Vitali Klitschko Vs. Shannon Briggs - Another Easy Night for Klitschko, Or A Fight In Which Briggs Could Shock The World?
by James Slater - Whilst working in his usual role as expert commentator for ESPN's "Friday Night Fights" this past Friday evening, Teddy Atlas announced on air how he has been hearing WBC heavyweight king Vitali Klitschko could well be facing New York's Shannon Briggs in his next fight. Atlas, also the trainer of unbeaten Russian contender Alexander Povetkin - who, of course, faces Ring magazine, IBF, WBO and IBO ruler Wladimir Klitschko in September - didn't have news of a date or venue, but he said the word is the fight could take place and would probably fill a German stadium if it did happen.
Article posted on 12.07.2010
Briggs, the former lineal heavyweight champion as well as being a one-time holder of the WBO belt, has had both Klitschko brothers in his sights a number of times over the years, and at one point it looked like he'd face Wladimir. Now, at age 38 and after having won three in a row over limited opposition, Briggs could be on the verge of receiving one of the biggest opportunities of his long career..
Briggs, 51-5-1(45) has verbally laid into both brothers in recent times, saying they are a bad advert for the heavyweight division, claiming they do not in any way shape or form give the paying fans what they want. Assuring his fans that he was undertaking an arduous running regimen to enhance his often poor stamina (Briggs does, as we know, suffer from asthma), "The Cannon" has returned from the two-and-a-half year hiatus he endured following his disappointing decision loss to Sultan Ibragimov in June of 2007, picking up three 1st-round wins (after engaging in a 1-round NC, a result enforced due to Briggs having taken an "illegal substance").
So, with a shot at the mighty "Dr Iron Fist" now closer than ever before, is there enough left inside the tank of Briggs for him to be able to do something shocking and exciting? For though Vitali is coming towards the end of his own career, with maybe two more bouts planned at the most, the soon-to-be 39-year-old remains a formidable fighter; the second-best in the entire division behind his younger brother. As such, a Briggs win would send shockwaves around the world - X5 if Shannon were to win by a KO.
Briggs certainly has the size and the necessary reach to give Klitschko problems. At 6'4" and with a wingspan of 84," Briggs would have a real chance of getting in on Vitali and reaching his chin with jabs and power shots. And at a solid-looking 260-pounds or so, Briggs would likely have the physical strength needed to stop himself from being out-muscled by the WBC ruler. And speed-wise, of the hand variety, Briggs, in the early rounds when he is chucking combinations before running out of gas, is capable of matching Klitschko - even surpassing him.
All things so far considered, Briggs has to be given at least a small chance of at least giving Klitschko a testing challenge. But now we come to the real bugbear of the Brooklyn man's career; the one thing that has let him down on numerous occasions; his stamina. Would Briggs fade and be capable of tossing a mere three or four shots a round after a bright start against Vitali? This is what has happened before, and at age 38 it's perhaps doubtful Briggs' stamina and workrate will have improved any, despite the hard roadwork he has reportedly been doing. And any fighter, if he gets tired in there with Klitschko, is in real trouble.
Briggs, after all the negative things he's said about both Klitschkos, will come to fight and fight hard if and when he does get a shot at Vitali, and in the early rounds he will be dangerous. Inevitably, though, unless he were to land the punch of a lifetime and send the ageing (but still rock-chinned) champion to sleep, or unless he HAS somehow found the ability to remain fresh for a full 12-rounds, Briggs would surely face the inevitable slow beatdown that has befallen so may of Vitali's opponents.
Atlas mentioned how Briggs' name value could be a factor in making this fight a sellable one, at least in Germany. And to be fair, there aren't too many other available challengers out there for Vitali to box. No, Briggs has not earned a title shot, but this may not stop him from getting one. And, despite what they may say on the forums and in other places, U.S fight fans, should this match-up go ahead, will root for Briggs for all they're worth come fight time; especially if Briggs comes out looking to do damage and enjoys some success. After all, Briggs could well be the last U.S big man capable of bringing a belt back home to America in the foreseeable future! Sure, Briggs is the best of a less than stellar bunch, but he has a puncher's chance at least.
Could the man who fought big names like George Foreman and Lennox Lewis way back in 1997/1998, be on his way towards another world title fight, this time in Germany?
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