Boxing


Shannon Briggs: ďDavid Haye is next up for a great ass-whipping after I take care of VitaliĒ

by Geoffrey Ciani - This weekís 93rd edition of On the Ropes Boxing Radio featured an exclusive interview with former two time heavyweight champion Shannon Briggs (51-5-1, 45 KOs) who is preparing to challenge WBC champion Vitali Klitschko (40-2, 38 KOs) on October 16 in Hamburg, Germany. Briggs spoke about his upcoming fight and also provided insight and opinions on his career and other matters pertaining to the current boxing landscape. Here is what he had to say:

On how excited he is to get the opportunity to challenge Vitali Klitschko for his WBC heavyweight title:

ďOh Iím super excited. This is a dream come true for me. After taking a couple of years off and walking away from boxing, Iím back. After four fights Iím actually fighting for the WBC heavyweight championship of the world. Itís the same belt Muhammad Ali held, and Iím looking forward to it. Itís going to be a great night of boxing and Iím looking forward to bringing the heavyweight championship back to America.Ē

On whether he feels he is ready for the challenge to face Vitali Klitschko:

ďIím 100% ready. I mean it was no surprise to me. Iím a two-time former heavyweight champion. Iíve been in four heavyweight championship fights. This isnít my first rodeo and Iím looking forward to it. Why not me? To be honest with you Jenna, like I told you once before, ĎIf not me, who?í I donít think there is another heavyweight alive right now thatís as capable as me to win the title, especially here in America.Ē

On previous claims he made back in May that he was not going to rush into a title shot and what has changed since:

ďThe opportunity presented itself. Iím 38 years old. Iíve been boxing professionally for eighteen years. I turned pro July 24, 1992 and shots come and go. If you look at Povetkin, he was presented with an opportunity. He felt he wasnít ready. Heís an inexperienced guy, but here I am and I have the experience. Itís all about how seriously and how badly I want it, and I want it really bad. So I had to take the opportunity and jump on it and thatís what Iím doing.Ē

On how it would feel to win the WBC in his second attempt after he lost against Lennox Lewis the in his first bid for that belt:

ďWell that belt is a very significant belt and it would be a very important belt for me to have, but you have to understand at the same time that I was actually defending my lineal heavyweight championship as well. So it wasnít just that I was trying to get that belt. I was also defending mine, but unfortunately I came up in second place that night. But yeah, Iím looking forward to it. Itís a dream come true to get another shot at it. Iím going to take full advantage and this is it. Iím going to go after it and Iím going to bring it home.Ē

His views on Vitali Klitschko as a fighter:

ďI think heís a phenomenal fighter. Heís very talented, heís very well trained, heís a real strong guy. I think heís a much stronger guy mentally than his brother Wladimir. He accepted the challenge whereas for many years Wladimir ducked me, and he has chosen to fight smaller weaker opposition in fear that Iím a puncher. Emanuel Steward knows me very well. He once trained me so he knows what Wladimir will be up against, and again, I feel as though Wladimir is mentally weak especially compared to his brother, so he wasnít up for the challenge. His brother took it on. Iím very impressed. I think heís a great champion, definitely a future Hall of Famer, and I have nothing but the utmost respect for his boxing ability and skills.Ē

On whether he believes Vitali Klitschko is the best heavyweight champion in the world right now:

ďVitali, yeah. As far as the current belt holders, if you look at his brother and you look at David Haye, I think heís the best of them all. Heís proven his toughness against Lennox Lewis. Heís proven he can outbox guys like Sam Peter with ease. He took on a young inexperienced Arreola and Kevin Johnson, but he handled those guys like he was supposed to do. He was also very smart to take on Arreola before he got too much mentally going, and Kevin Johnson as well. Even with me, he talked about how he wanted to have a fight. That was kind of the plan. They looked at it like Shannon is on a role, letís get him now before he starts taking off. But it was all a ploy to be honest with you. Itís kind of like a dug a hole and put grass over it, and they fell right in it. I think that on October 17 they will realize that was the wrong choice, but they called me so thatís the good news. They wonít have anyone to blame but themselves.Ē

