week camp, or something like that, for this fight. He's a brilliant man-brilliant, brilliant mind when it comes to boxing. Like I said, it's going pretty good. I'm a student. I'm an auditory learner, and he's somebody who knows how to make things make sense. He's a heck of a strategist. He just has a really brilliant mind when it comes to boxing.



Q:

Sounds good. To clarify one thing, Ken Norton that is part of your management team, he is not the former heavyweight champion, correct?



Chazz Witherspoon

No, that is Ken. That's Kenny.



Q:

The former champion is part of your management?



Chazz Witherspoon

Yes.



Q:

I'm wondering, as we all know, training and conditioning is such a significant element in professional boxing. So often, that in the latter rounds, the winner is determined by the level of conditioning. I'm just wondering, since you've never been in a 12-round fight before, if indeed it goes into the later rounds, are you taking any special provisions or doing anything differently in your training to prepare you to go into a deeper fight?



Seth Mitchell

Yes. As far as this, we do a lot of our training on a punch count, just picking up my punch, you know, 200 punches a round, 250-260 punches a round, and increasing my sparring rounds. Yesterday I sparred 12 rounds straight with various sparring partners coming in and out. Increasing my roll now, just doing the right thing. I'm always a fighter. If you look at my weight, I've always come in at a pretty good-because just to stay weight, the heaviest I've ever been going up to my average is 243 in 25 fights.



I'm not worried about going 12 rounds. This is my first-Chazz has never gone 12 rounds either, I don't believe. I believe he was scheduled to go 12 rounds once, but I don't know if he went 12 rounds. This will be new territory for the both of us. The conditioning part is the furthest thing in my mind. This is how I provide for my family. I'll never lose a fight from conditioning or underestimating my opponent.



Q:

Okay. In the past, some of your critics have talked about when you come under fire, rather than staying and countering, you have a tendency to step back, sort of regroup, and start the process over. Are you taking any necessary steps so that you can actually stay counter and then proceed forward in the fight?



Seth Mitchell

That's what I'm working on. Whenever people ask me, what can I work on? It's countering off of my defense. We've been working on it. Like I said, I'm a student of the game and I try to get better each and every fight. I believe if you look at the Timur fight, the damage started when he was the aggressor and I threw two punches and a counter, and then came back with the left hook.



Those are things that we're working on. I'll continually get better. I'm just looking forward to an exciting fight. We've been working on some things, so hopefully I can take it from the ring and training to the ring in the fight. We'll see what happens. But I'm definitely excited.



Q:

I like your introduction about the two African American heavyweights, and like Kelly said, that are college graduates. I do think this is a first. Chazz, your first fight under Virgil Hunter, which fight was that?



Chazz Witherspoon

This will be my first fight under Virgil Hunter.



Q:

This will be your first one. I'm just looking at your record. Your past nine fights you've lost twice. But the other fights that you won were all knockouts, including your last four. Have you made a concerted effort, as I guess you referenced to, to sitting down on your punches and challenging your opponents?



Chazz Witherspoon

Yes. I think all that comes in time. I kind of started late, so it's tremendous what Seth has accomplished in the limited amount of time we've been boxing. But I came into boxing late as well, and I shot through the amateurs. I had a meteoric rise through the amateurs. It's kind of the opposite. Seth is having a meteoric rise through the professional ranks. I shot through the amateurs.



There is a lot of stuff we had to skip over. I had to just come in, throw a lot of punches, be busy, outwork people with the amateurs to get where I got in the amateurs-winning national gloves and all that. It was always constantly me having to try to go back to the drawing board. I turned pro with only a little bit under three years of experience. I think now I'm getting a little more seasoned, a little more mature. I am able to commit to my shots a little better. I believe I'm starting to come into my own now. I believe that's allowing me to land my punches better.



Q:

Questions for both of you. What, given the fact that you're both college graduates, if you hadn't been boxing, what do you think each of you would be doing? Chazz, what would you be doing with your pharmaceutical degree? What were your goals?



Chazz Witherspoon

I believe I would have been a pharmaceutical rep. I would have been the guy that you see in the doctor's office with the briefcase, and he's going in and trying to get the doctor to write the prescription for whatever medicines that I would represent. I would definitely use my degree and utilize my degree. I have no problem with talking. I'd be a salesman, basically.



