Sergei Liakhovich, Shannon Briggs Showtime Conference Call Quotes

19.10.06 - Question: Sergei, how is your training is going?

Liakhovich: Everything is great. Camp is great. It is everything we asked.

Question: You are about to face Shannon Briggs who says he is looking to perfect the art of the one-punch knockout. Tell us a little bit about how you plan to meet that strategy?

Liakhovich: I will have many surprises for him and we will see (them) in the ring. It seems like he thinks he will knock me out in the first round. Bring him in. We will see.

Question: Shannon, do you have any opening comments?

Briggs: Well, sure baby. I am chilling. I am ready to fight. I am happier than a mother! I am so happy, I cannot wait. I cannot wait..

Question: Shannon, there have been reports about some changes that you made in your training and where you train. Can you tell us a little bit about that?

Briggs: We brought in Chuck MacGregor. Chuck is a guy who I have known a long time and for many years. Actually, a few years back, I tried to get Chuck to train me but at the time he was training quite a few other guys. So he did not have the time and I understood that, so it did not work out. Then it just happened to be that we were fighting here in Phoenix and we thought that Chuck would be great to add to the team, so it worked out perfectly. It is great. He used to train this guy, he knows how this guy fights. He knows his personality. So I think it is great, man. I am looking forward to being WBO heavyweight champion Nov. 4 and just being a happy man, going on the shows -- Letterman, Leno -- and really making it happen. But yes, it actually brings some prestige and some life back to boxing; with these dead champions we have got right now, we need it, man.

Question: Shannon, are you still with Jeff Mayweather because there were reports about that as well?

Briggs: Yes, Jeff is on the team. He is still part of my camp. Jeff is a friend, always for life. Rumors are just that -- rumors. Jeff and the whole gang are here.

Question: Sergei, what do you make of this? Does any of it affect what you are going to do?

Liakhovich: Actually, I like what he did. By bring Chuck in, he will play right into my advantage. We are happy to hear about that addition to his team.

Question: Why is this going to work to your advantage?

Liakhovich: Well, basically, we read reports that Chuck is supposed to be the expert trainer that knows me. I have a message: Chuck knows nothing about me. In one year, I have changed quite a bit and I am now with a great trainer, Kenny Weldon. What you are going to see in the ring is something that Chuck has no idea about. So they are just fooling themselves by bringing. But I understand Shannon Briggs needs to feel that way because he is fighting the best champion out there and it is kind of a scary walk out there. He talks the talk. He has a big mouth. I have major plans, you know, basically (knocking him into) the second row.

Question: Sergei, how did you and Kenny get together and what has he brought to your team?

Liakhovich: After I lost my first fight, I had a partner and his ex-manager was Jim Thomas, who was also working with Evander Holyfield at the time, and Ken Weldon was involved with Evander. Basically, Jim Thomas brought up the issue with Kenny. Kenny had seen me and liked what he had seen. He said, ‘He’s got tremendous potential and I would love to train him.’ Also, Holyfield told Kenny, ‘This is a kid to watch for; he can fight.’ So Jim Thomas brought in Kenny Weldon and the rest is history -- we have been with him ever since.

Question: You say "ever since." How long has this been now?

Liakhovich: After I lost the fight in Atlantic City to Mo Harris, we had Kenny take on the duties of trainer. About seven or eight fights.

Question: Sergei, what has Kenny perhaps taught you that maybe Chuck did not?

Liakhovich: He basically teaches me how to think in the ring and he is a great fundamentalist.

Question: Shannon, you thought you had a fight with Wladimir Klitschko but it fell through. Did all the waiting give you extra motivation or are you just focused on this fight?

Briggs: I am focused on the fact that I am fighting this guy and that is it. I am not really looking past this. But of course, there is the imagination that runs with itself and says, ‘OK, knock this guy off, get the next guy, and keep knocking these guys off.’ But I am just focused on Liakhovich right now and I am looking forward to November 4.

Question: Shannon, in your estimation, who is the best current heavyweight champion?