On whether he believes he will be able to land a big shot on Klitschko early in the fight like Corrie Sanders did when he stunned Vitali in round one of their fight:

ďYeah, I think so. I think itís highly possible, but I can do it all Jenna. I can box. I can punch. Iím a boxer/puncher so the game plan is to win and do whatever it takes. If itís attack, itís attack; if itís boxing, itís boxing. There is no one way to do it. So Iím looking at just winning the fight. Thatís all it is. Whatever I have to do, Iíll do. Iím looking at the great fight between Ray Leonard and Thomas Hearns. It was a fight where Ray tried to box and then at one point he realized he had to go inside, and thatís what I will do if I need to.Ē

On whether the has extra motivation given the fact many fans and members of the media are counting him out in this fight:

ďI mean if you look at my career and the times when Iíve won big against Foreman and Liakhovich, both times I was counted out. From day one, when I went to the boxing gym Geoff, because of the fact that Iím asthmatic Iíve always been told that it wasnít for me. But here I am today, 38 years old and Iím a two-time heavyweight champion of the world. If I listened to people, Geoff, I wouldnít be on the phone right now to be honest with you.Ē

On whether he agrees with some members of the media who have said his best chance to beat Klitschko is to go for broke with an early assault:

ďNot really. If you go in there looking for a knockout, to be honest with you, it never happens. You have to open the door for that, which means make things happen. Of course Iím going to see where his heart and his chin are at. Thatís my plan, and has always been for my fifty-eight fights that Iíve been in. At the same time man, all the experts and the people that commentóI read the comments in the comment sectionóand all of the so-called experts, theyíve never boxed a day in their lives. The closest theyíve been to gloves is when it snows outside, so I donít pay attention to what people say. Itís just funny, actually.Ē

On whether he has been working on his body attack for his fight with Klitschko:

ďYeah, Iíve been working on every attack to be honest with you Geoff. I feel as though I cannot leave anything at home, I canít leave anything on the road. This is a fight where itís history, man. Iíd rather give it to this guy like nobody else has given it to him. Iíd rather be 100% prepared to put my life on the line, because thatís what this means to me. Winning this title will change my legacy and change history, and more importantly, it will not only bring the title back to America but it will prove to all asthmatics around the world that anything is possible. I was a kid that was counted out from day one and they said Iíd never succeed in boxing as an asthmatic, and here I am. Iíve been heavyweight champion of the world twice and about to be for the third time. So this is for those people as well.Ē

On whether he thinks winning the title can help make Americans more enthusiastic about boxing:

ďI hope so man. Iím ugly but Iím funny, Geoff. Iíd like to get people to come back and see some boxing and watch some very entertaining fights. One thing about me and my fights, other than one or two of them Iím pretty much action-packed. In the Liakhovich fight, I was suffering from an asthma attack from the first round which I still won. It was a great dramatic ending. In the Sultan Ibragimov, I felt that fight was boring. Those were some of my dull performances, but with that being said, Iíd like to bring some action to the heavyweight division. I like put it on the line and to jump out there in the first, second, third, and fourth round and try to give it all I have, and I love that if thatís possible. Iím going to do the best I can to entertain the people and thatís my job, is to win. A lot fighters go down as guys who werenít exciting in the ring. Hopefully, in my next fight and my future fights to come, Iíll be one of those guys who theyíll say put it all on the line and gave it his all.Ē

His thoughts on going over to Germany to fight for the title:

