Oscar De La Hoya says that Golden Boy has plans in place for the next fight in the career of American heavyweight prospect Seth "Mayhem" Mitchell, but no set opponent for the former Michigan State football standout's next bout. One possible name, De La Hoya says (via BoxingScene.com), is veteran Michael Grant:
"We’ve discussed a possible fight with Michael Grant, for instance, who’s a 6-7, 6-8, big solid heavyweight with a great record. We’ve discussed many opponents. It’s just a matter of sitting down with Seth’s team and nailing down the next time."
"Great record' is a bit of a stretch if you're thinking like a real person and not just a guy who sells fights to rubes, marks, damnfools, and dummies, but despite my quick jab at the idea that Grant has a "great record" just because he's 48-4 (36 KO), I will say that I think this is a perfectly acceptable next step for Mitchell (25-0-1, 19 KO). Last night on HBO, Mitchell stormed back from first round adversity to stop Chazz Witherspoon in the third round in a hell of an entertaining battle.
Grant, 39, doesn't really have a whole lot left, but here's the thing: He can still punch, and his size is the real deal. Mitchell, 29, has never been in with someone who has those dimensions, and that's a trick he's going to have to master. It's a stepping stone fight in theory, but I think there's real value there. If Mitchell flattens him early, then great, you move on. If he has trouble and wins, then he learns something. And it's not out of the question that he could lose. There is some risk there, same as there was last night, same was there was against Timur Ibragimov.
Mitchell has a potentially very bright future. This guy's not just empty hype. But he's still very much a work-in-progress, and Grant has settled into his role as a veteran heavyweight pretty nicely. He's currently on a two-fight win streak, with knockout victories over fellow tall guy Tye Fields and fellow old guy who never quite made it to the top Frans Botha. He's lost just once since 2003, and that was a decision to Tomasz Adamek in 2010.
Thumbs up or down for this idea? I like it fine, but I'm not going to throw a party over it, and I could see some folks not in favor of it, seeing it as either a step back or too much of a sideways step.