Briggs: I guess you would have to say Sergei. It is really like a tie because, ostensibly, Wladimir is much stronger and more dangerous as far as having one-punch power -- he can get you out of there with one punch. Sergei is a different type of boxer; he mixes punches up differently. With Wladimir, all you have to worry about is like pretty much a decent job, a strong right hand, and trying to hook up with a jab. Other than that, I mean, like I said, I am focused on this fight and I am looking forward to it.

Question: Shannon, will durability be more of an issue against Sergei than it would have versus Wladimir?

Briggs: I do not know, really, because they both show me that they have it in them. So I am looking forward to bringing it out.

Question: Sergei, obviously Shannon is going to come right at you. Do you sense that you are going to meet him head on or are you going to give him some time to get winded and then attack? What is your rough estimation of how things are going to play out?

Liakhovich: If Shannon jumps right on me, it will make it a very short night for Shannon. So basically, talk to Shannon how far he wants to go. It is up to him.

Question: Sergei, you have compiled a more than decent record with some impressive wins against some top-ranked competition, but as far as knockout artists go, Briggs seems to be the biggest test of your career so far. Would you agree with that?

Liakhovich: No. I won the title against the toughest champion out there, Lamon Brewster, and he is by far the toughest puncher. So Shannon Briggs does not qualify in the equation as calling him the top dog. We will put you over the top. Just wait until November 4.

Question: Sergei, how can you win while avoiding the knockout power of Briggs?

Liakhovich: I know he is going to come swinging and I know he is going to try and throw a lot of hard punches, but he needs to think about every time he swings, he is going to get hit. So basically, that is what I plan on doing. You will see on Nov. 4 how nice it is going to be.

Question: Shannon, what is the key to your invincibility over your 11-fight winning streak?

Briggs: Focus. My career has had its ups and downs. I was gifted with talent and I excelled as an amateur. I was on the USA team. So I always did well; I was blessed. So with maturity comes wisdom and the fact that I realize I am not a kid anymore. I cannot get by without running, or sparring, and just take fights. I had to come to the realization that I am older and that it takes hard work and that is what it took in the last couple years. I just really dedicated myself to training, to learning how to train. I had never done any of the stuff that I am doing now, so I feel great. I feel more confident than I ever felt in my entire life, as a person, as a man – I just feel great.

Question: Shannon, how important is it to you to get a knockout?

Briggs: It is just as important as it was in every fight. I love the knockout. He can say what he wants about, ‘Oh, yeah, come to him and this is going to happen.’ Who cares? That is what the people want. They want blood, they want to see his head decapitated, so that is what I am coming for. I am looking forward to it. I am training. I am in the best shape of my life physically and mentally. This is destiny. It is how it is supposed to be. It has nothing to do with him. This is beyond him. I feel good. I am just looking forward to fulfilling my prophecy, the destiny. We are having a good time with this. I could not be happier.

Question: Shannon, how do plan to overcome the champion’s strength?

Briggs: I am dedicated. Just brute force and determination. I have no doubt in my mind that it is not going to go right on my night. That in itself is something that Shannon Briggs never had. You can look at all my fights and all my knockouts and say, wow, how could he not be confident, he has knocked out so many guys? That is just talent and lucky. But now, to have the truth and belief in myself, and know I can go out there and run 10 miles, or know I can go out there and spar 12-15 rounds a day, of know I could hit the bag. This is stuff I never did before. I was winning, but just on pure talent, not experience. Put the dedication, the hard work, the wisdom, the maturity and now you have something real in your hands.

Question: Shannon, what is it like to know you have a chance to wipe out all the hype about no American-born heavyweight champion and be the first to do that?

Briggs: This is it, I could be the man, I am appreciative, I am happy. I just thank God and everybody who played a piece in this puzzle. I was fighting everywhere, anywhere for free. So now I am fighting for the heavyweight championship of the world. This is a great opportunity for me and it is a great opportunity for boxing. Shannon Briggs as heavyweight champion of the world is a beautiful thing. It can definitely bring a lot of people back to the sport. I am ugly, but I am funny. That is my motto. So I am looking forward to bringing some life back to this sport, and a lot of people having a good time and enjoying and seeing what they want. They want knockouts.

Question: Shannon, could you go into it a bit further about the fact that all the heavyweight champions are now Russian or from that part of the world?