Q:

Seth, same question for you.



Seth Mitchell

I don't know if I'd be a carrying a briefcase. Coming up I had a lot of mentors and things of that nature that kept me out of trouble and kept me on the right track. With my degree in criminal justice I probably would have tried to navigate towards some type of mentoring, helping young kids, the youth, somewhere in that aspect, because I didn't have a father growing up.



My mom and my father separated when I was five years old, but I had, through sports and things of that nature, I had a lot of mentors and counselors that really kept me on the right path. To give back that way, I probably would have tried to-even though my degree was in criminal justice, but try to navigate in that direction.



Q:

Okay. My last question for you, Seth, would be, what is your notion, what is your opinion about what he said about your opponents fighting scared? I guess that's the first time I've heard that. Do you see any truth in that? Do you welcome his challenge of being the first one who doesn't fight scared, if that's his estimation?



Seth Mitchell

I definitely welcome the challenge. I don't think a lot of people come into the ring and intentionally act scared. I really think that once they get into the ring with me, they see me and my stature and I look like I can punch hard and things of that nature. But, they underestimate my boxing IQ, my heart, my intentional fortitude when I get into the ring, and they underestimate my quickness. I think a lot of them, once they get into the ring, it surprises them. Then once I start touching them, they tend to get out of there.



We'll see what happens. Like I said, I respect Chazz. I've watched his fights and I've studied him and like he said, he comes to fight. He said his heart doesn't pump Kool-Aid and mine doesn't either. If you slice me open, you find no female dog in me. It's going to be a good fight. Just be prepared. I hope everybody tunes in because if you can't hear it in my voice, I'm excited about this fight. This is the stage that I want to be on, the stage that I want to continue to stay on. I know what I got to do in order for that to happen. 4/28 its going down. I'm ready to go.



Q:

Any chance that after this fight, both of you guys could put the gloves down and talk politics?



Chazz Witherspoon

I believe so. The funny thing is, I said to somebody else, another reporter, that everything that I'm learning about Seth, from what I'm seeing, it seems like he'd be somebody I would actually probably be cool with outside of boxing. Because he sounds like a stand-up guy, a hard-working man, and he's about his family. I'm about my family, as well. Just to clarify that statement, I wasn't trying to knock any of his opponents, or saying that they were scared of him. I wasn't trying to say that it's a challenge to Seth that I'm coming in, and I'm not scared. I was just stating the facts.



I was just letting you know that I'm not a scary guy like that and that I come to fight. So that's all it was. It wasn't just sending a challenge to Seth or a knock on any of his opponents either. I didn't want it to be taken like that as well.



Q:

First question, I'm going to keep it short and sweet. First question will be for Chazz. Chazz, this is your first fight working with Virgil Hunter. Without giving away your whole game plan, obviously, what can we expect from you in the ring working with Virgil Hunter that we didn't see from you in the past? Are you looking more towards a technical approach in this fight or more like a hit and don't get hit approach? What kind of approach are you looking for to implement in this fight?



Chazz Witherspoon

Well, Virgil has helped me from the technical side of things, cleaning up some stuff that I needed to work on and allowed me to get better leverage on my shots and put my shots together a little better. So it's going to be more from a technical standpoint.



Q:

Now, obviously, I'm sure you're predicting a big win on the 28th. What are you hoping a win against Seth would bring your career at this point?



Chazz Witherspoon

Well, I know a win against Seth would revitalize my career. But I always speak to the fact that boxing is a sport that-it's one of the only sports that as soon as you lose one fight or two fights it's like your career is over. Kobe Bryant can go out and have five points in one game and then the next game go out and drop 40/50 points and he's still Kobe Bryant. But in boxing, one/two loses your career is done.



I don't really understand that. But I know it'll revive my career because in boxing you're only as good as your last win. So it would do tremendous thing for my career. It would put my name back in the mix.



Q:

With that being said, do you view this as one of your last times to shine and show the world why you're relevant in heavyweight division?



