Tonight at 9:00 p.m. on MSG Network’s “Friday Night Fights,” hosted by John Duddy and Mark Breland: Lennox Lewis vs. Shannon Briggs (3/28/98) and Lennox Lewis vs. Michael Grant (4/29/00).
In the first fight of tonight’s Lennox Lewis doubleheader, challenger Shannon Briggs surprised the heavyweight champion in the first and second rounds in Atlantic City, nearly sending him to the mat with a flurry of punches. But Lewis was able to hold Briggs off and finally took control in the fourth round, knocking Briggs down multiple times. In the fifth, Briggs recovered from his third knockdown, but found himself back on the mat after a swing and miss, and the ref stopped the fight.
Duddy: “Shannon Briggs had a lot of success in the first two rounds and Lennox was in trouble.”
Breland: “He just can’t finish him. He has Lennox on the ropes, but he throws everything to the head…not one body shot. And Shannon kept his left hand down when he was on the ropes.”
Duddy: “When you’ve got a big right hand like Lennox Lewis, you can certainly find a home for it.”
The second match, fought two years later, features undisputed heavyweight champion Lewis against undefeated Michael Grant at Madison Square Garden. Although Lewis warned Grant before the bout about being too aggressive, the challenger came out swinging from the opening bell. Lewis made him pay with a right hand to the top of the head midway through the first round and it never got better. Although he made it to the second, Grant was overmatched and succumbed to a Lewis uppercut with only a few seconds left in the round.
“I said that if he came at me it was just going to make for a short fight,” said Lewis after the bout. “This is the most important fight of his career and for him to come straight at me, I think that was bad coaching on their corner.”
Friday Night Fights is part of MSG Network’s Summer Block Party. For more information go to www.msg.com/summer and join the conversation on Twitter with @MSGNetworks.