By Scott Gilfoid: IBF/IBO/WBA/WBO heavyweight champion Wladimir Klitschko (63-3, 53 KOs) has reportedly already booked the O2 Arena in Hamburg, Germany to face the 43-year-old Shannon Briggs (57-6-1, 50 KOs) later on this year in September after Wladimir takes care of #2 WBA, #3 WBC, #4 WBO, #6 IBF challenger Bryant Jennings (19-0, 10 KOs) in their fight on April 25th at Madison Square Garden in New York.
Wladimir is tired of the way that Briggs, a former WBO heavyweight strap holder, has been following him around and ambushing him at various places in order to get Wladimir to fight him.
So instead of Wladimir continuing to ignore Briggs, it looks like he’s going to try and pay him back by beating him up in the ring.
The problem with this is that Wladimir could find that it might not end with him beating Briggs. If he beats him there’s no telling whether Briggs will continue to follow Wladimir around in order to get a rematch. It could setup a never-ending scenario where Wladimir is having to deal with Briggs.
The World Boxing Association has given Briggs a #6 ranking with their organization after his wins over six God awful opponents. It would be interesting to know what the WBA saw in those fights for them to give Briggs a top 10 ranking, because none of the other sanctioning bodies have the 43-year-old Briggs ranked in their top 15. You could understand the WBA giving Briggs a high ranking if he beat a live body that was a semi-test, but the guys that Briggs has beaten since he started his comeback in April of 2014 have been the poor variety.
“Shannon Briggs has completely crossed the line. I am tired of him. I now want to fight and punish him,” Klitschko said via German newspaper Sport-Bild. “I understand Briggs, he wants promote himself and get a title fight just like David Haye, Tyson Fury, Manuel Charr and Marco Huck did in the past. None of these guys promoted themselves better as Briggs though. The only problem is that he crossed a line. Briggs doesn`t know when enough is enough, it`s not funny anymore.”
It’s on Wladimir if he empowers Briggs by giving him a fight, because if he does that it might not end there. There’s also a possibility that this will lead to other heavyweights following Wladimir around, pestering him for a fight. I’m not sure that Wladimir understands what this move can lead to.
By letting Briggs get an optional title defense without him having to work his way into a mandatory spot, Wladimir is really rewarding Briggs for his behavior instead of punishing him.
Of course, if Wladimir wants to fight Briggs in order to take advantage of the German fans being interested in seeing the Klitschko-Briggs fight, then I can understand why Wladimir would want to fight Briggs. But if that’s the case then he should just be straight up about it and say he wants to fight him because the German fans want the fight and because of the good money it will likely make for him.