Shannon Briggs vs. Wladimir Klitschko - A Fight Wladimir Will Not Win

30.06.06 - By Karen Belford: Hello East Side People, it's good to be back. Today, I want to discuss the latest boxing news about a possible bout between IBF heavyweight champion Wladimir Klitschko and Shannon Briggs (47-4-1, 41 KO's). Now, for starters, both of these fighters were far from perfect earlier in their careers, having lost three fight to four fights each, respectively..

However, both of them have rebounded strongly from past defeats, with Briggs, 34, winning his last 11 fights, albeit against less than stellar competition; while Wladimir, 30, has won his last four fights, beating Samuel Peter and Chris Byrd, along the way. Even so, none of those fighters are anywhere near as good as Briggs, a fighter almost as tall as Wladimir, but with more power.

Despite both of these fighters having almost identical records, this match up heavily favors Briggs and here's why: Briggs, for his part, punches equally as hard as Wladimir, if not harder with his right hand, while Brigg's left hook may even be a more devastating punch than Wladimir's.

Even worse, Briggs can throw the left hook with accuracy and power, even while backing up and retreating from an opponent, making him especially dangerous. Also, he's a natural counter-puncher, so getting within punching range and landing, usually has it's drawbacks.

If that wasn't enough, Brigg's, something often overlooked when analyzing him, is one of the best in the entire division. In fact, Briggs can control a fight with his long reach and jab alone, if he wants to. That fact alone, spells doom for Wladimir, just like his fight with Corrie Sanders. Why his people want for Wladimir to fight someone as talented and dangerous as Briggs, I have no idea.

Recently, there was mention by Emanuel Steward, Wladimir's trainer that they were interested in a fight with James Toney, but it looks as if that is no longer being considered. I think if I were Wladimir, I would push for that fight, or someone a little easier, because I don't think he can defeat Briggs. Certainly, Wladimir has the offensive skills to defeat Briggs, probably quite easily if Briggs wasn't firing back.

Nevertheless, to be able to beat Briggs, you have to be able to take a lot of punishment, especially in the early rounds when he's throwing really hard punches with both hands. Although far from perfect, Briggs has, strangely enough, actually gotten better over the years, and, in fact, is even more dangerous at 34, than he was when he was in his early 20's. So, why isn't he a champion already, you may ask? Well, I have no idea. In researching this article, I discovered that Briggs has spent time doing quite a lot of things, from a career in movies to fighting in the K-1, so, I think, his reluctance to get serious about his career likely stems from his wide focus on life rather than anything to do with his abilities as a fighter.

More to the point, Briggs could likely have been a heavyweight champion long ago, if that were his main focus, for I think he's got far better skills than fighters like Vitali Klitschko, Lamon Brewster, Chris Byrd, Hasim Rahman, John Ruiz, Wladimir Klitschko and Evander Holyfield. Believe me, if Briggs had fought any of those fighters by now, he'd be a champion, easily.

It's strange, though, he even looks and acts like a champion, with his towering presence, his sense of regal bearing, his gold dreadlocks on top of his head, looking like crown for a king. He should be the champion, based on his looks, and, of course, his talent and fighting ability. Moreover, he's very likeable, possibly the most charismatic heavyweight in the entire division, just something about him, that draws you to him.

Now, on paper, this fight would seem to an easy win for Wladimir, seeing that Brigg's best wins of his career was a controversial 12-round decision over George Foreman, then 48-years-old and appearing in his last fight, and a 7th round knockout over 44-year-old Ray Mercer, in August 2005. Aside from that, Briggs came close to stopping Lennox Lewis, in their bout in March 1998. However, after being briefly stunned by a couple of hard right hand shots from Briggs in the early round, Lewis decided he'd had enough of it, and started firing back with his own right hands, dropping Briggs three times before the referee stopped the bout in the 5th round.

However, Briggs has put on a solid 40 lbs of rock-hard muscle since than, and punches much harder with either hand. In fact, I'd compare Brigg's power with that of a young George Foreman. When Brigg's lands a punch, the sound of the impact is quite stunning, while at the same time, somewhat scary. Since packing on the muscle, Briggs has recorded 12 consecutive stoppages, dating back to 2002.

Based on all of this, I think Wladimir is making a big mistake, if he were to take this fight. He's just not in the same class as Briggs, at least in regards to his chin or his defensive ability. Although, don't get it twisted, I think Wladimir's offense is quite extraordinary, but for him to win this fight, he will have to be able to trade shots with Briggs, and I have serious reservations about his ability to do so.

All in all, if Wladimir can't take the hard shots by someone like Corrie Sanders, then how could he even hope to stand up to a fighter that punches as equally hard as Sanders? I'll answer it for you - he can't. I see Briggs coming out strong, taking the fight to Wladimir, and forcing him to back up under the pressure from the attack. Wladimir, desperately fighting for survival, will force clinch after clinch, but eventually, Briggs will catch Wladimir against the ropes, with no place to go, and will unload with a barrage of devastating unanswered punches, before impaling Wladimir with one final right hand bomb, causing him to slowly sink to the canvas, like a big ship going down for the final time.

Prediction: Briggs by 3rd round knockout.

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Article posted on 01.07.2006

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