Sunday, October 15, 2006

Briggs gets one more chance to shoot his big guns

By JE Grant

When Shannon “The Cannon” Briggs enters the ring November 4th to vie for a version of the heavyweight title against Serguei Liakhovich, he will carry with him the baggage not only of his 34 years or his 52 fights, but just as importantly lots of thoughts of what might have been.

Briggs, 47-4-1 (41 KOs), started his career as a trim 20 year-old with lightning fast hands and a end-it-right-away style that made him an appealing draw. Combined with obvious physical attributed, Briggs was (an is) a colorful and interesting speaker.

As he rose through the inevitable club fights many took notice of his talents on many levels. His athleticism had many talking of much bigger and better things.

Unfortunately, his rise through the club circuit was not a progressive one. Today we can browse his early record and find many opponents he faced who possessed not mediocre records but losing records. According to it wasn’t until his 16th fight that he met an opponent with a winning slate.

While almost every rising star has a record sprinkled with such opposition, it was apparent when Briggs faced the then-15-0-2 Darroll Wilson that he had not developed skills sufficient to extract himself from trouble. The three-round stoppage loss to Wilson served as a notification that to achieve truly world-class status, something had to change.

Briggs’ style to that point was one of front-running. Using his overwhelming speed and power early, most of his opponents simply could not cope. Wilson proved that the way to Briggs’ heart was withstanding the early onslaught and then pounding away on what was left of the depleted “Cannon.”

Four club fights after Wilson, Briggs was matched with George Foreman. Though Big George had been stripped of his WBA and IBF belts, he was still considered the lineal champion.

Briggs against started quickly and put some lumps on Foreman. The much older Foreman proved sturdy and not only weathered the storm but by most accounts did enough to deserve the win. Briggs, however, seemed as surprised as anyone when the decision was announced that he was the winner of a majority 12-round decision.

As controversial as the decision was, Briggs was nevertheless considered the lineal champion and he was quickly signed for a match in 1998 with the Lennox Lewis, then-WBC titlist and by far the best heavyweight in the world.

Once again, Briggs started fast, clipping Lewis early and appearing to wobble him. The early success turned out to be a mere flash as the bigger and better Lewis chopped-up Briggs throughout. And, once again, when Briggs was hurt – and down – he did not have the experience to draw on that his 31 fights to that point should have afforded him. Too many palookas, not enough stiff opposition.

Lewis dropped Briggs three times enroute to a brutal fifth-round stoppage.

Since that time, Briggs lost tough decisions to journeyman Sedreck Fields and the rated Jameel McCline. He also fought to a draw with Frans Botha.

Briggs has not lost since the McCline decision in 2002. His record since that time is 11-0 with 11 KOs. Charitably, it can be said that all of the 11 wins were against journeyman. The only recognizable name is Ray Mercer – though it was a 44 year-old version.

Another significant problem for Briggs is a skyrocketing weight gain. He started his career at 205. He fought Foreman at 227. He fought his last fight, against Chris Koval, at a whopping 273.

Nonetheless Briggs is a solid hitter and thus has a chance to pull something out, particularly if he does it early.

PREDICTION: Briggs will pull out all the stops for an early knockout. Despite the claims of many that he will arrive at the 250 pound range, it is unlikely that he has developed a sufficient gas tank to go the distance and pull out a victory. Even while winning of late, his overall speed is noticeably far less than what it was just a few years ago. He’s never been all that difficult to hit and Liakhovich will exploit that shortcoming. Liakhovich possesses solid skills and an educated jab. Look for him to land it early and take Briggs out of his bull rushing tactics. As the early rounds go past with Liakhovich still on his feet, Briggs will fade noticeably. Liakhovich will begin landing combinations to the head of Briggs. The older, slower, heavier Briggs, like his younger version, will not have enough answers to pass the test.

Liakhovich by KO in 9.


Anonymous the cruiserweight (bizzy) said...

Excellent write-up J.E. Briggs will be dangerous, but I'm going with Sergei by late-round KO/TKO as well.

12:16 PM  
Blogger JE Boxing said...

Thanks. I do think Briggs will put up a fight. I just don't see him having enough in his tank at the end.

1:58 PM  
Anonymous the cruiserweight (bizzy) said...

Yeah, I see Briggs as being game and dangerous, but I think he will be OUTBOXED - and then OUTFOUGHT. It's kind of an interesting fight though, J.E. Briggs is an exciting fighter, and through mostly sheer ACTIVITY, I have him on the 'fringes' of my top-10. (My top-20/30 is almost identical to yours J.E...;-)

P.S - I'm unclear as to this recent 'ruckus' with Mayweather though. Who's training Briggs now??? A bit flabbergasting that something like that could happen so close to such a big fight. Perhaps our 'Florida contact' has the 411 on this situation...(???)

