First it was Alexander Dimitrenko, then it was Jakov Gospic, but now, finally, Shannon Briggs has a confirmed opponent for tomorrow night: Briggs, 59-6-1(52) will face Argentine heavyweight Emilio Ezequiel Zarate, 29-16-3(11) in his chief supporting role on David Haye’s second comeback fight at The O2 in London.
As fans know, the big plan is for Haye to beat Arnold Gjergjaj (currently unbeaten at 29-0) and for Briggs to “prove he can still perform,” before the two collide in what some say is a big fight in September. Haye, with all due respect to “The Cobra,” as Gjergjaj is known, looks to have his next victory and KO in the bag. The only question seems to be, how long with it take for “The Hayemaker” to get the job done? Prediction: Haye does it, once again, inside three-minutes.
As for Briggs, he would have had a potentially tough night ahead of him had the Dimitrenko fight come off, but against Zarate, a man who has been knocked out or stopped on eight different occasions, “The Cannon” looks set to blast away at some more fodder in his one comeback. Zarate, though, is at least a big guy at 6’5.” Briggs has feasted on smaller guys recently and at least here, he is picking on someone his own size. That said, it would take a very brave fan to predict Zarate sticking around for too long. Coming in at short notice (very short notice) is one thing, but Zarate has been blasted out a number of times in fights. Hughie Fury took care of him in a couple of rounds last year, and Gjergjaj has also stopped him.
This is a showcase for Briggs to set up and, he hopes, add further intrigue to that date with Haye and nothing much more. Look for both headlining heavies to score 1st-round wins tomorrow night. But can Briggs give Haye a competitive fight if he does get that shot at him? Briggs insists he will KO Haye, and inside a single round, retiring him from boxing in the process. The build-up for this one, which has already started, will be fun, no doubt. But can Briggs, with his heavy yet slow hands firing off shots the speedy Haye will almost certainly be able to see coming, really be expected to pull it off?
Briggs, with his fun persona, his punching power and his refusal to go away quietly, has got himself a big fight/payday, but the ride figures to come to a shuddering halt once the 44-year-old tastes Haye’s lethal blend of speed, accuracy and power. Haye-Briggs will be notable a fight in today’s heavyweight division, but the bout will not last long. We’ll get quick KO wins from Haye and Briggs tomorrow, and then we’ll get another quick KO from the former undisputed cruiserweight champion and former WBA heavyweight ruler in September.
Let’s just all hope Haye-Briggs goes out on free TV, as tomorrow’s card is.