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Haye: I can’t afford to get hit by Briggs’ big punches


By Scott Gilfoid: David Haye (28-2, 26 KOs) did what everyone expected him to last Saturday night in smashing an over-matched Arnold Gjergjaj (29-1, 21 KOs) in two rounds at the O2 Arena in London, UK. It wasn’t a fight, and it clearly wasn’t supposed to be. Gjergjaj was just some second tier fighter with an inflated resume of empty wins until Haye signed him. Now that the Haye-Gjergjaj is done with, Haye will be facing 44-year-old Shannon Briggs (60-6-1, 53 KOs) in September in the UK.

Haye, 35, is very wary of Briggs’ punching power, and he should be. Briggs looked devastating in destroying Emilio Zarate in one round last Saturday night on the undercard of the Haye vs. Gjergjaj fight. Heck, Briggs looked even better than Haye. He was throwing nothing but body shots and he looked very powerful, and not like an older guy. Briggs fought like someone in his 30s.

While the 224 pound Haye showed good punching power in throwing head shots against Gjergjaj, the 250lb Briggs looked considerably stronger in ripping punches to the body of Zarate until he collapsed on the canvas and laid there in pain.

There’s no question that Haye would have been in a similar circumstance if he’d been the recipient of those body shots. Any fighter would.

“I’m going to need to be careful in the first few rounds but I believe my superior conditioning and my speed will help me be able to outmaneuver him, knock him down and knock him out,” said Haye to about Briggs. “In the first three rounds he’s very dangerous, ask Lennox Lewis. The last thing a fighter loses is his punch. I can’t afford to get hit by any of his big bombs. He’s a big 18-stone man, very powerful, the most first-round knock-outs out of any heavyweight champion in history.”

Oh no, I think we’re going to see Haye running around the ring like a timid rabbit like we saw in his fights against Wladimir Klitschko and Nikolay Valuev in the past. Haye fought like he was afraid to let his hands go in both of those fights. In looking back at those fights, Haye only let his hands go in the 12th rounds. Even then, he was limited to one pot shot and that was it.

If Haye is going to fight defensively all night long to avoid getting hit by Brigg’s hard body shots, then it could be a very, very boring fight. Unfortunately for Haye, defending against body shots is almost impossible to do, especially for heavyweights. Now if Briggs was a head hunter, then Haye’s running around would undoubtedly protect him from getting hit by those type of punches. But running does not help against fighters that throw to the body because they’re going to land to the body with spearing shots no matter how much running you do. I mean, I think Haye is going to have to actually fight Briggs and hope for the best.

If I’m Haye, I’d be trying to get Briggs out of there as fast as possible because he can do a lot of damage in just three rounds. I disagree that Briggs is only dangerous for three rounds. If you watched Briggs’ fight against Rafael Zumbano Love in 2014, Briggs was throwing huge body shots even into the 12th. Love was dancing around for the full 12 rounds, and trying to avoid getting hit.

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Love accomplished that, but he was easily beaten because of his unwillingness to stand and fight Briggs. I saw no weakening at all in Briggs’ punching power late in the fight. Briggs had Love hurt with body shots in the 12th. It was surprising that Love was able to make it the distance because he was clearly in trouble in the final round.

I think Haye doesn’t know what he’s talking about when saying that Briggs is only dangerous for three rounds. He’s dangerous for the entire 12 rounds because he’s a body puncher, not head hunter. Guys that throw to the body are dangerous the entire time. I don’t know what it is but a fighter doesn’t seem to lose power when throwing body shots like they do when they throw head shots.

“I’m quite composed normally but he’s such a big guy and he’s so loud,” said Haye about Briggs. “When he gets into your personal space it makes your blood boil a little bit.”

Haye looks more nervous than angry when Briggs gets in his face. I never see anger in Haye’s face when confronted by Briggs. Just nervousness and fear.

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