Briggs vs. Lyakhovich: Don't Be Surprised If Shannon Wins
03.11.06 - Photos: TOM CASINO/SHOWTIME - Swinging For The Fences: Shannon Briggs, promoter Don King and Sergei Liakhovich get into the swing of things as they pose at home plate after Thursday's heavyweight weigh-in at Chase Field in Phoenix. Briggs weighed 268 pounds, 30 more than Liakhovich, who tipped scales at 238.
Article posted on 02.11.2006
By Grampton James: Granted, I don't have access to much footage of Lyakhovich's previous fights, so it is difficult for me to form a sincerely educated opinion with such limitations, but from what I have seen, I have a good idea of the way he fights.
Lyakhovich is a straight foward pressure fighter. He's a swarmer type that hs a high punch output with a decent, but not exteremely powerful punch. His strong feat is his relentlessness and stamina, but he has decent boxing skills as well.
Briggs, especially at his current weight, is a hard punching slugger that's just looking to KO his opponent early on and go home. Briggs has never been known to have excellent stamina, and as big as he is now, it's definitely a department that he's going to be lacking in. What Briggs does have in exchange for stamina is a very hard punch, especially in the early rounds. In fact, Briggs is widely known as the one of the biggest punchers in the heavyweight division, and feels most comfortable at the center of the ring with his opponent coming at him, (although this is not always the case, especially when the fighter coming at him is someone that rivals him or has an advantage over him in size, skill, and power, like in his fight against Lennox Lewis.)
Either way, comfortable or not, Briggs was unable to adapt, and was consquently knocked out. Briggs is more or less, a one dimensional fighter, but his style is very well suited for his size and ability.
While I believe that Lyakhovich does more with what he has, and is the more skillful fighter overall, that Briggs has the stylistic advantage. Briggs' slugger style is most effective against the swarming style that Lyakhovich brings to his figths.
The reason why I feel that Briggs stands a good chance to beat Lyakhovich is because if the way Lyakhovich fought Brewster is any indication of how he will fight Briggs, Lyakhovich will fail to adapt his style, and turn this match into a slug fest.
If Lyakhovich goes right after Briggs and attempts to drive him against the ropes, which is what I feel Lyakhovich's gameplan may be, and where he is best, Lyakhovich is going to be met with very straight punches, by the very powerful punching Briggs. Briggs is going to plant his feet and throw shots at Lyakhovich that he's never felt before if he decides to go right at Briggs.
While I'm certain that Lyakhovich has a decent chin, I am not certain that it's good enough to withstand the punches delivered by a puncher like Briggs, who has a reputation for being a knockout artist, especially with the added weight. In fact, it's not likely that Briggs will be able to win this fight by anyway, but a knockout, considering that Lyakhovich will almost certainly have a higher punch output with more punches landed.
In fact, I'm not completely sure that Shannon will even be able to go the distance with Lyakhovich considering the last time he did that was in a 2002 loss by Unanimous Decision to Jameel McCline. Today, Briggs is 4 years older and, which at 34 years of age and 268 lbs, is not a good indication of a fighter who routinely goes the distance.
If Lyakhovich hopes to win this fight, he is going to have to box Briggs early on in the fight. He will have to really utilize his jab and put in body work as often as he can, but must stay moving. If Lyakhovich is a stationary target, attempts to square up and slug, or goes straight at the bigger, harder punching Briggs, there is a strong possiblity that Lyakhovich may get knocked out.
Personally, I believe that Lyakhovich will be smart enough to realize what he has to do and avoid Briggs enough to box him to a UD or possibly even a late round knock out.
Either way, this will be a very difficult defense for the new belt holder, and should not be a complete shock to boxing fans if he loses this dangerous fight.
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