Briggs: I think it is a couple things. I think a lot of kids in America; the black kids, they are playing other sports – basketball, football, and other things, rapping, hip-hop. So to them, why make money getting hit when ‘I can go out there and make it in other ways?’ You do not have those big lucrative contract guarantees in boxing. You have all these unscrupulous managers and promoters, so people are not dying to become a professional boxer. It is just a real tough business. It is just a real tough game physically and mentally. So you do not have a bunch of guys jumping out the window to say, ‘You know what? I am going to be a professional boxer.’ Also, the amateur program here, it is not as crazy as how it was years ago, and again, (not as) lucrative and attractive for kids to be in it. Then you look at the Soviet Union, when it was I guess the Soviet Union, they have always had a strong amateur program and stuck behind it. So I guess it kind of came to a head here with all these guys coming from the Soviet Union. And they can fight. They are holding their own in their craft; they are good at what they do. So it has worked itself out. But now it is time to clean up this mess, so that is what I am here for.

Question: Shannon, is there more pressure on you or any American who now challenges for a world heavyweight title?

Briggs: If you let it. I guess people can point the finger and say it is up to you. But it has nothing to do with that. It is just the fact that I am here in this destiny and in this time and this is what it is supposed to be. It was written this way; this is how it was supposed to be. I was born December 4, 1971. I weighed 3 pounds at birth; my mom had me premature. So here I am now, 270 pounds, 34 years later and about to be 35. So it is like all my life has been turbulent ups and downs, and no I am going to rectify it. I am going to get everything right. I am going to set everything straight Nov. 4.

Question: Sergei, you mentioned that your objective is to unify the heavyweight championship. Are you convinced that is ever going to be done, and if you remain champion, how will you go about making sure that happens?

Liakhovich: Well, first of all, I will focus on this fight. Then after this fight, I want to fight Klitschko. After this fight, we will see.

Question: Shannon, how important is it for there to be one heavyweight champion? Do you think that is a necessity?

Briggs: We definitely need it. People do not know who these champions are. They do not know who Liakhovich is, Valuev, Klitschko. They do not care. These guys are not personable, these guys are not marketable. They are ugly. They get on my nerves. I am sick and tired of them. Everybody wants to see a champion they can identify with and they can talk to. I am here to just clean up this mess.

Question: If you happen to win the championship, Shannon, why would they identify with you?

Briggs: I am American. I am a black American.

Question: You are talking about here in this country, then?

Briggs: Yes, sir, in this country.

Question: It is a world championship, though. Do you think the world can identify with you?

Briggs: Yes. The world can identify with one champ, (especially) an English-speaking heavyweight champ. No offense to these guys in that way. I am not trying to be rude in that way. I just think these guys are not pushed by their managers. They knock me and say, listen, Shannon Briggs is just known for being famous. But what is wrong with that? I am out there doing what I have to do to make a living and propel my name and the sport at the same time.

Question: Shannon, it seems you have succeeded at times in getting underneath Sergei's skin. Is that your strategy to bait him into a punch-out because you think it benefits you?

Briggs: Yes, and that is fine with me. If you want to box, that is fine. You cannot outbox me. If you want to slug, let us slug. I am determined. My whole thing is that I am just hungry for that opportunity. A hungry man is a dangerous man and I am willing to die. I am willing to be put in a suit in a box Nov. 5 if I do not win. If I am willing to put everything on the line, that is how important this is to me, my family. You know, for me, this is it.

The 20-year anniversary celebration of SHOWTIME CHAMPIONSHIP BOXING continues with an exciting world championship doubleheader on Saturday, Nov. 4, when Sergei “White Wolf” Liakhovich (23-1, 14 KOs) defends his WBO heavyweight title against Shannon “The Cannon’’ Briggs (47-4-1, 41 KOs) and WBA lightweight champion Juan “Baby Bull” Diaz (30-0, 15 KOs) risks his crown against Fernando “La Fiera” Angulo (18-3, 12 KOs). The Don King Productions-promoted twinbill will air on SHOWTIME at 9 p.m. ET/PT (delayed on the west coast) from Chase Field in Phoenix, Ariz.

Article posted on 19.10.2006

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