Briggs: “I have a date with Klitschko set for September”
By Dan Ambrose: 43-year-old former WBO heavyweight champion Shannon Briggs (57-6-1, 50 KOs) says he’s got an agreement with IBF/IBO/WBA/WBO heavyweight champion Wladimir Klitschko (63-3, 53 KOs) to face him later this year in September if Wladimir gets past the unbeaten Bryant Jennings (19-0, 10 KOs) in their fight on April 25th.
Briggs has been hounding the 38-year-old Klitschko for a fight in the last year, and his hard work has paid off with Klitschko giving him the fight, if what Briggs is saying is true.
Briggs believes his fight against Klitschko is the biggest fight in boxing right now. Briggs doesn’t think the Floyd Mayweather Jr vs. Manny Pacquiao fight will take place. In the absence of that fight taking place, Briggs seemingly thinks that his match with Wladimir will catch the public’s imagination and that they’ll be excited about the fight. It’s going to be interesting to see if that’s the case, because Briggs has been out of the loop in the heavyweight division for four years since his one-sided loss to Vitali Klitschko.
A balding and graying Briggs came back in 2014, and he’s won his last 6 fights but it’s been against horribly weak opposition. He’s fought largely 3rd tier heavyweights, and yet the WBA has given him a No. 6 ranking with their organization. That’s a fairly high ranking for someone who hasn’t faced even a slight test among his six wins since his comeback. We’re talking pure journeyman level opposition that Briggs has faced in his comeback.
“I have a date with Klitschko set for September, if not sooner,” Briggs told Buncey’s Boxing Podcast on ESPN.co.uk. “His people have confirmed that – we’ve got a date. We’re looking at September. We’re looking at Hamburg, but hopefully we can change that venue to somewhere in America. I was asked to take the fight in Germany. But I told them that the price wasn’t right. This is a bigger fight than any other right now.”
Briggs stormed into Wladimir’s training sessions before his fight against Kubrat Pulev, and interrupted Wladimir’s press conference with Alex Leapai last year in April of 2014. Briggs also an altercation with Wladimir at a Florida restaurant. He also wound up on the same lake that Wladimir was on while he was on sail board, and caused Wladimir to fall into the water at one point. These are just some of the incidents that Briggs was involved in with Klitschko in order to get a fight against him.
The interest in Germany for a Briggs-Klitschko fight is surprisingly high. The German media seem to have a high interest in Briggs, and it’s a marketable fight over there. It will likely be Wladimir’s biggest fight since his bout with David Haye in 2011. It’s also a marketable fight in Ukraine. However, it’s not a fight that will likely resonate in the United States. HBO will likely televise the bout, but it’ll be surprising if it brings in good ratings because the American boxing fans are knowledgeable about heavhywieghs, and many of them will know that Briggs hasn’t fought anyone good to get a world title shot.
Briggs didn’t fight anyone good the last time he got a world title shot against former WBC heavyweight champion Vitali Klitschko in 2010. If you look at the three guys Briggs beat – Rafael Pedro, Dominique Alexander and Rob Calloway – to get the title shot against Vitali, it was lesser heavyweights instead of the top contenders.
Briggs also followed the same format to get a title shot against Siarhei Liakhovich in 2006. Briggs beat 12 weak heavyweights and was given a title shot against Liakhovich without Briggs having to beat a top five contender.
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