Shannon Briggs: “I have seen something”

Briggs06.11.06 - By Geoff McKay, photo by Tom Casino / Showtime - The year is 1936. The black and white footage shows a young Max Schmeling in an overcoat, his dark hair slicked back, confidently smiling as he answers reporter’s questions about his upcoming bout with then undefeated sensation Joe Louis. During the interview Schmeling utters his now famous line,

“I have seen something”. What Schmeling had seen in fact was that Louis often dropped his hand after throwing a punch, and that this left an opening for a counter shot. The 10 to 1 underdog used what he had seen to score a dramatic 12th round KO over Lewis, shocking the boxing world in the process.

Shannon Briggs pulled off a modern day rendition of this classic event tonight when he knocked out Sergei Lyakhovich in the dying seconds of the twelfth round in Chase Field.

Now, to be sure, Sergei Lyakhovich is no Joe Louis, and Briggs isn’t exactly Max Schmeling, however, Briggs had mentioned several times that he saw a weakness in the style of Lyakhovich, and shortly into the fight it became apparent what that weakness was..

Early on in the bout Lyakhovich moved in to pressure Briggs, and was met with a counter left hand that came smooth and clean, a move that Briggs had obviously been practiced relentlessly in camp. The left hand caught Lyakhovich, and although it didn’t hurt him badly, it was the first of many that kept Lyakhovich from getting aggressive and pressing the action. Several times Briggs would even start to throw the hook when Lyakhovich shifted his feet.

Boxing is such a fascinating sport because of the little things, and this fight was a perfect example. The announcers kept berating Lyakhovich for lack of aggression, and Briggs for not keeping active, when in reality there were perfectly good reasons for both. Lyakhovich didn’t get aggressive because he had gotten stung by the Briggs counter left hook and couldn’t find an opening. Briggs didn’t keep active because he was dead tired from the middle of the first round on. He was conserving his energy, keeping Lyakhovich at bay, and keeping himself in the fight in the hopes that he would eventually land a big shot, which he finally did.

The highlight reels will show the final Briggs big overhand right time and time again, but don’t be fooled, it was the counter left hook, the one that didn’t really ever do any damage, the one that kept Lyakhovich at a distance that won the fight for Briggs.

It is very likely Briggs will become a one hit wonder if he faces any more than a token opponent on his first defense. His plodding style and lack of aggression would prove fatal against Wladimir Klitschko’s quick jab, straight right hands and lethal left hook. James Toney would almost certainly outbox Briggs, and Sam Peter, with his granite chin would keep coming forward until he battered Shannon into submission. Whatever the case, The Cannon hung around the division long enough to get another shot, and he did what it took when the time came.

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Article posted on 06.11.2006

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