KEVIN MITCHELL w rsf 8 JOHN MURRAY
July 16, 2011; Echo Arena, Liverpool
IT had been 14 months since an infamously ill-prepared Kevin Mitchell had succumbed in three anti-climactic rounds to Michael Katsidis inside a packed Upton Park. Though plenty of educated voices fancied the Londoner, he was the bookies underdog against unbeaten Mancunian John Murray, seen then as the city’s next Ricky Hatton with good reason: The ferocious and tenacious pressure fighter had worked his way to 31-0 and was on the brink of a world title shot. What followed was a brutal and thrilling lightweight slugfest that is often overlooked when great British fights are mentioned. Mitchell was arguably never better as the resistance was pummelled out of Murray in a bout fought with equal measures of skill, abandon and bloody-mindedness.
DID YOU KNOW? Between the Katsidis and Murray encounters, Mitchell not only blew thousands of pounds in pubs and on all manner of trouble, he also had an operation on his right eye. “They took my eye half out, cut it open, sewed the muscle back up,” he told The Guardian in 2011.
WATCH OUT FOR: The thrills and spills come later in the bout but clues to the outcome can be found as early as the opening round: Mitchell exhibits versatility while going toe-to-toe, yet Murray’s attacks, though relentless, are too often crude and rushed.