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Old 05-27-2009, 07:01 PM   #1
My2Sense
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Default For anyone who never saw Brian Mitchell at his peak...

Here's his fight with Jim McDonnell, one of his more notable title defenses.

BORKED

BORKED

BORKED

BORKED

BORKED

I always thought Mitchell was a very underrated fighter in his day. He really didn't get an internationally high profile fight until he fought Tony Lopez (another underrated champion IMO), by which time he was slightly past his peak IMO. But unlike a lot of other fighters who have to wait a long time for their "big shot" and then fell short when it finally came (ie: Mike McCallum against Toney), Mitchell still showed his class by outfighting Toney in both fights. In the first fight, he appeared unlucky to get only a draw, and in the second he won a clear decision. Not only that, but he fought both times in Lopez's backyward of Sacramento, where Lopez was notoriously tough to beat on a decision.

The story that most people know about Mitchell is that he won the WBA title at a time when the WBA was boycotting South Africa because of Apartheid. As a result, Mitchell was screwed from being able to defend his title on his home turf, in front of his own fans, and was forced to travel to his opponent's backywards for his fights. The WBA tried to make life as tough as they could for him in hopes of prying the title away from him and putting him out of the picture, but Mitchell foiled all their efforts, and went on to hold the title through about 12 defenses. He only "lost" the title after vacating it to pursue a rematch with Lopez, but that mattered little as he ended up with a new (IBF) title anyway. However, he chose to retire afterward, and end his career on a high note.

At his peak, Mitchell was an aggressive technician, very tough and cagey, relentless, with good all-around speed and a tight, elusive defense. By the time of his fights with Lopez, he looked to have lost a bit of his speed and fluidity IMO and had become a bad bleeder, but he used his pressure and superior infighting skill to get the better of both fights regardless. I would've liked to have seen him in a unification fight much sooner, either against Lopez or better yet, Azumah Nelson.

Mitchell was never stopped in his career, and off the top of my head, I'm not even aware of him being knocked down. He had one chief rival early in his career, fellow South African Jacob Morake. Morake beat him by decision in their first fight (Mitchell's only career defeat), but Mitchell beat him in three rematches for the South African jr. lightweight title. However, following their 4th fight (in which Morake was stopped), Morake died of his injuries. It's strangely ironic to think that the most heated rivalry of Mitchell's career would end so tragically right at what should've been the most triumphant moment for him. It also is a bit surprising given that Mitchell wasn't really considered a puncher.
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Old 05-27-2009, 07:08 PM   #2
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Default Re: For anyone who never saw Brian Mitchell at his peak...

Since I brought it up, here's his first fight with Lopez. I always thought Mitchell had the edge (as did most other people), but score for yourself and decide who should've won.

BORKED

BORKED

BORKED

BORKED

BORKED
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Old 05-27-2009, 10:22 PM   #3
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Default Re: For anyone who never saw Brian Mitchell at his peak...

Criminally overlooked fighter...I like the Brian Mitchells of this world, there is nothing that stands out about them but they put it all together so well..they are the kind of guys who work bloody hard outside of the ring to perfect their craft and come in 100% fit...I dont recall Mitchell ever coming in soft or having a lacklustre performance because of bad prep.

People look at these kind of fighters and say "so what?"..because they seem so conditioned to expect RJJ athleticism and speed or Tyonesque power from a great fighter...Mitchell didnt have those but that didnt make him any less effective or great.
He took his talent a long way...I wish he could have had the opportunities to take it further.
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Old 05-27-2009, 10:28 PM   #4
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Default Re: For anyone who never saw Brian Mitchell at his peak...

He ought to have played Mel Gibson's part in The Road Warrior. It certainly fit him. A man who earned the right to his title, and one who defended it properly. It's really quite unfair that he's so overlooked given his accomplishments, consistency, and skill-set.
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Old 05-27-2009, 10:32 PM   #5
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Default Re: For anyone who never saw Brian Mitchell at his peak...

For years I was at a loss to what Americans were talking about when they said Mel Gibson was in a movie called the Road Warrior...I thought it was some cult classic that was never released in Australia but everyone had seen it in the States.

Whats wrong with the title MAD MAX?

It sums it up so well...the titles character's name was Max and he was mad as a cut snake.
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Old 05-27-2009, 10:58 PM   #6
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Default Re: For anyone who never saw Brian Mitchell at his peak...

I'd been wanting to seen footage of Brian Mitchell for ages. He's one of the many forgotten champs from "inappropriate" countries, doomed never to attain stardom.
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Old 05-28-2009, 12:57 AM   #7
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Default Re: For anyone who never saw Brian Mitchell at his peak...

Great post! I was actually at the McDonnell fight all those years ago. Mitchell was a real technician and an excellent counterpuncher. Beat Jim and Lopez handily. Very underappreciated boxer.
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Old 05-28-2009, 01:00 AM   #8
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Default Re: For anyone who never saw Brian Mitchell at his peak...