Chazz Witherspoon

Yeah. I know it's an important fight. As far as the last time to shine I don't look at it like that. But, yes, no-it's definitely an important fight and I don't take it lightly at all. I wouldn't have left and came all the way out here and been away from my family like this about taking a fight lightly. Like I said, I'm a family man. But, no, it's very important. It's imperative that I win this fight in order to put my name still be in the mix of being a contender or being in the top ten.



Q:

My next question will be for Seth. Seth, a reporter before me talked about how you never had gone 12 rounds. What's sparring looking like? How many rounds are you sparring preparing for the fight? Are you sparring 12 by now or are you going further than 12? How are you going about trying to strengthen your conditioning for the fight?



Seth Mitchell

I put in a lot of rounds. I believe I've put in about 70 to 80 rounds so far and I've won 12 rounds. We typically get about, I would say, 85 to 100 rounds of sparring for my fight. So we're right on-right on course. I'm feeling great. During this time in training camp you have your little nicks and your bruises but you just suck it up.



But right now my body is tired. I'm in the heart of my training camp. But with that being said you're never 100% training for your fight. So it's just been an extremely grueling training camp but it's a training camp. I just wanted to speak on what Chazz said about having-not losing a fight or two. I totally agree with him. This is not like a team sport where if you're a good team you take a loss then they don't write you off as they do in boxing.



So it's a big fight for both of us. And like I said before he's going to be ready. I'm going to be ready and I'm excited about the fight. But I've put in about 70 to 80 rounds thus far. This week and next week we're really ramping up our training and then we'll cool down from there.



Q:

Oh yes. Good afternoon. Hey, quick question. I want to get back to the concept of you guys being two college graduates. Real quick, man, for both of you, what advantages or what lessons did you learn while you were pursuing your degree? Seth, I know that you were also playing ball. Chazz, I wasn't sure whether you were involved in athletics prior to in college or what you might have done in high school?



Whereas, we grew up learning that if you don't fight the whole time or if you don't fight when you're young. If you're not in this game by the time you're 13, 14, 15 years old then you're never going to be a champion. You never can be that type of contender or eventually a champion.



So obviously, you guys are on the way to dispelling that myth. So in what ways do you see your college process both in the classroom and in athletics as assisting you and helping you to become the contenders and champions that you are?



Chazz Witherspoon

Well, I played sports growing up my whole life. And actually when I went to college I had three division one basketball scholarships and two track scholarships. So I've always been an athlete. I ended up taking an academic scholarship at St. Joe's. But I think being in school and doing the studying and being in academia like that, I've learned that I can do whatever I put my mind to.



So when I came into boxing I had a goal and my goal was just to make the Olympic trials. I ended up surpassing my goal and becoming an alternate. And that was all due to dedication and hard work and really a stick-to-itiveness. And I believe Seth is that same type of guy. When I read up on him and from what I've seen and heard he's somebody that worked hard in athletics and in football and became an All-American. He's doing it in boxing now too.



What you are doing speaks for itself in a short amount of time. And I know, only because I did a lot of stuff in a short amount of time in the amateurs. So I knew-I know how it is when people start expecting things of you early in your career and that pressure's on you. I really do believe that with having the sports background and the school background you get a handle on that you can do whatever you put your mind to. I think that's the big thing that comes out of that for me. Go ahead, Seth.



Seth Mitchell

For me, it's like you said, going to college no one wants to study all the time. No one wants to go to class every single day and sit in there for those grueling hours, but it's something that you have to do if you want to achieve a certain goal. If you want to reach the apex of your goal then certain things you can have fun, but you've got to do what your suppose to do and that just goes with boxing. Every day I don't feel like coming to the gym. I don't feel like putting my road miles in. I don't feel like training extremely hard.



But when at those days when I don't feel like doing that I think about it's not about me. It's about the why. Why am I doing this? I take the you, I take the me out of the equation. Why am I doing this? Because I want to provide for my wife, for my two children. I want to provide for my family. I tell people all the time I'm going to be alright. I'm fine. I can go out there. I can get a job. I can work. I got a college degree. I'll be alright. But it's not about me.



