Is it Time for Shannon Briggs to stop lifting weights?

shannon briggs04.06.07 - By Gary Jones: After watching Saturday's night's poor performance by Shannon Briggs where he slowly plodded around the ring, barely able to throw a handful often out of breath from having to carry his huge 273 lbs frame, it seems it's time for Shannon to stop lifting weights and immediately lose 40 lbs of excess muscle so he can put his boxing career back together.

Briggs, once an exciting fighter, is no longer effective since putting on all the muscle, which has slowed his punch output to a trickle. On Saturday night, Briggs, 35, was barely able to throw a pitiful 10 punches and the majority of them were jabs. Like in his last fight against Liakhovich, Briggs came off looking musclebound, slow and old.

Years ago, when Briggs was much lighter, he was an active fighter capable of fighting hard for an entire bout. Brigg's fought the first nine years of his professional boxing career between 220-230 lbs, and during that time, he complied a record of 35-3-1, with 29 KO's.

During that time, Briggs was an busy fighter, often throwing 40-60 hard punches per round without signs of fatigue. However, starting in 2001, Briggs suddenly ballooned up to 251 and from then on, he quickly moved to 270 lbs. What made it all the stranger, though, was that it was all muscle and that it had been put on so quickly.

For example, in December 2001, Briggs weighed 251 for his bout with Reynaldo Minus, yet only four months later in April 2002, Briggs weighed a whopping 268 lbs for his bout with Jameel McCline. The weight gain was all muscle, not fat, and didn't appear to make him a better judging from Brigg's pedestrian performance against McCline.

As it turned out, Briggs was only capable of fighting hard for several rounds against McCline, quickly tiring out and losing a lopsided 10-round decision. From there on, Briggs continued to stay huge, keeping his weight in the 260-270 pound range for his next 13 bouts up to his fight with Ibragimov on last Saturday night. Briggs, however, was able to mask the ill effects of the added weight gain by fighting primarily 2nd tier fighters up until meeting with Serguei Lyakhovich in November 2006. That bout showed that Briggs, though still a hard puncher, had dramatically declined as a fighter capable of fighting hard for the duration of a bout.

It was nothing short of remarkable that he actually won the fight, given his inability to throw more than 10 punches a round. However, Liakhovich, who had appeared inexperienced fighting under the big lights and seemed deathly afraid of Briggs all fight long, basically gave the fight to him by coming at him in the 12th round and getting hit with one Brigg's powerful right hands. Brigg's rightfully should have lost the fight because he lost almost every round of the fight and wasn't the better fighter of the two.

Against Ibragimov, this was the case again, except this time, Briggs was even slower and more musclebound than previously. Ibragimov, no doubt learning from Liakhovich's mistakes, stayed on the outside for most of the bout, and picking spots to throw flurries at the slow moving Briggs.

Now, having watched both of Brigg's last two fights, it seems absurd that he was foolish enough to go into both bouts weighing as much as he did. The muscle, although fine looking if he were to be entered into an amateur bodybuilding competition for older men, clearly isn't suited for boxing. There are, of course, plenty of boxers that are hugely muscled, but those fighters have the benefit of having fought that way from the very beginning of their career and not suddenly having become overly muscular 10 years into their career.

Whatever the case, Briggs needs to take this loss to Ibragimov as a wake up call that he needs to drop his obsession with weight lifting because it doesn't serve him, and probably never has. He may think that it makes him punch harder, but if he's only capable of throwing 10 punches per round, what good is it? Without the huge muscles, Briggs punched plenty hard early in his career, in fact, compiling an impressive record of 35-3-1, 29 KO's during the first 10 years of his career before becoming huge. Based on this, Briggs never really needed to put on the muscle in the first place, and really wasted his time and potentially damaged his career with the useless pursuit of large muscles. It's not too late to turn things around, I think, if Briggs can take off the weight.

However, if the muscles were put on by the use of steroids or growth hormone, something that is frequently mentioned in internet boxing forums, then it would make it harder for Briggs to compete if he were to suddenly lose the weight. Hopefully, the muscles are natural, in which case all Briggs needs to do is back off on his weight lifting and to concentrate more on aerobics so he can trim off the useless muscle.

Article posted on 05.06.2007

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