Shannon Briggs vs. Sultan Ibragimov: The Three Reasons Why Briggs Will Prevail
11.05.07 - By Robert Jones: The summer of heavyweight boxing kicks off June 2nd when WBO Champion Shannon Briggs takes on challenger Sultan Ibragimov at the Boardwalk Hall in Atlantic City. The Boardwalk Hall should be known as the House “Arturo Gatti built” because he has been filling it with fans and drama for nearly the last half decade. Fans, and TV viewers alike have a very good chance of seeing that same drama and excitement when these two heavy hitters enter the ring, at least for a few rounds anyway.
Article posted on 13.05.2007
The emphasis being on a few rounds because I believe there are three factors that will make this fight a short one, in favor of the champion.
Briggs is 6’4 ½ and will hold at least a 40 pound weight advantage. Camp Briggs he keeping quite on weather he will come to the fighter lighter than he did against Sergui Lyahkovich, but regardless the size difference will be very substantial. Ibragimov stands just over 6 foot tall and does he best work a few pounds south of the 220 pound mark. Ibragimov has had success with larger foes, specifically the 6’7 270 pounds Lance Whitaker, but Whitaker by all accounts has been past his best – mentally and physically – for quite some time.
Briggs has been in the ring with five former champions: Sergui Lyahkovich, Ray Mercer, Lennox Lewis, Frans Botha, and George Foreman. Briggs also has been in the ring as a professional fifty-three times and this will only be Ibragimov’s 21st time.
The champion has also appeared on a number of high profile fights, including bouts on HBO, Showtime, and PPV. The challenger has appeared once, on ESPN 2. Briggs is used to the build up of a title fight while Ibragimov has only fought two opponents who have fought back. On his ESPN 2 fight Ibrigamov was lucky to walk away with a draw, after being put on the canvas by the light hitting Ray Austin in the final round. Ibragimov was also in a tougher than expected fight with unheralded Friday Ahuanya. Neither of those two fighters are anywhere close to the same league as Briggs.
If there is an instruction manual on how to beat Briggs it’s to stay on the outside, use the jab, and outbox him while piling on the points. Jameel McCline did it to perfection and Sergei Lyahkovich did it effectively for 10 rounds before making the mistake of trying to fight Briggs’ fight in the championship rounds.
If there is an instruction manual on how NOT to fight Briggs it might have been written by Ibragimov. Ibragimov likes to get inside and get in punching range. Ibragimov also likes to go toe-to-toe with opponents. Against fighters lesser than Briggs this is fine, but with Briggs he if fighting a man who has 42 knockouts who has knocked out iron chinned fighters like Lyahkovich and Mercer. Previous to that Briggs nearly knocked out Lewis in their title fight and knocked down Frans Botha with a single shot. As Austin showed in their match-up it appears that Ibragimov is wide open to counter shots, a Shannon Briggs specialty.
Since it’s baseball season, I’ll put it like this: It’s three strikes and your out for Ibragimov. While the fight lasts it should be a real crowd pleaser, but my guess is that before completion of halfway through the fight it will be goodnight sweet prince to the Sultan.
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