So going to college and graduating; when I was in college a lot of people didn't think that I would succeed. Unlike Chazz, he had an academic scholarship. I consider myself a C student. But I work extremely hard. So as easy as athletics came to me was as hard as it was in the classroom. But I had the wherewithal to work hard and just to be determined.



So there was no doubt that I was going to graduate when I went to college. And I went to college, played football and graduated in four years. I got my degree in Criminal Justice with specialization in Homeland Security and Security Management. So, it's just time management. So you can have fun but you know you've got things that you need to do and so when it's time to play, it's time to play. And that's when basically it's not me and it's just carried over to my boxing career.



Q:

Man, that's solid. Look here, I'm going to close with this question and know, essentially, I need for both of you guys after you finish this fight on the 28th. I need both of you all to stay undefeated in a couple of years, both of you fight for the heavyweight crown against each other so we can reset this landscape especially for African American athletes in this country, being college educated, coming from these neighborhoods, doing the kinds of things that you guys are doing, the commitment you have to your families and to your communities. Man, I thank God that I lived long enough to see this day. You guys continue to go forward. I appreciate you.



Q:

We've heard a lot today about a college educated heavyweights. There's a couple of other college educated heavyweights that I can think of and their name is Dr. Steel Hammer, and Dr. Iron Fist, otherwise known as the Klitschko brothers. We hear a lot of negativity a lot of the time when the Klitschkos get talked about in America. I'd just like to ask both of you guys as your fellow academics and everything. What do you think-what do you like about the Klitschko brothers? What would you like to emulate if you could about the Klitschko brothers? I mean, obviously, they've been very successful. So, both of you, I don't care who goes first.

Chazz Witherspoon

I've been in camp with Wladimir three times. I was in camp in the Pocono's, in Austria and in Spain with him. And Wladimir is really, really a nice guy as far as if you didn't know he was heavyweight champ of the world he wouldn't tell you. He's not that type of guy. So he definitely is a class act. He likes the people that are in this camp to conduct themselves with class. He trains really hard. So, if anything, I would like to emulate training as hard as he does, just being a class act and carrying myself in such a way that I bring respect to the sport as he does.



Seth Mitchell

I concur with Chazz. I haven't been in camp with him. But as seeing him on tape and watching him he's definitely a class act. Handling himself like a true champion and that's something. If God blesses me to win the heavyweight championship of the world I definitely want to conduct myself as he does outside the ring.



As far as inside the ring I respect him. He uses his God-given attributes. He fights tall. He has a lot of power. He has that night switch power. Hit you one time and your lights could be out. I definitely wish I could add that to my arts, but I feel that I have real power. I've seen him turn that light switch off. So they don't call him "The Hammer "for nothing. I think which ever one it is, both of them can hit hard.



Q:

Thank you very much. I just had a follow-up question for Chazz. Chazz, I'm wondering if you could just tell a little about how it came that one of your managers is Kenny Norton the heavyweight champ? That seems kind of cool. You're a heavyweight contender and managed by a Hall of Fame Heavyweight, former heavyweight champion.



Chazz Witherspoon

Well actually my uncle, my dad's brother, is the lead singer for the group Cameo. Larry Blackmon is my uncle and I was talking with my uncle and I was telling him that I was thinking about getting some new management. He was telling me that he had some friends, some buddies that do some stuff with music, and do some stuff with Hollywood. Then he mentioned that one of his friends were really good friends with Ken Norton.



So they talked to Ken about me and Ken got really excited. Steve Russo and Ken got together. They came up with Jawbreaker Management and then he took me on. So I'm the only boxer they have right now. But they're doing good for me.



Kenny actually came out here. He wanted to see me and we talked. Like I said, it was a blessing. It kind of all came together pretty fast as this fight was being made all this stuff was coming together. Like I said, I've never been at camp before. So I have all these opportunities that came together at the same time.



Q:

So is this your first fight with him as your manager?



Chazz Witherspoon

Yep, first fight. Yep, first fight with Virgil. First fight with Ken as my manager. First fight in a real camp. A lot of firsts.



Q:

So if you have a guy like that as a manager, now, he's not your trainer, obviously, but he is a Hall of Famer. He's a former heavyweight champion of heavyweight. Do you ever just sit and talk with him a little bit about the sorts of either physical things you might want to look at or the mental aspect of being a heavyweight boxer? It seems like he would be a great resource to have a conversation with that about?