2:11 PM  
Blogger orltroy said...

If I am your Florida contact, then the answer is yes I know the details. I was on the phone with Hirsch right after he found out. Chuck McGregor is training Briggs. McGregor trained Libeabuchi among others and was Sergei's first trainer he in America. I know you guys know this, but for the casual reader this is big news. The switch to McGregor was irritating and has ruffled some feathers on the wrong hawk. Hopefully Briggs won't make a turkey of himself out there, otherwise he will be served up in time for Thanksgiving.

7:22 PM  
Anonymous the cruiserweight (bizzy) said...

Hmm...Interesting T.O...(And yes, you are indeed the 'Florida contact'

8:33 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hey guys, are you making smth on other divisions -e.g., Middleweight, Supermiddleweight, and Lightheavyweight where we recently witnessed some extraordinary wars?! Honestly, I am kind of tired of the bog boys (still my favourite division though).


6:42 AM  
Anonymous the cruiserweight (bizzy) said...

Yes Meke, this blog does have a bit of extra focus on the cruisers & hvy's. Due to the colossal success of the top-25, it's kind of developed a niche. Perhaps we will get a bit of "J.E lite" or "Bizzy on Boxing lite" going to go along with the 'stout'.

("Tastes great...And just as filling".)


2:34 PM  
Anonymous the cruiserweight (bizzy) said...

I'll tell you what...Let's get a "light hvy's of yesteryear" read on here, J.E. (A.K.A The cruiserweights.) Stop and think about that folks...Alot of truth to that...


10:42 PM  
Blogger JE Boxing said...

I'm working a super-middleweight article now.

9:55 AM  
Blogger sink sink socks said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

10:06 AM  
Blogger Jim Amato said...

I like Sergei inside of ten rounds. He is a very technically sound boxer who doesn't do anything great but he does a lot of things well. I think he would rather face Briggs then his irate trainer Kenny Weldon after a bad round. Remember when Sergei fought Brewster Kenny threatened to throw the corner stool at him if he didn't get off the ropes. I have no doubt in my mind that Kenny would have done it. Weldon though is a solid trainer because he teaches and stresses basic fundementals. Sergei has a great teacher and he has become a fine student.

4:33 PM  
Anonymous the cruiserweight (bizzy) said...

Agreed Jim. (Good to see you!)

5:46 PM  
Blogger JE Boxing said...

Did you notice that O'Neil Bell is participating in the "Superfighter" tourney?

6:31 PM  
Anonymous the cruiserweight (bizzy) said...

Yeah...I did notice that J.E. I have very 'mixed feelings' on this tourney. I actually am not quite sure WHAT to think of it, actually. I like the general idea here to be certain (The 5-round thing perfect for 'The Contender', but leaves a bit of an odd taste here. But it's the only way you can do a 1-day tourney) anyways, my main thing is...Something just strikes me as ODD with this thing. Something just a bit (seemingly) 'off'. 5 Million dollars JE??? 5 Million? Even though Bell is nothing more than a (top) 200-pounder, and that is where he belongs, I don't blame him at all for taking a shot if that's truly the case, nor do I the others. (I would make Bell a big longshot though. Anyways, I hope I'm wrong, but I have sensed something funny with this tourney since day 1 JE. Perhaps I don't know enough about it. (Or perhaps I know a bit TOO much about Boxing...)

7:19 PM  
Blogger JE Boxing said...

The tournament is an oddity that's for sure. I agree, 5 million seems like a super steep sum. I can't see how the promoters will get enough PPV buys to realize a profit. Also, why the 12 ounce gloves? It will make for many decisions and seems to favor Chris Byrd.

5:37 PM  
Anonymous the cruiserweight (bizzy) said...

...So I'm not the only one, eh? Yeah, this one has me scratching my head a bit to be sure.

P.S - I just got your msg. I will respond.

8:03 PM  
Blogger Jim Amato said...

Hey this is a good site. I'll have to get on here more often. Bizz, please let JE know we would welcome him to the Amato Boxing site anytime.

8:54 PM  
Blogger JE Boxing said...

Thanks for kind comment.

4:50 PM  
Anonymous the cruiserweight (bizzy) said...

Don't say that Jim...(He may never leave! Like me! LOL)

I told you J.E was first-rate!


6:38 PM  

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