Back when he rudely, entertainingly, disrespectfully (depending on your view) crashed the press conference to officially announce David Haye’s May fight with Arnold Gjergjaj, veteran Shannon Briggs was told by Haye that in order to have any shot at fighting him he must first pass a UK brain scan.
“It doesn’t matter that you’ve been fighting where you’ve been fighting, on some Indian reservation or wherever, “ Haye said, adding how he had real doubts the 44-year-old would be medically cleared to box in the UK. Haye, like the rest of us, watched with alarm the sickening and prolonged beating Briggs took at the hands of Vitali Klitschko in 2010, this being Briggs’ last “real” fight.
But Briggs took Haye at his word and, after passing a brain scan at Harley Street in London, is now demanding Haye keep his word and fight him (to be fair, Haye said that if Briggs passed a scan and boxed and won on his May 21st under-card, the two could then “talk about it.”) Briggs, now cleared to fight, is simply not going away – until he lands a big fight/payday in the UK.
“I’ve had the MRI, give the people what they want, fight me,” Briggs said to Sky Sports whilst again calling out Haye. “He’s scared to fight me because I’m a real contender. He thinks I’m old. I am. Old enough to know that he ain’t ready for the champ. Let’s go champ! When Haye runs into my right hand, he’ll know.”
The cynics orbiting the sport feel Haye will fight Briggs and that he knew all along that he would – “He’s an interesting character and if the British public want to see me beat this guy up then maybe we can talk about it,” Haye said.. The publicity Briggs is bringing all but guarantees success at the Box-Office, even if most fans feel Haye would have way to much speed, athleticism and power for the ageing warrior who once engaged in memorable fights with greats George Foreman and Lennox Lewis. Haye-Briggs after Haye does as expected and defeats Gjergjaj? No-one will be too surprised if it happens.
Anthony Joshua, who launches an assault on the IBF title a week tomorrow against Charles Martin, told Sky Sports he feels Haye will fight Briggs.
“He’s a real character and a good man for the sport,” Joshua said of Briggs. “He’s been a heavyweight world champion and I’m sure he’ll get another go – if he keeps barking at the right person, someone is going to bite back. I think Haye will probably fight him.”
Money will talk, as is almost always the case. If Joshua defeats Martin and opts to make his first, voluntary defence against someone other than Haye, then Haye-Briggs will likely go ahead. Haye of course, will drop any ideas of fighting Briggs should he get first crack as Joshua’s new belt.