Shannon Briggs "The Cannon" vs. Sergei Liakhovich "The White Wolf" - How It Might Play Out

02.11.06 - By Ted Sares: As the bell rings for round one, Shannon surprises the Wolf by launching an all-out attack from the get-go.............almost like a mugging. The Wolf, who was ko'd by Mo Harris, backs off and tries to tie him up, but this time, unlike the Lennox Lewis fight, the deadlocked fighter does not let his opponent off the hook and clubs him to the canvas with heavy punches. Sergei gets up at nine, but is immediately pounced upon by a whirlwind, let-it-all-hang-out blitz from his much bigger opponent (Briggs weighs 268 pounds, 30 more than Liakhovich).

The Wolf hangs on for dear life knowing that if he can get Briggs into the late rounds, he may well own him. But If he engages Shannon and attempts to square up and slug it out as he did against Brewster, he may not even get through the round. The combination of Briggs' size and bull-rush tactics seems to be overwhelming him. One is reminded of Andy Ganigan's blow out of favorite Sean O'Grady, Lewis' quick clubbing of Golota, and Tony Sibson's mugging of undefeated John Collins. Sergei barely survives the round and heads for the wrong corner on unsteady legs; he is badly shaken up and appears ripe for the picking as his corner works feverishly to revive him.

As round two starts, Briggs rushes across the ring and unleashes a savage attack on a still-dazed Liakhovich. Again, the Wolf goes down but this time it is a strategic move as he takes the count to nine in order to gather himself, a smart move. The shocking end almost comes as Briggs puts the Belarussian down hard with straight and punishing rights. Shannon turns to the crowd and raises his hands in victory thinking the fight will be stopped. Meanwhile, the referee counts to nine and takes a long, long look into Sergei's eyes. Sergei holds his arms up and gingerly moves forward at the referee's command. Surprisingly, he allows the fight to continue.

At this point a sea change occurs. When Shannon turns back to see a determined Wolf still standing, his spirit visibly depletes like air rushing out of a balloon. . Still, he comes on and hits him with blows that surely would have knocked out anybody else. The game Belarussian warrior survives the round and the amazed crowd is up and roaring in his behalf. He has won them over.

Round three is a different kind of round as a rapidly tiring Briggs and a slowly recovering Liakhovich both take the round "off" to recover, a terrible strategic mistake on Briggs' part. Has let the Wolf off the hook....

The stage is set for the remainder of the fight. Will the inflection point come when a fully recovered Champion hits an exhausted challenger? Or will it come when Liakhovich finds he simply cannot hold off the much bigger Briggs who gets his second wind?

We will have to wait until Saturday to see the result.

Article posted on 02.11.2006

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