David Haye-Shannon Briggs, who wins? Go back a couple of months and no-one would have entertained such a question as anything other than a bad joke. Now? The impending collision is still nothing but a curiosity fight at best, a freak show at worst, but it cannot be denied how the two heavyweights with a combined 79 KO’s between them have created quite a buzz. Haye is still phenomenally popular, this despite the fact that he hasn’t fought a world-ranked foe since 2012. Briggs, since taking the George Foreman, keep-busy-against-low-level-opposition-and-get-the-fans-talking route back, has certainly attracted interest; with his mouth and with his fists.
The two veterans with a combined age of 79, the same as their combined KO’s – “Two geezers at The O2?!” – took care of business last night inside a rocking arena. The two former champs faced limited, safe opposition, but the fans got what they came for: knockouts. Now the two men with wholly different personalities get ready to rumble at an date to be confirmed in September. We can expect another sold-out O2 that night.
Briggs has retained his power, no doubt. Showing a good body attack against Emilio Zarate last night (a less than prepared Zarate, yes) “The Cannon” looked good enough in scoring yet another 1st-round KO. Good enough to beat Haye? Haye took a round longer to deal with his foe, Arnold Gjergjaj, but he too displayed power – power and speed. And the speed Haye possesses could prove problematic for the slow-legged Briggs. If Haye is foolish enough to stand in front of Briggs and trade with him (he won’t be of course) then yes, things could get interesting. As it is, we can expect Haye to give the older man – who has shown stamina shortcomings in the past and doesn’t figure to have any better an engine today – angles and tire him out by having to chase his man.
Briggs has a puncher’s chance, and a legitimate one, but that’s all. This won’t stop the fight creating even more buzz in the coming weeks though. This one will be fun, both in and out of the ring, for as long as it lasts. Briggs might take some shifting in September though (remember the quite fearful hiding he took against Vitali Klitschko in 2010!). Will we see Haye score a quick KO, in what would be an impressive result, or will we see a brave and stubborn Briggs take another prolonged beating that will be detrimental to his health?
Another question is, will Haye have earned a shot at a world title by beating up Briggs?