Chazz Witherspoon

Oh, no, definitely. Definitely. He's shared some things with me as far as what he thinks I need to do in the ring and things like that. And I asked him well how I get a body like that, like he had back in his day. And he said, well, he did a lot of calisthenics and he showed me some of the exercises that he used to do and all that. So he's definitely a resource and I like getting that wisdom, that tried and true wisdom.



Q:

Is he going to accompany you to the fight?



Chazz Witherspoon

Yeah, he'll be at the fight. Yep, he'll be there. Steve Russo will be there and my family. I think my uncle Larry is coming in, too. So there will be a lot of people. I know Seth is going to have a lot of fans. I'm going to have a lot of fans there. So it's going to be a good fight. It's going to be a terrific good fight, exciting fight, exciting atmosphere, all that good stuff.



Q:

How are you doing Seth? How are you doing Chazz? Quick question for both of you guys. First Chazz, I'm just curious to know, we all know you guys have some similarities and some synergy in terms of you're both around the same age, from the mid-Atlantic, college educated.



I'm curious, do you feel that maybe you have an edge because you've been in some competitive moments with competent punches like Arreola, good technician with "Punk" Thompson. And I'm wondering if you're looking at this fight thinking that Seth hasn't been tested quite like that from guys like that, with the exception of Ibragimov. I'm curious if you take any confidence from that?



Chazz Witherspoon

Well, no. I mean, the way I look at it, I actually look at it from the opposite form. Being that Seth has a little bit of experience that he has and has been able to do what he's done speaks volumes for him. Do you see what I'm saying? So I don't get into the fact that people keep saying he hasn't been tested in this and that and the other. I mean all the people that are saying he hasn't been tested hasn't gotten in the ring with him. Everybody that goes in the ring with him tried to test him and they came up short.



So, obviously, there's something there. I do know that this is one of the times, one of the few times that I have more experience than the person I'm getting in the ring with. So I'm cognizant of that. But as far as thinking Seth doesn't have what it takes to be here, it's obvious he does because we're here. I'm actually the underdog in this fight. I'm not expected to win this fight. He's expected to win this fight.



The one way I that I do look at it is that there's no pressure on me. So I mean I like that because most of the times when I'm fighting I'm expected to win. So the pressures on me to make the fight look good and make the fight, look a certain way, do all these things. That pressures not on me. So it allows me just to be me and fight. So I have a freedom from that standpoint.



Q:

No, understood. Having said that, do you take anything from the experience fighting Tony Thompson from Arreola as something that you might be able to put on your belt to help you in fight like this? Or for you, to look individually at Seth as a completely individuated different experience, apples and oranges in other words?



Chazz Witherspoon

Naw, what I learned from the Arreola fight is that you have a plan and when you get hit-that was my first time I remember being buzzed in a fight. And you tell yourself you're going to fight and fight harder and it's either fight or flight that takes place and mine's was fight. So, instead of me covering up and being smart about it I just wanted to fight him that much harder.



So I've learned how to deal with things better now. He's a puncher like Arreola was a puncher. So I learned better how to conduct myself if I do get hit with a shot and I get buzzed I know how to fight and not just go to all-out war like I did with Arreola. I fought stupid in that fight. But that was my immaturity in the ring showing up. I'm not that same fighter anymore. My defense looks better now.



Q:

Seth, for you, with your last fight with Ibragimov it ended quickly. A lot of your fights before that ended quick. I'm curious, as you're looking to get such quality experience in the ring with a good type of a fighter, a good puncher like Chazz that in the back of your mind are you kind of hoping that you can get some rounds in that the fight can go in the middle round so you can really get some good rounds in as you move forward in your career? Or, for you, is it just you're going to take what's given at you and if there's an opportunity to end it early it doesn't matter? Or, I'm wondering, if you're looking at this like this could be a good opportunity to go into the deeper rounds and get more of that experience?