ďOh I feel great about that. I like Germany. I was over there a few weeks ago for the press conference, and I figure I have more fans than he does over there. I had a great time. I had a lot of laughs. Iím a go anywhere type of person. Iím the type of guy if the terrorists capture me, after a couple of days theyíll let me go. You know what Iím saying. I just have some fun. I had a great time and I look forward to going back, and entertaining, and doing my thing and winning the title. Iím not worried at all. Someone asked me if I was worried about the judging, not at all. Right now I feel like heavyweight boxing lives in Germany and I donít think with all eyes looking at Germany and looking at the Klitschkos they would do something like rob me or something like that. Iím looking forward to it.Ē

His views on the upcoming title fight between WBA heavyweight champion David Haye and challenger Audley Harrison:

ďDavid Haye is lucky and fortunate that he fought the sleeping giant and he got through that fight. He should have been fighting Holyfield because Holyfield, I felt, beat Valuev. Itís a great choice for him to fight Audley Harrison in England. Thatís a great fight for the UK and for him. No matter what anyone says, that was great thinking. I mean why fight a Holyfield or something now and risk it all, even against an older Holyfield. David Haye is very disrespectful. He talked his way into the title, and unfortunately he won it. He actually put out a video comment about me saying that, calling me Shannon ĎI need my asthma pumpí Briggs. A lot of people didnít find that funny because there are a lot of asthmatic people around the world that find that to be disrespectful and look up to the fact that Iíve become champion. That being said, David Haye is next up for a great ass-whipping after I take care of Vitali.Ē

On whether he intends to try and unify all of the titles in the event he wins the WBC belt against Vitali Klitschko:

ďOh, Iím going to win the title Jenna, and thatís the goal. Iím not looking to defend against anyone. Iím looking to fight originally Wladimir and then GayóI mean not ĎGayí, excuse me, Haye. Then Iím going to fight and Haye and then Wladimir and thatís it. Iím going to get out and travel the world and have some fun, and then hopefully you guys will hire me to be on the show with you.Ē

His views on what the heavyweight division needs to do in order to attract more young American stars:

ďI think there needs to be some more lucrative reasons. Thereís a reason why parents donít want their kids to become boxers. If you look at heavyweight boxing, itís not big. Kids are going to play football and basketball and hockey. Parents arenít pushing their kids to become boxers anymore, unlike other countries where you look at the former Soviet Union, they had a huge boxing program. If you look at the Cuban situation, they had a big boxing program. In other countries, they have tended to send their youth into boxing early and that develops champions. Usually right here in America now, with the NFL, the NBA, and Major League Baseball, and other sports, they have such lucrative contracts that before you even play or whatever, before you make it big, that sends more of the kids and our youth to other sports instead of boxing.Ē

His views on whether boxing was hurt since the potential mega bout between Manny Pacquiao and Floyd Mayweather has not happened:

ďI mean it would have been great for the sport for it to happen this fall or this winter, but unfortunately it didnít happen. I think Pacquiaoís doing the right thing by staying busy and moving along, and not waiting and just doing what he has to do for himself. I think thatís great. Thatís what boxingís all about. A lot of great fights were never made. You guys have to understand that. A lot of great fights in the past were never made, dream fights. Thatís why they call them Ďdream fightsí. What would have happened if this person fought that person, but that didnít happen. In years to come, people look back and say Ďwhat ifí. Who would have won? And it would go on forever. Like who would have won between Ali and this person, like Marciano. But we may find out, we may not. I think itís more likely to happen now with Mayweather having some personal problems outside the ring. It may show him that he needs to focus on the big picture, what heís great at. Heís a phenomenal fighter, and maybe heíll realize that and get back in the ring and fight Pacquiao.Ē

His views on the upcoming fight between Manny Pacquiao and Antonio Margarito:

ďOh, thatís a great fight. I was just looking at a website, I think it was East Side Boxing, and I was just talking about that fight and I was like, ĎWow, this is amazing, this is a great fightí. I think that Margarito is going to be in the best shape of his life. He knows that heís coming off of his suspension, and I donít even think heís fully off his suspension and open to fight in every state. I think heís going to take full advantage of this and heís going to jump out and make the best of the opportunity.Ē

