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Klitschko vs. Briggs: Does Vitali have enough left to overcome Shannon’s power and speed advantage?

Shannon Briggs, Vitali Klitschko boxing photo and news imageBy Matt Stein: Former WBO heavyweight champion Shannon Briggs (51-5-1, 45 KO’s) still may be a little rusty from inactivity as he enters his fight against WBC heavyweight Vitali Klitschko (40-2, 38 KO’s) on October 16th, at the O2 World Arena, in Hamburg, Germany.

However, Briggs, 38, is the younger fighter in this bout compared to the 39-year-old Klitschko, and Briggs has fought fewer rounds than Klitschko despite having more fights than the Ukrainian. Briggs may have less mileage on his physical odometer than Klitschko, because many of Briggs’s fights have resulted in him stopping his opponents in the 1st round. These early knockouts have saved Briggs a lot of wear and tear in the ring. So in a way, Briggs may be a lot younger than Klitschko than just one year. Briggs already has the speed and the power advantage going for him in their fight. What he doesn’t have is the height, reach and the boxing skills that Klitschko possesses.

But power and speed has a way of evening out the odds. Look at Roy Jones Jr. He got by on hand speed a lone for countless years, and it wasn’t until he lost a lot of his speed that he began to run into problems. Briggs is still blazing fast in terms of hand speed and he still crushing power with both his left and his right. Vitali will have to try and stay away from Briggs if he wants to avoid getting caught by something big early in the fight. But that’s not how Vitali fights. He’s going to take the fight to Briggs like he does with all of his opponents and try to land his left hook and his right hands.

Briggs will have a target in front of him on October 16th, so he needs to take advantage of his opportunities and go after Klitschko with his best shots early in the fight. Vitali hasn’t faced a puncher like Briggs since he was taken out by Lennox Lewis in 2003. Sure, Vitali has beaten big punchers like Samuel Peter and Chris Arreola, but those guys don’t hit as hard as Briggs, and they don’t have his hand speed and size. Briggs is a lot taller than both of those guys. Arreola is listed at 6’4” by boxrec, but he looks closer to 6’2” and maybe even just 6’1”. In his fight with the 6’1” Tomasz Adamek, both fighters appeared to be the same height.

Briggs could present problems for Klitschko that he hasn’t seen in many years. Klitschko had problems in the Lewis fight. It seemed like every time Lewis would land flush, he would rip up Klitschko’s face. By the time the bout was over, Klitschko was a bloody mess. We could see the same thing with Briggs ripping Klitschko apart.

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