Shannon Briggs is excited right now, for two reasons. Firstly, as the 45 year-old has posted on his social media page, purse bids take place today for Briggs’ WBA heavyweight title fight with Fres Oquendo. And secondly, Briggs is hugely motivated to put his name in the record books as the first heavyweight to have won a world title in three separate decades.
Briggs, who became the lineal heavyweight champ with his disputed decision victory over living legend George Foreman in 1997, also won the WBO belt, with a stunning, last round KO of Siarhei Liakhovich in 2006. Now, if he can see off “Fast Fres” – a man Briggs has a great nickname for with “Fried Nintendo” (you have to laugh!) – the entertaining New Yorker will achieve something he says “they can’t take away from me.”
Briggs, who was at his peak something like 20 years ago, has survived a terrible beating at the hands of Vitali Klitschko, he has battled both depression and a severe weight problem and he is here to shout about it. Okay, it won’t exactly be a George Foreman moment if Briggs beats Oquendo and makes his little piece of boxing history, but it will be an admirable achievement nonetheless if “The Cannon,” 60-6-1(53) can rule (over a version of a title) once again.
But as feel-good as Briggs’ story would be if he beat Oquendo, 37-8(24) to wear a major belt once more, it is no formality. Oquendo may not be much younger than Briggs, he may have been anything but active over the last three years or so, and he may not have the most exciting fighting style or approach. But you can say this about “Fried Nintendo,” nobody has an easy time against him and his slick/tricky/awkward style.
Briggs, who has shown he can still crack, might become just the third man (behind David Tua and John Ruiz) to stop Oquendo, but he will have to do it early. For if Briggs – a fighter who never had great stamina in his peak years – runs out of gas, Oquendo could box his ears off and ruin his dream.
It might not be a great fight when it happens, but it cannot be denied how Briggs Vs. Oquendo has some story to it. Briggs is hugely excited and pumped up even if the majority of the fans are not. Still, it’s likely more than a few armchair fans will tune in to see if Briggs can win what he calls “the most important fight of my life.”
Now, let’s see who wins the purse bids.