Shannon Briggs Gets One In A Lifetime Shot At Heavyweight Glory Against Wladimir Klitschko

09.07.06 - By Laz Izada: It was announced Friday that Shannon Briggs will by bypass his July 26th bout, a fight that was supposed to take place for Cedric Kushner’s “Gotham Boxing” in New York City. Instead, according to Emanuel Steward, Wladimir Klitschko’s trainer, the fight between Briggs and Klitschko is on, and will take place on November 11, at Madison Square Garden, in New York City..

Wladimir Klitschko’s IBF Heavyweight title will be on the line, and with both of these heavyweights being pure knockout artists, this could turn out to be the most exciting heavyweight title match this year. For starters, you have two big guys, with Shannon Briggs, a gargantuan 6’4” 270 lbs of pure rock hard muscles, and Wladimir Klitschko, a chiseled 6’6” 245lb towering giant.

Both fighters have similiar records, with Briggs 47-4-1, 41 KO’s) and Klitschko 46-3, 41 KO’s). In the power department, they are almost identical in punching power, although Briggs is the more dangerous fighter in the early rounds due to his faster handspeed and slightly more powerful right hand.

Briggs, a young 34-year-old, is ranked WBO #2, IBF #7, WBA #10, WBC # 8, and holds 3 U.S. Heavyweight belts. In his last bout on May 26, Briggs looked very impressive in dstroying Chris Koval, a tough fighter with a good chin, easily stopping him in the 3rd round, making this Briggs' 11th consecutive knockout. With a weight of 273 lbs, I was very impressed with Briggs new round muscularity, and with his quickness, he looked like a copy of Hercules, as he went in for the kill on Koval.

For those of you that believe that Briggs doesn’t deserve a title shot at Wladimir Klitschko's IBF heavyweight title, you are just dead wrong. Come on, remember how Owen Beck, a fighter with almost zero experience against top flight competition, got a shot against Nikolay Valuev. If that wasn't enough, what about Kevin McBride, who has only had two fights against high level opposition during his career (against Mike Tyson and Davarryl Williamson), will be take on WBO champ, Sergie Liakovich, on August 5th. Despite only fighting two fighters that most people would recognize, McBride is ranked 15th by the WBO, while Briggs is ranked # 2 by the WBO.

Briggs, as far as I'm concerned, is also more exciting than Owen Beck and Kevin McBride, due to the fact that Briggs is a true knockout artist, although he can box, if he wants to, and has much more experience. Believe me, Briggs knows how to put on a good show.

To be sure, it’s been a long journey back for Briggs. However, he's made a lot of progress in a very fast amount of time. For instance, in January of this year, this site posted an interview that I did with him, and he was just breaking back into the rankings at the time. However, within a few weeks, he was named Comeback Fighter of the Year for 2005. Clearly, he deserves this shot because he has been the most active heavyweight in the division during the past year and half, fighting approximately every 45 days. Briggs' manager, Scott Hirsch, and team, have done a wonderful job in his comeback and getting him the title shot.

Look for Briggs and his trainer Jeff Mayweather to prepare well for this once and a lifetime opportunity, as they both have been through the ups and downs during their careers. This is their chance to shine, and they won't mess it up. It won’t be easy, though, taking on Klitscho and Emanuel Steward, but I’m sure they’ll be ready.

Personally, I don’t see this bout going past 5 rounds, so I give the edge to Briggs due to his superior chin. Believe me, Shannon Briggs is a different fighter nowadays compared to the one that lost to Jameel McCline in 2002. Briggs is stronger, much more dedicated and is totally focused. Whereas with Wlad, he had a very difficult time with the inexperienced Samuel Peter, who dropped Wladimir three times and had him ready to go in the 10th round. Comparatively, Briggs is experienced, yet very dangerous in the early rounds. I see Wladimir fighting very cautiously, mostly relying on his excellent jab, a weapon he frequently displayed against Byrd, who was much too little to get past it to get inside. However, I see Briggs picking off Wladimir's jabs and getting inside to land some powerful rights that will bring Klitschko down.

Right or wrong by my part on the outcome, no doubt, fight fans will get an exciting completive bout between these two heavyweight giants.

Article posted on 10.07.2006

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