On whether he was surprised that he received the opportunity to fight Klitschko for the title:

ďYeah, kind of, sort of, but to be honest with you man, Iíve always been the type of person Geoff that set out and made things happen. Iím a big dreamer, man. I believe if you put something into a dream it can happen. You just got to be steady about it, and thatís what I did. When I retired, and I called myself retired after I walked away from the Sultan Ibragimov loss. I was just pretty much looking to do other things and it hit me that I could beat these guys. I can come back and shock the world as George Foreman did and change my history. So I set out, I called up Greg Cohen and I told him look, I got an idea. Letís start a company together. We started Empire, and today, Empire is up and running strong. I have some great fighters and some great fights on the horizon aside from my fight, and it was all a dream and itís happening. Iím surprised, but my whole entire life has been that way. Iím always dreaming about having a home, dreaming about having a wife, dreaming about having kids, and I made it all possible. So I donít want to sleep on the train to be on the plane and sitting back, not owning the plane but being on the plane and going to many places. I wanted it. I stepped out and got in shape. I was 340 pounds. Iím down now to 248 pounds. I feel like itís nothing new to me. You put it out there, you make it happen, you work hard towards it, and it will come true. Iím living proof that dreams come true, from homeless to heavyweight champion two times, and Iím about to be champion for the third time. So Iím surprised, but not really. Iím not surprised at all to be honest with you.Ē

On whether he believes a victory against Klitschko can become his career defining moment:

ď100%. It will, but at the same time Iím already satisfied. Itís great for the boxing world, but again man, I hate to beat a dead horseóbut as an asthmatic born premature, two pounds at birth. Here I am, 248 pounds today, 6í4Ē in height. This is a dream come true, man. I mean I already did it. I already did what people dream about, especially with a kid with a disease who never went to school. I didnít get an education, and here I am today and Iím already fighting for my third heavyweight championship. It will be a shocker for those in boxing, but I think for those who already see and know where I come from and know me, theyíre already satisfied and Iím satisfied. Iím just trying to put icing on the cake and a couple of more cherries on the cake, but Iím satisfied. I guess it will be shocking to some. Even for me, I set out again for a goal and I did it, and Iím living proof that if you dream it up and if you believe in yourself, donít let the naysayers and the negative people shoot you down. A lot of times I read the comments on East Side Boxing, because I am a fan. Unfortunately I read the comments and I see everything from ĎShannon Briggs is cowardí, to this and that, but Iím living proof that a kid who was born premature, two pounds at birth, can come from sleeping on the train, from sleeping in shelters, my mom dying from a drug overdose, my dad dying in prison that if you donít give upóyou too can be something and overcome. So for the naysayers, you have to realize a lot of people are sitting at home in their motherís basement in front of a computer on the internet bugging. It offends me because boxing is such a hard sport, and I know how hard it is for me with my breathing difficulties and my respiratory problems. I know that itís tough. So to have people make comments, itís easy to do that from behind a computeróto be really rude and disrespectful to someone when you donít work as hard as them. And no matter how hard I work, I still worry and fear about the fact with my asthma, but Iím living proof again if you donít give up and if you stand strong and you have the courage, you can overcome.Ē

On whether he has seen any signs of decline in Vitali Klitschko that he believes can become a factor in this fight:

