Briggs takes Klitschko the distance

By Madra Uladh: Vitali Klitschko inflicted some serious punishment on challenger Shannon Briggs Germany tonight, but failed to stop the solid-chinned American. This was a shutout, and despite there being no Knockdowns, Vitali scored at least a couple of 10-8 rounds on his way to this victory.

Asthma was seemingly not a factor, despite pre-fight banter on the subject. Shannon showed considerable heart in surviving the twelve, but at no time in the fight did he land anything meaningful to give Vitali pause. The referee would have been justified in stopping matters after ten, or perhaps even earlier. (Briggsí corner was unlikely to do so, considering the man ís come-from-behind KO of Sergei Liakhovich).

Vitali looked a little short of energy himself as the fight wore on. An earlier version would surely have ended this affair in mid rounds. As his fortieth birthday approaches, it appears the man is not what he was in the finishing department.

Watching tonightís event against another ancient warrior, I get the feeling that he may be ripe for the plucking. This thought might have entered David Hayeís mind as he continues ducking the K-brothers. In time, with continued decline, Vitali will slip to a level where Haye can take him.

This might be an opportune moment for Vitali to hang them up and leave pugilism to the younger Klitschko. Many of us would like to see a unified, undisputed champion, and such a move from Vitali could move things in that direction.

Despite the grumblings of some regarding the overall quality of this fight, both men deserve a measure of respect here. Shannon showed guts and chin in making it to the final bell. And Vitali, for making his sixth dominant title win in two years at near forty and after a four-year lay-off.

For Shannon, this has to be the end. Punishment of the kind he took tonight can cause permanent brain damage. And Vitali should at least consider the benefits to his legacy, such as it is, of going out on a winning note.

Article posted on 17.10.2010

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