Shannon Briggs faces Emilio Ezequiel Zarate this Saturday

By Boxing News - 05/20/2016 - Comments


By Scott Gilfoid: Shannon Briggs (59-6-1, 52 KOs) will be fighting last minute replacement opponent Argentinean Emilio Ezequiel Zarate (20-16-3, 11 KOs) this Saturday night on the undercard of the David Haye vs. Arnold Gjergjaj card at the O2 Arena in London, UK.

It’s kind of sad to say but the Briggs-Zarate fight will be the chief support for the Haye vs. Gjergjaj fight card. For Briggs, this is his third and hopefully final opponent scheduled for the card. Briggs was supposed to fight Alexander Dimitrenko initially. However, the 33-year-old Dimitrenko reportedly pulled out of the card. Then there was journeyman Jakov Gospic (17-14, 12 KOs) as Briggs’ potential opponent. Gospic never got past the rumor stage, so it wasn’t surprising that he was switched out for the 34-year-old Zarate.

It’s just troubling that it took until the day before the Haye-Gjergjaj fight card is taking place that Briggs’ opponent has finally been nailed down. Haye needs to work on the promotions for his future fight cards so that this type of thing doesn’t routinely take place because he could lose ticket sales that way.

Briggs needs this win to get a fight against Haye in September. Haye promised Briggs that he would give him a fight if he fights on his card and wins his fight. With Briggs fighting Zarate, you can pretty much guarantee that he’ll win his fight. I think Haye would have been better off fighting Briggs on this fight card rather than Gjergjaj, but I guess Haye wasn’t ready to make that move.

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At least by Briggs fighting on his undercard on Saturday, Haye will be able to inspect his talent level to determine if he’s a threat to beating him or not. I think Briggs has to be seen as a threat to Haye because he’s a real heavyweight and not one of the weaker journeyman level guys that Haye has been fighting. I’m sorry but I don’t consider many of Haye’s past heavyweight competition as quality.

The Briggs vs. Zarate fight is scheduled for 10 rounds. I can’t see it going that far though. Zarate has a questionable chin. Zarate was knocked out in two rounds by the light hitting Hughie Fury last November in Bristol. Zarate made Hughie look like a knockout artist the way he was quickly taken out. Zarate has lost four out of his last six fights since 2014 and that’s not good. Most of his fights have taken place in his native Argentina.

One positive that Zarate has going for him is he’s won his last two fights against Martin Picone (0-2) and Pablo Alberto Conti (0-2) in 2016. The negative is that those two guys had identical 0-2 records and clearly were not world class operators.

Dimitrenko in what would have been an exciting fight for the fans. Someone dropped the ball in not getting the 6’7” Dimitrenko signed, sealed and delivered for Briggs. It’s too bad because it would have been the perfect opponent for Briggs to fight to help create interest for a match-up against Haye in September.

Briggs should be able to take care of Zarate in a round or two if he unloads on him with some of his big power shots. Zarate folded quick in his fight against Hughie Fury after the 6’6” fighter turned up the gas in the 2nd round and had him hurt.

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Briggs can still really punch despite being up there in age at 44. I think he’ll make quick work of Zarate on Saturday night. He’s going to want to impress the fans at the O2 Arena while at the same showing off his power. Briggs wants to show both the fans and Haye that he’s for real and needs to be taken seriously as someone that can potentially give Haye another loss on his resume.

Haye has had only a handful of fights since he moved up to the heavyweight division, and most of those fights have come against weak opposition. The only good opponents Haye has fought at the heavyweight division were Nikolay Valuev and Wladimir Klitschko. I thought Haye deserved a loss to Valuev because he was badly outworked by him and only fought well in the 12th round when he knocked the 7-foot Valuev off balance with a right hand. Haye fought scared most of the fight and looked terrible. Briggs has the most power of anyone Haye will have faced. If Briggs can land one of his big left hooks or right hands, he’ll finish Haye.