ďI see a few things. I feel heís in phenomenal shape to be out for three or four years and to beat Sam Peter the way he did. Then again I look at Sam Peter, and no disrespect to him as a fighter. Heís a tough guy, but there are a lot of holes in him as an opponent as far as height and his age. People are saying heís 30 years old. Come on, letís be real. There are a lot of different things. Heís just not skilled enough. What is he going to do, just walk in and throw punches? He fought the Klitschko family three times and heís done the same thing, except for the first one with Wladimir where he had him down. I think that was more due to Wladimirís weak heart and his doubt. If you look at the punches in the first fight when he was down, they were punches that didnít really land clean, but Wladimir was just so terrified. I think that he was great against Sam Peter. He fought him well and it was superb fighting. You look at Chris Arreola. He took him apart. Here was a kid who was inexperienced and didnít really have the skill level. He can only fight one way, and that was going in. You look at Kevin Johnson. Heís another kid who basically doesnít have the punching power and experience to beat Vitali Klitschko with his size, experience, and punching power. You look at Albert Sosnowski and you wonder how he even got the fight. The guy I think he lost to Zuri Lawrence. He went down against Zuri Lawrence who has like one knockout. Zuriís a great friend of mine, a long time friend of mine and a long time associate, and I like him a lot. But heís not a puncher and Sosnowski I believe was down three times against him, and Sosnowski took him ten rounds. If you ask me about holes? Yes. If you ask me if I feel good about who heís fought? Yes. Does it give me some type of push? Yes. Do I look at the fact that heís running for Mayor of Kiev and do I look at the fact that he looks at my last four opponents? Yes. That all plays into my hands, he may even look at the Ibragimov fight and the Liakhovich fight he might say he would have won them all and looked great. But thatís great because that all plays into my hands. Like I said, I dug a real deep hole, I put grass over it like they used to do in the cartoons, and he walked in and he fell in. They called me. So Iím looking forward to showing them that it was a bad call.Ē

On what he considers to be his biggest strengths against Vitali Klitschko:

ďMy size and my punching power and the fact that Iím not afraid of him. Iím pumped up and motivated. This is the opportunity of a lifetime. This is my Powerball Lotto ticket, and Iím going to take full advantage of it. A lot of guys go over there and I think when they hear the roar of the crowdó50,000, 60,000, 70,000 people yelling for Klitschkos. They bring them up on elevators with smoke. I think they get terrified. Iím looking forward to it. Thatís my type of energy. I canít believe it! I love it! I feel like if the fans are against me or fighting in his home town, thatís just a plus for me. I love it. I have no problem with it. Iím not afraid and Iím prepared. Many times Iíve gone into fights unprepared and afraid if I have an asthma attack. Let me tell you something Jenna, you can go without food or water but you canít go without oxygen. So for me to be doing this and to be at the level Iím doing it at, Iím amazing! I feel like Iím the best fighter who ever lived to some degree. Muhammad Ali didnít have asthma. Ray Robinson didnít have asthma. Manny Pacquiao doesnít have asthma. Floyd Mayweather doesnít have asthma. Here I am, heavyweight champion of the world two times about to be threeónot to give myself a blowjob, but I feel really good about who I am and what I am and with my chances, I feel like Iím going to do it.Ē

On what he expects to weigh on fight night:

ďIím not sure. Like I said, today Iím 248 pounds. I feel great. I havenít been under 250 in about nine years or more. I think when I go to the press conference Iím going to weight on the scale fully nudeófully nude and letting them see it all, letting it all hang out. Theyíre going to be like, wow, Iím in phenomenal shape. Theyíll have twenty-four hours to pull out because Iím going to be in phenomenal shape. Weight wonít be an issue.Ē

His official prediction on his upcoming fight against Vitali Klitschko:

ďIím going to be heavyweight champion of the world. Plan A is to knock him out in the first round, plan B is to knock him out in the second, plan C is to knock him out in the third, and if I donít knock him out at all I plan on beating him every round and thatís my goal.Ē

***




For those interested in listening to the Shannon Briggs interview in its entirety, it begins approximately twenty-eight minutes into the program.

***

For more information about On the Ropes Boxing Radio please visit our website:
http://www.ontheropesboxingradio.com

To contact Geoffrey Ciani or Jenna J:
ontheropes@eastsideboxing.com

To read more by Ciani or Jenna please visit The Mushroom Mag:
http://www.eatthemushroom.com/mag

Article posted on 01.10.2010



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