Klitschko holds more claim than Briggs for the “man” honors!

23.03.07 - By Izyaslav “Slava” Koza: Lately there has been more and more sound off in regards to Shannon Briggs and his to being the best heavyweight in the boxing world today. Of course, the speculation and arguing are trivial relative to dare I suggest an argument in the ring, but for the sake of the Briggs supporters, I figured it was necessary to give some perspective on this less then honest viewpoint..

The main reason that Briggs entourage claims he is the best heavyweight in the boxing world, perhaps, is that Shannon took down the man (Lyakhovich), who beat Brewster, who, in turn, beat Wladimir Klitschko) and thereby somehow suggest the inequality Briggs>Klitschko. While this may seem theoretically plausible, an in depth look into the situation reveals a clearer (or more muddled depending on your eyesight) snapshot.

At the time that Brewster knocked out Klitschko, the younger of the two PhD’s was nowhere near close to being considered the man. Klitschko was coming off a win against “perennial poor man’s Butterbean” Fabio Eduardo Moli and the severly washed up Dannell Nicholson (who never fought again after losing to the Steelhammer).

Of course, if somebody were to bring up Nicholson’s one time split decision victory over John Ruiz, who at that point was a belt holder, I guess some concessions can be made, but even so, that all went out the window since Vitali Klitschko beat Corrie Sanders soon after to become the ring champ. So when Brewster beat the so-called man, Klitschko was just a contender on his way back from a crushing defeat, and thereby the win was not as significant as the Briggs backers wish to believe.

If there are those who are not convinced by this line of reasoning, then perhaps that is exactly what I expected since the next point brings us to a bout between Shannon Briggs and Jameel McCline. In April of 2002, Brigg’s stablemate, Jameel McCline, easily handled the Cannon over 10-rounds, knocking Shannon down in the 6th, en route to an easy unanimous decision. At the time, Briggs was of course nowhere near the top even by those heavyweight boxing standards, so thereby the stoppage Klitschko put on McCline in his very next bout does not bear as much significance as Briggs win over Lyakhovich.

The question that begs to be asked is, “Why does a loss by Wladimir as a contender bare significance when he is vying for top dog honors, but the same setback doesn’t apply to Briggs, who some also wish to push forth as the best heavy today?”

The Briggs backers will claim Shannon was not in top form and had back problems, yet mock Klitschko for sugar, vaseline or whatever other excuses he made. The point being, of course, to make it seem as if Brigg’s was not proven to be the lesser man against McCline, while Klitschko was definitely shown to be worse against Brewster. Were it to matter, I would dare ask anyone which of the two losers were doing better in their bouts.

Anyway, it doesn’t matter because, as I see it, there is not much difference between one form of self gratifying excuse-making and another. Furthermore, Briggs didn’t beat Lamon Brewster, the guy who stopped Klitschko, while Wladimir beat Mccline, who was the guy who actually decisioned Briggs, and I didn’t even factor forward Sedrick Fields (8-round decision over Briggs) or Ross Puritty (tko 11 over Klitschko) into the equation. Neither did I mention that two of Klitschko’s last three victims also beat “Big Time” McCline.

The point here is arguments of the ABC type hold no merit, but current accomplishments do if the two fighters have not met up directly. Klitschko’s last four opponents wipe the floor with three of Briggs last four, Lyakhovich of course being the exception. As far as I am concerned, there is no champion in the heavyweight boxing division, and I am sure most fans feel the same, but if I was asked who lays the best claim to being the #1 contender without hesitation I would proclaim Klitschko seeing as his body of work as of late has been head and shoulders above any other heavyweight fighter. Of course, with the HBO television network backing, I wouldn’t expect much less, but then again how many times have we seen Roy Jones’ or Floyd Mayweather’ handpicked "oponents" on that very same channel?

As of now, Klitschko is the best heavyweight in the world, but as he himself points out, he is not the champion.

Article posted on 24.03.2007

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