Randall Bailey and Shannon Briggs, world champions both, will go into The Florida Boxing Hall of Fame this weekend, the two big-punching warriors to be celebrated in St. Petersburg. Briggs was WBO and lineal heavyweight champ, while Bailey ruled at 140 and 147 pounds. Briggs was known as “The Cannon,” Bailey was called “The Knockout King.”
Briggs was born in New York yet he moved to South Florida early in his career and he soon climbed up the rankings; Briggs eventually beating George Foreman, Ray Mercer Serhei Liakhovich and giving Lennox Lewis a great fight, being stopped in five all-action rounds. Briggs, 60-6-1(53) is still talking about the possibility of fighting again, this at age 50 and after a layoff of six years. Briggs is a far greater talker than fighter at this stage, however.
Bailey was a genuine wrecking machine in his prime. Bailey went pro after Briggs and he soon lit up the sport. Bailey scored a chilling KO over Carlos Gonzalez to win the WBO 140 pound title in May of 1999, his devastating left hook taking Gonzalez out in just :41 seconds. Bailey managed two retentions, before losing the belt to Ener Julio. Bailey won the WBA interim belt at 140 with a KO over Demetrio Ceballos but he was then stopped himself, by Diosbelys Hurtado.
After two failed attempts to regain the WBO title – Bailey losing to DeMarcus Corley and Miguel Cotto – “The Knockout King” moved up to welterweight, where he initially lost in a attempt to win the IBF title, this loss coming against Juan Urango. But three years later, in 2012, Bailey overcame a points deficit to KO Mike Jones late in their fight for the vacant belt. Bailey lost the title to Devon Alexander and he retired after a loss to Jeff Horn, this in 2016.
Bailey, who exited with a 46-9(39) ledger, did consider trying his hand at bare knuckle boxing but he had second thoughts. Both Bailey and Briggs were firm fan favourites back in the day and it’s good to see their efforts have been and are being appreciated.