As fight fans may have heard, former WBA heavyweight champ David Haye today officially announced how he will face unbeaten, but largely unknown, Arnold Gjergjaj on May 21st in what will be Haye’s second comeback fight of 2016. But while the fight announcement may have surprised some – Gjergjaj is a 29-0 fighter with a string of KO’s and he could prove to be a real threat to 35-year-old Haye despite his low profile in the UK and the lack of big names on his record – a very familiar face crashed today’s press conference and arguably stole the show.
44-year-old Shannon Briggs, who has been in London for some days now pursuing a big fight/payday, burst into the room and demanded Haye answer to his hometown fans why he is fighting “This guy, a chump!”
“David Haye, I got you on camera! Why are you fighting this guy and not me,” Briggs bellowed, adding plenty of his overly familiar “Let’s go, Champ” war cries for added effect. I came here to get a fight, why you fighting this guy!”
Briggs then went face-to-face with a somewhat bemused-looking Gjergjaj and repeatedly asked him, “Who are you, who are you!”
Haye couldn’t ignore Briggs and replied, “Will you pass a brain scan!”
“Do you genuinely think you can beat me or are you after a payday,” Haye demanded. “This guy [Gjergjaj] is undefeated.”
“I’ll knock him out right now, right now!” Briggs shot back.
Haye again reiterated his concern that Briggs would not be able to pass a brain scan as administered by the strict guidelines of The BBB of C. Eventually, Haye said Briggs can have a slot on his May 21st under-card, should he pass all medicals, and that the two could then “talk about it,” as in a Haye Vs. Briggs fight.
Briggs said he would fight on the card at The O2, but only if he gets it in writing that Haye will then face him next.
Briggs, as he loves to boast at every opportunity, is a two-time heavyweight champion of the world (becoming the linear champion with his controversial 1997 points win over George Foreman and WBO champ with his 2006 final round KO of Serghei Liakhonvich) and he does have a point when it comes to how he is a much bigger name than is Gjergjaj. Briggs has done nothing to earn a big fight, but has Gjergjaj? From a box-office appeal point of view alone, maybe Briggs has a point when he says he would have been a far more attractive opponent for Haye in May.
Many fans are tired of Briggs, however, and Haye has impressed these fans by opting not to cash in on what would likely be a guaranteed KO victory over such a veteran. But if Briggs blows someone out on Haye’s upcoming under-card, and if this gets more fans talking while “The Cannon” is in the UK, who knows, maybe Haye will fight the New Yorker later this year.
You know, and Briggs knows, there would be no shortage of fans willing to pay to see the fight.