Sultan Ibragimov outclasses Shannon Briggs
04.06.07 - By Geoffrey Ciani: When WBO heavyweight Shannon Briggs attacked Sultan Ibragimov in the first round of their scheduled twelve-rounder, I suspected we’d see a very competitive fight. In fact, it appeared as if this one might resemble Briggs’s prior bout when he captured the WBO title from former champion, Sergei Liakhovich. My suspicions, however, proved to be incorrect. We did not get a competitive fight and the bout looked nothing like the contest between Briggs and Liakhovich.
Article posted on 05.06.2007
After winning the first round, everything else went downhill for Shannon Briggs. He did not have the aggressiveness, the accuracy, or the stamina to compete with the younger and hungrier Ibragimov. Briggs was thoroughly outclassed in every imaginable facet.
The only similarity between this fight and Briggs’s last with Liakhovich was the constant: Shannon Briggs, himself. At this stage in his career, Briggs tires very easily and very early. To make up for his gross lack of conditioning, he relies on picking his spots where he can best utilize his speed, power, and accuracy. Against Liakhovich, this strategy enabled him to remain competitive by unleashing carefully measured counter shots at semi-regular intervals; against Ibragimov, it failed miserably, because he was never able to regularly counter due to the pace set by Ibragimov..
Ibragimov exhibited good skills, a nice punching variety, good stamina, a good chin, and the ability to stick with a game plan. He was able to remain active enough throughout to prevent Briggs from getting into a groove—this is something Liakhovich failed to do. Had Liakhovich been more active, he may have shared similar success against Briggs. Instead, he fought at an anemic pace which enabled Briggs to survive and do what he does best—pick his spots without over-exerting himself.
He had no such luxury against Ibragimov, who had no intentions of allowing Briggs the chance to catch his breath. He was just active enough to score, get out of harm’s way, and score again, without allowing Briggs any time for recuperation. It was a brilliant plan that was executed to near perfection. In the end, I scored the bout 119-109 for Ibragimov—it was a very easy fight to score. How two of the judges had the audacity to give Briggs any more than a single round is well beyond the scope of reason.
I concede to not having seen a whole lot of Ibragimov before this bout, so I wasn’t quite sure what to expect. Over all, I was impressed. He reminded me an awful lot of Ruslan Chagaev. Yes, the obvious reasons are that both reside from the former Soviet bloc, and both are southpaws who are approximately the same height and weight with Chagaev being a few years younger. I liked the way both Ibragimov and Chagaev were able to work their way in, land a few shots, and get out of harm’s way before the counters had a chance to do any damage. Chagaev did this very well against Valuev, but looked less impressive doing so than Ibrigamov did against Briggs (most likely because Valuev was a superior champion who was much more active).
It will be interesting to see how things unfold in the next few months. The heavyweight division is once again showing signs of life. Let’s hope it continues in this direction and that the best continue squaring off against one another so we can have a true standard by which to measure this current crop of heavyweight contenders.
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