Seth Mitchell

Absolutely not. I don't get paid by the rounds. I'll be prepared to go hard 12 rounds. But if the fight could end in the first round that's how I want it to end. My ultimate goal is to win the heavyweight championship of the world and leave this sport with my health and financial security. So I take my punishment in my training camp. Like I said, I went 12 rounds yesterday. I don't underestimate my opponent. But, no, I want the fight to end early.



But I definitely will be prepared to go hard 12 rounds. Why should I stay in there and take more punishment? I learned in the gym. I learned in my sparring session. I don't go out there; people they don't believe me. I don't really go out there looking for knockouts. I put my punches together and I have decent punching power in both hands and a decent speed. Once I do that my fights just end early even with the Timor fight. I expected if I got to stop it would have been seventh or eighth round. I didn't expect to stop him in two rounds. Sometimes I surprise myself. But I'll be prepared to go 12 rounds or 1 round. It doesn't matter.



Q:

I'm wondering if you actually were tuned in when Wladimir defended against Jean-Marc Mormeck? As Dan pointed out he did mention your name as somebody who's on his radar? I'm wondering if you actually heard that and what your quick thoughts were about him mentioning you.



Seth Mitchell

Yes. I definitely was tuned in. I definitely heard it. Actually, I don't have a lot of followers on Twitter, but I know about 30 minutes later I jumped up like 400 Twitter followers. So that was pretty cool, so thanks, Dan and thank, Wlad, for throwing my name out there. But I did watch it. I did tune in.



But as I said before, I don't let that-all the positive stuff it goes in and it stays in for a little bit then it exits out because you can have a quick fall in boxing. As Chazz said, you lose one or two fights and you're off the radar. So I know in order to reach my goal, I'm only as good as my last fight and the Good Lord willing I can go out here on the 28th and look impressive and keep learning so I could be back on this page again.



Kelly Swanson

Okay. I think that's it. We're going to wrap it up. You guys, I was stunned because this was like one of the best conference calls ever. The quotable, these guys got a lot from you guys. We really appreciate the time that you took to do this for us today. Dave, any parting words or the fighters, anything you want to say and we'll wrap it up.



Dave Itskowitch

I just want to thank everyone for joining us. Thank Seth and Chazz for taking the time out of training. I hope everyone has the opportunity to come down to Atlantic City and if not catch it on HBO.



Seth Mitchell

Thank you, man. Thanks for having us. Like I was saying, it's going to be a good fight. Tony and Chazz are coming to fight, I'm coming to fight. So everybody tune in. It's going to be an exciting night of boxing.



Chazz Witherspoon

Thank you. Thank you all for tuning in and asking us the questions. Like Seth said, it's going to be a good fight so everybody needs to tune in or grab the tickets and be down there and be a part of this tremendous fight.

END OF CALL

"Hopkins vs. Dawson: Once And For All," a 12-round bout for Hopkins' WBC and Ring Magazine light heavyweight world championships, is presented by Golden Boy Promotions and Gary Shaw Productions and sponsored by Corona, AT&T and Caesars Atlantic City. Also featured will be a 12-round heavyweight battle between Seth "Mayhem" Mitchell and "The Gentleman" Chazz Witherspoon for the vacant NABO heavyweight title. The event will take place at Boardwalk Hall in Atlantic City, New Jersey and will be televised live on HBO World Championship Boxing beginning at 10:15 p.m. ET/7:15 p.m. PT.

Tickets, priced at $300, $200, $100, $50 and $25, are available for purchase at the Boardwalk Hall box office, by calling Ticketmaster at (800) 736-1420 or online at ticketmaster.com.

6/19 Adamek - Chambers Tickets on sale Sat 4/14

Tickets for June 16th

"Heavyweights Collide"

Tomasz Adamek vs. Eddie Chambers

Prudential Center, Newark, NJ

Go on sale Saturday, April 14 at 11am

NBC Sports Network Fight Night new logo

NBC Sports Network "Fight Night"

Ticket priced at $254 ringside, $104, $79, and $54 available through Ticketmaster: online at www.ticketmaster.com; Charge-by-phone: 1-800-745-3000; Ticketmaster Express 866-448-7849; and Ticketmaster ticket centers. Tickets are also available at Prudential Center's Box Office and www.prucenter.com.

Article posted on 13.04.2012



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