Quote:
Originally Posted by The Kurgan View Post
I'd been wanting to seen footage of Brian Mitchell for ages. He's one of the many forgotten champs from "inappropriate" countries, doomed never to attain stardom.
Yep, the fight with Jimmy Mac was before the end of apartheid and Mitchell definitely suffered due to his country's politics. I actually was sitting next to some of his S African supporters at the fight and they were getting some stick from other people there.
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Old 05-28-2009, 01:02 AM   #9
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Default Re: For anyone who never saw Brian Mitchell at his peak...

Didn't Mitchell only lose a single fight his entire career, fairly early on?

He very well could have been undefeated. Off the top of my head I think he was 40 something and 1?
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Old 05-28-2009, 01:21 AM   #10
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Default Re: For anyone who never saw Brian Mitchell at his peak...

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Originally Posted by WhataRock View Post
For years I was at a loss to what Americans were talking about when they said Mel Gibson was in a movie called the Road Warrior...I thought it was some cult classic that was never released in Australia but everyone had seen it in the States.

Whats wrong with the title MAD MAX?

It sums it up so well...the titles character's name was Max and he was mad as a cut snake.
The original Mad Max wasn't that big in the US when it first came out. When the sequel was made, it was given a new name in the US to disassociate it from the original. As a result, it performed very well.
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Old 05-28-2009, 09:27 AM   #11
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Default Re: For anyone who never saw Brian Mitchell at his peak...

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Originally Posted by Russell View Post
Didn't Mitchell only lose a single fight his entire career, fairly early on?

He very well could have been undefeated. Off the top of my head I think he was 40 something and 1?
45-1-3, with one of those draws being questionable and two of them being avenged. His only loss was to a 15-6-2 Transvaal champion when he had only 6 fights; tragically, he killed that boxer in the rematch.
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Old 05-28-2009, 07:07 PM   #12
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Default Re: For anyone who never saw Brian Mitchell at his peak...

I too thought Mitchell deserved the decision in the first Lopez fight. Thanks for posting those vids, Mitchell is one of my favorite fighters....the McDonell fight is a great display of Brian's skillset, but in my opinion his greatest showcase was the Jackie Beard rematch, I have it somewhere. It was a little later than the McDonnell fight, but to me that was Brian's peak fight. He was amazing in that fight.
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Old 05-29-2009, 03:13 AM   #13
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Default Re: For anyone who never saw Brian Mitchell at his peak...

Quote:
Originally Posted by Russell View Post
Didn't Mitchell only lose a single fight his entire career, fairly early on?

He very well could have been undefeated. Off the top of my head I think he was 40 something and 1?
Yes, that was to a fighter called Jacob "Dancing shoes" Morake. Morake had a style that gave Mitchell quite a few problems, and they had three great fights.
Sadly, Morake died in their last fight, which almost caused Mitchell to hang them up.

My2Sense...thanks a ton for posting these videos. I haven't seen them in many years, and I'm definitely saving these to my PC. I wasn't even aware there were Mitchell videos available on Youtube.
I checked a few years back, but found nothing.

What always seperated Mitchell from the vast majority of South African fighters was his in-born confidence. He always had that steely look in his eyes, and never believed that he could lose.
A great character trait to have, especially considering the conditions he was forced to fight under.
He was good over the 12 round distance, but even better over 15 rounds. He generally started slowly, and accelerated the pace in the latter rounds.

His biggest problem was that later in his career, he suffered a lot from cuts.
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Old 05-29-2009, 03:56 AM   #14
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Default Re: For anyone who never saw Brian Mitchell at his peak...

What kind of style did Morake have?
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Old 05-29-2009, 06:10 AM   #15
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Default Re: For anyone who never saw Brian Mitchell at his peak...

Quote:
Originally Posted by Russell View Post
What kind of style did Morake have?
He was a smooth, fluid boxer, and if I'm not mistaken, a southpaw at that.
Morake wasn't much of a puncher, but he had enough pop to sting and cut you. He loved to showboat and was notorious for letting a guy back into the fight because of excessive showboating.
The Ali shuffle was a favourite of his, hence the nickname "dancing shoes."
He and Mitchell had a great rivalry going, and in a bizarre twist of fate, Morake declared to friends before his fateful fight with Mitchell, that he'd rather die than lose the fight.

Mitchell didn't like fighting tall boxers with great movement. I went to watch him fight a journeyman called Felipe Oroszco at Sun City, and Mitchell squeaked home on a split decision.
Okay, Mitchell was off and it was a non-title fight, but Oroszco's style gave him problems.
He never had problems with strong pressure fighters, but occasionally he'd meet a slippery boxer who would make him look ordinary.

Incidently, Mitchell was one of the few white guys to ply his trade in our black townships back then, something that served him well when he found himself on the road, defending his title in sometimes hostile environments.
He eventually became very popular with the black crowds, who called him a 'black boxer in a white skin.'
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