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Shannon Briggs added to Haye-Gjergjaj undercard

briggs66By Scott Gilfoid: American heavyweight slugger Shannon Briggs (59-6-1, 52 KOs) has been added to David Haye’s May 21 undercard at the O2 Arena in London, UK. Briggs, 44, will be fighting an opponent still to be determined. If Briggs wins that fight, then he’ll be facing Haye in his next fight.

Haye has to get through his fight on the card against obscure heavyweight Arnold Gjergjaj. Haye would seem to have a victory in the bag with the choice of the 31-year-old Gjergjaj, but you never know. One punch is all it takes in the heavyweight division, as we saw last Saturday night with Anthony Joshua’s 2nd round knockout win over IBF heavyweight champion Charles Martin.

What’ll be funny is if Briggs’ opponent is better than the guy that Haye is fighting on the card. That would be a laugh. The 6’4” Briggs goes out there and faces a more talented opponent than the one Haye is fighting. I don’t see it though. Briggs hasn’t been facing good opposition since he launched his comeback in 2014.

Briggs has won his last eight fights since starting his comeback, but he’s been facing 3rd tier opposition. Most of the wins that Briggs has registered have been 1st round knockout jobs. He looks good, but he’s not been facing live bodies. Most of the guys that Briggs has beaten, he’s stopped with body shots. Briggs has lost a lot of hand speed and timing with the four years he was out of the ring from 2010 to 2014, but he’s been able to make up for it by aiming his shots downstairs to his opponents’ midsection.

Haye was reluctant to fight Briggs until the American traveled to the UK and cornered Haye recently at his press conference to announce his fight against Gjergjaj. However, it still gook one more encounter with Haye before Briggs could get him to agree to fight him. Briggs ambushed Haye at the Martin-Joshua weigh-in and got in Haye’s face.

Briggs even touched Haye’s hair without him doing anything about it. Haye looked intimidated by Briggs, to be sure. What was interesting about that encounter was the fact that Haye didn’t start barking at Briggs until he was at a distance, and then Haye started really yapping something fierce. Haye seemed to have problems regathering himself after the encounter, as minutes later, Haye still seemed flustered and not at ease.

“I’m not just going to fight him; I’m going to knock him out. He can take a lot of punishment and is a bit of a tough guy, but let’s he how long he can stay standing when I start to rain down Hayemaker’s on his big head! That Chump is going to regret ever taking that flight to Heathrow to start harassing me!” said Haye about Briggs.

I would normally agree with Haye that he’s going to KO Briggs, but I think you’ve still got to give Briggs a chance in this fight. He can take a lot of heavy shots, and his chin would keep him in the fight long enough for him to unload his own bombs. If Briggs is still hanging around by the 10th round, he might drop one of his left hand nuclear shots and obliterate Haye.

The only thing that you have to wonder is whether Briggs would be punch drunk by that point in the fight from taking so many heavy shots? I don’t think he will because Haye doesn’t throw a lot of punches. He may hit you with 10 good shots per round, but it’s not like when Briggs fought former WBC heavyweight champion Vitali Klitschko in 2010, and was hit by countless hard shots in every round.

Vitali didn’t punch like Haye with every shot, but he made up for it by throwing many more shots of his own and not getting hit back. The 6’7” Vitali had the height and reach to drop his bombs on the chin of Briggs without getting hit back. But the 6’3” Haye doesn’t have the same kind of size to get out of the way of Briggs’ power shots in the same way that Vitali did.

Haye needs to stay as active as possible so he can help build up a big money fight against newly crowned IBF heavyweight champion Anthony Joshua. Haye wants to take that fight as soon as possible, but he would be better off letting the fight build until 2017 before he takes the fight. If he faces Joshua right now, it won’t be nearly as big a fight than it would be if the two fought each other in 2017 after Haye has added a few scalps to his resume.

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