The Panda vs. The Cannon: Is a showdown between Chauncy Welliver and Shannon Briggs now inevitable?
by Geoffrey Ciani (Exclusive News from “On the Ropes”) - Former two-time heavyweight champion Shannon “The Cannon” Briggs (51-6-1, 45 KOs) and top ten heavyweight contender Chauncy “The Boxing Panda” Welliver (49-5-5, 19 KOs) had a heated exchange of words in separate segments on this week’s 142nd edition of On the Ropes Boxing Radio (brought to you by CWH Promotions). Given where these two currently are in the respective stages of their careers, a fight between Briggs and Welliver makes perfect sense for a multitude of reasons.
Article posted on 15.09.2011
For starters Briggs seems inclined to make a return to the ring. As he explained, “I may make a return and fight my way back to the top and get a title shot hopefully.”
Briggs was unimpressed with the recent efforts of Vitali Klitschko in his tenth round stoppage win against Tomasz Adamek and would like another crack at the champion himself. “I fought Vitali with one arm”, said Briggs. “I know that if I would have had two arms I would have knocked him out. No question about that. I hurt him in the tenth round after taking a beating and I was exhausted. I still hurt him in the tenth round. I would have knocked him out and I told him that, but it is what it is.”
Beyond the desire to once again compete at the top level, Briggs has additional motivation to make a return to the squared circle. “George Foreman is my idol. Although I was never a George Foreman fan growing up, and I fought the man, but I look at what he did in his comeback in winning the title and what he used to brand himself. If I choose to come back it would be for that and to basically promote my asthma product that I’m coming out with, Zivair, and that’s only to help people because asthma is a disease that kills people.” He continued, “I would love to launch this product and boxing is the way I’m going to launch it, and with the tools that I’m going to use, that’s what I’m going to do.”
While Briggs is in search of another title run and a means by which to help his new product line, Welliver has long been in search of a credible opponent to help solidify his top ten ranking. Unfortunately for Welliver, his fellow top rated contenders have expressed little or no interest in fighting him. In that sense, this matchup makes perfect sense for both. For Shannon Briggs, it gives him an opportunity against a ranked heavyweight to help climb his way back up the latter and work his way back towards relevance. For Welliver, it provides the chance to finally show what he is made of against a big name opponent. Whoever wins this encounter would inevitably get to move on to bigger and better things, especially in the current lackluster heavyweight landscape.
When asked about a potential fight with Welliver, Briggs was arrogantly dismissive at first, “Chauncy Welliver? Yeah. Okay!” Laughing he continued, “Yeah. Alright, next question!”
But Briggs quickly changed his tune and quipped back, “You know what? If Chauncy would like for me to smash his face in, I would love to!”
When Welliver was questioned about the prospects of fighting Briggs, he immediately warmed to the idea, “If Shannon makes his comeback I would love to fight Shannon! Me and Shannon are polar opposites. I’m a bigger not exactly buff white guy. Shannon is a big muscular black guy. I’m a guy that throws a lot of shots. He’s a guy that throws what? Two punches a round? But he has power, so we’re the exact opposite. I think we make for a great fight and I think I beat him. A lot of people might disagree with that, but there’s only one way to find out.”
It has already been established that this is a fight that makes sense for both boxers, and we now know there is at least some level of willingness on the part of each to do battle. Additionally there is also a long history between these two men that dates back almost a decade, further amplifying the intrigue.
Reflecting back Briggs said, “I mean honestly Chauncy Welliver is a kid who I knew as a young kid. He was a nice kid. Boxing being what it is, he’s grown up now I guess. It is what it is. Good luck Chauncy. That’s all I can say.”
Welliver also spoke of their prior dealings, “He’s invited me to his house, I’ve hung out with him, I’ve sparred him for a couple of fights, I sparred him when he was heavyweight champion, and I’ve given Shannon Briggs absolute hell in the gym. You know Shannon can’t deny that.”
“I have some dislike for Chauncy because I tutored him”, explained Briggs. “I mentored him and his brother, and they just were not loyal. That’s from a boxing I guess you could almost say business perspective, or say personal”.
Welliver, however, had a different take on events when he shared the following account:
“He can call me disloyal, he could call me whatever he wants. Shannon was a mentor and that’s where the next part of the story comes into play. Shannon started a management company with America Top Team, which is famous in MMA now. Shannon flew me down to Florida. He showed me the flashing lights and the parties and everything when I was 19 years old in Miami. It was big! I had never been to Miami in my life. The first night he’s telling me how he wants to manage me. He’s going to get me this much money, and this guy is going to get me a regional title fight, and Shannon will be the champion, and he’ll vacate, and I’ll win the title, and just giving me this big story. Then we go out, this guy sees Shannon Briggs, tries kind of starting crap with him, and it really wasn’t Shannon’s fault.
The guy says, ‘You know I think I can knock you out!’
So Shannon says, ‘Well okay, I think this kid here can knock you out!’
They start making bets and Shannon almost got me into a fight! As a 19 year old I admit, I was young and dumb and I thought, ‘Oh cool, I can fight! No problem! I’ll fight this guy. Shannon Briggs asked me to fight, I’ll fight!’
Then the cops showed up and Shannon goes running like a little girl, and goes running wherever he went running. I’m standing there all alone in a town I have never been there. I’m thinking well what the heck? Imagine! If this is happening on the first night what will happen on the rest of my stay here? So I ended up not signing with Shannon and his team. He calls me disloyal there. I call myself smart. I call myself really smart because a lot of other 19 year old would have said, ‘Well I still get to party, you know, and I’ll beat the guy up!’
But where would my life be now? I’d probably be in jail if not dead. So I’m glad I made that decision”
In closing, Briggs resumed, “But yeah, if he’s around and I decide to come back I would love to smash him!”
Welliver seemed equally up to the task, “Hey Shannon! If you want to fight we can do it in China, we can do it in Florida, we can do it in New York, we can do it in—oh wait a minute! You can’t do it in New York. You took steroids there. That’s what you have to do to get your wins. How does this sound? You can take your steroids anywhere you want and still fight me! I’ll fight you! I don’t care what you’re on—bring it!”
Can a fight between Welliver and Briggs become a reality?
Welliver and Briggs are two guys who seem to dislike each other and are interested in squaring off. That right there is the formula for a fight fans want to see. In today’s heavyweight division there is an overall lack of excitement, especially amongst American fans. A fight between Welliver and Briggs, however, can perhaps generate some buzz. The pieces are all in place. You have two guys that make sense for each other at this point, neither one seems to care much for the other, you have a mentor/protégé relationship gone awry, and contrasting fighting styles that are a recipe for an interesting clash. This one is a no brainer.
Will the fight actually happen, though?
Only time will tell.
For those interested in listening to the Shannon Briggs interview in its entirety, it begins approximately seventeen minutes into the program, and for those interested in hearing the Chauncy segment it begins at the conclusion of the Briggs call.
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