Boxing


'Call Em Out Fridays': Shannon Briggs - Is Brooklyn In The House???

OK.....it's no secret that the heavyweight division has totally lost its punch. Not since "Iron" Mike (Tyson) pissed off the po-po and lost his mojo have we seen anything even remotely intriguing that would compare to era's of the past that once had the entire sport set ablaze. In a current era of the sport where the best fights possible all fail to materialize for one reason or the other, (Haye/Klitschko, Mayweather/Pacqiuao, Ward/Dirrell), this weekend, the heavyweight division will attempt, yet again, to reignite when two of its elder-statesmen collide in a showdown set to take place across the pond in the O2 World Arena, in Hamburg, Germany.

On one side you have Ukranian, Vitali Klitschko, (40-2, 38KO's), a man who some would argue to be the most complete fighter in the division over the past decade. Across from him you have Brooklynite, Shannon Briggs, (51-5-1, 45KO's), a man who some once felt could have been atop the heavyweight mountain as well, had it not been for what many view to be a major issue of inconsistency.

A closer examination of Vitali Klitschko openly serves the question of "where his legacy would stand had it not been for physical limitations and injury"? Of his 42 professional bouts, both losses came as a result of stoppage due to injury, but never once on points or via KO. Against Chris Byrd, it was a shoulder injury that forced the stoppage; against Lennox Lewis in a fight I'd still pay to see happen a second time, the stoppage was due to a severe gash above the eye. Both fights saw him ahead on points and well within contention, prompting some to comfortably acknowledge that had it not been for injury, Vitali would probably still own a record without defeat.

Hard to argue with those kind of results, but for Briggs, life in the ring hasn't always been quite so generous. Early in his career, Briggs was an American heavyweight who gave most reason for hope. Very good speed, punishing power, and great head movement that often made it very difficult for his opponent to land flush. This amazing combination would make it appear that he was well on his way to the proverbial 'mountain top', but the same Lennox Lewis who failed to decisively defeat Klitschko would hammer the young lineal champion in a matter of 5 rounds, with 3 tone-setting knockdowns along the way.

With Vitali 39 years of age and Shannon quickly approaching the same block, it should be intriguing to see which path this fight trails along. The tale of the tape yields very few answers, with Vitali standing 3 inches taller, yet holding no advantage what-so-ever in the reach category. When you look at intangibles, the spotlight quickly shifts back to consistencies, and the lack-thereof, as both men have recently begun to show age, a tremendous level of wear and tear, and a shakiness about their wits that could serve them little help as they prepare to pull the trigger come Saturday night.

In the final analysis, this showdown, like all others, will come down to a few critical seconds. During those critical seconds the make or break elements will come down to how one man attacks, and how the other reacts. Vitali has been long known as the measuring stick of the division according to some, but allowing a very one-dimensional Kevin Johnson to go the distance was a prime example of his diminishing skills over the course of a 12 round fight. Shannon Briggs, on the other hand, has arrived looking as trim as ever, yet a recent layoff only allocated him a whopping 4 ring rounds over the past 3 years. When you assess the reality behind both of these men today it tells us that although anything can happen, only one outcome seems probable. In the Rap world, there's an old adage that ask "Is Brooklyn In The House"? We never got an official answer to that question, but if America has any current plans of owning a portion of the heavyweight strap, they'd sure as hell better hope so!

(OFFICIAL PREDICTION - VITALI KLITSCHKO VIA 11th RD TECHNICAL STOPPAGE - TKO11)

(Vivek Wallace can be reached at vivexemail@yahoo.com, 954-292-7346, Youtube (VIVEK1251), Twitter (VIVEKWALLACE747), Facebook, & Myspace).

Article posted on 15.10.2010



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