Sergei Liakhovich vs Shannon Briggs Nov 4 on Showtime

sergei liakhovich05.09.06 - By Jim Amato: According to SHOWTIME, WBO heavyweight champion Sergei Liakhovich will defend his crown against former linear heavyweight title holder Shannon Briggs on November 4th.

Briggs was respectful enough to recognize that Sergei is "the man who beat the man". He feels Sergei is the true champion because he beat Lamon Brewster who beat Wladimir Klitschko. Although Briggs won a highly disputed decision over George Foreman years ago, that win made him the " man " at that time. Foreman had defeated Michael Moorer who had beaten Evander Holyfield who had stopped Mike Tyson. Eventually Briggs was halted by Lennox Lewis giving Lennox a clear claim to being a linear champion..

Briggs has an impressive 47-4-1 record but on close examination it is quite inflated. Take away the Foreman win and the loss to Lewis and you have many wins over journeyman fighters and a few damaging losses.

Shannon was an accomplished amateur who turned pro in 1992. He won 25 straight going into 1996. Then he met undefeated Darroll Wilson and his chin was exposed as he was bombed out in round three.

Four straight kayo wins led to the Foreman match. Shannon won a majority decision by scores of 117-113, 116-112 and 114-114. I thought Big George won. So did a lot of other people. Then again maybe it was poetic justice since I felt George was given a gift verdict over Axel Schultz. The loss to Briggs was George's last fight.

Next up for Briggs was a shot at Lennox Lewis and the WBC title. Shannon started well and even rocked Lewis early but Shannon would hit the canvas three times and lose in the fifth round.

A year later Shannon would fight an exciting draw with Frans Botha. Two fights later he would lose a decision to Sedrick Fields, a boxer with a 9-9 record at the time. Briggs would then knockout four less then stellar opponents and then be matched with Jameel " Big Time " McCline. Jameel dominated Briggs winning 99-90 on all three cards.

Since the loss to McCline in 2002 Shannon has posted eleven straight knockouts. My question is, who has he really beaten ? In 2005 he did score a somewhat impressive KO over an aged but once formidable Ray Mercer. His other ten foes were far from contender status.

Shannon is a big heavyweight at 6'4" and around 260 to 270 pounds. He has fairly fast hands and decent boxing skills. I think his chin is a big, big question mark here. I feel Shannon would have fared better in a match against Wladimir Klitschko. To me both of them have shaky chins so it would have come down to who got in the first good shot.

Sergei chin stood up to the bombs of Lamon Brewster who is a brutal puncher. Sergei is also an effective body puncher. I don't think Shannon likes being hit in the bread basket. Briggs weighed 227 for Foreman and a pound heavier for Lewis. He weighed 273 for his last fight against Chris Koval. Shannon carries the weight well but it has diminished one of his best assets, speed.

After a couple of interesting early rounds, I look for Sergei to settle into his rhythm and take control. Shannon will have his moments but Sergei will mix his attack from body to head. By the middle rounds Shannon will slow down significantly and begin to take some serious punishment.

My prediction...Liakhovich inside of ten rounds.

Article posted on 05.09.2006

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