Shannon Briggs vs. Jakov Gospic possible for Saturday

By Boxing News - 05/18/2016 - Comments

briggs8By Scott Gilfoid: Former WBO heavyweight champion Shannon “The Cannon” Briggs (59-6-1, 52 KOs) won’t be facing the 6’7” Ukrainian Alexander Dimitrenko as previously talked about, as Dimitrenko has reportedly pulled out of the fight unfortunately. Instead, the 44-year-old Briggs could wind up facing 33-year-old Croatian journeyman Jakov Gospic (17-14, 12 KOs) in a 10 round bout on the undercard of this Saturday’s heavyweight clash between David Haye and Arnold Gjergjaj at the O2 Arena in London, UK.

It’s too bad that Briggs won’t be fighting Dimitrenko, because he needs a good opponent like that to help build up a fight between him and the 35-year-old Haye for September. Fighting Gospic, who has lost seven out of his last ten fights, won’t create a lot of interest in the British boxing public for a Briggs vs. Haye fight, or at least shouldn’t create a lot of interest. I hate to say that Gospic is a “possible” opponent for Briggs because he’s definitely one that they’re looking at for the fight, but with the track record of this promotion in nailing down an opponent for Briggs, I won’t assume anything until I see Briggs standing across the ring with Gospic on Saturday night.

This is so, so disappointing for Briggs not to have Dimitrenko as his opponent for this fight because he clearly would have made the fight an interesting one. Heck, Dimitrenko is arguably a better fighter than the guy Haye is fighting in Gjergjaj. That would have looked interesting with the 44-year-old Briggs fighting the tougher guy than Haye on Saturday night.

It was revealed earlier on Wednesday at the press conference in London that Briggs won’t be facing Dimitrenko.

“I’m not sure yet. I was supposed to fight Dimitrenko. He pulled out. I had a tougher opponent that he (David Haye) is fighting and I took it hands down. I want David Haye. I want to take the shine off of him. Everything he’s got is mine,” said Briggs to about his opponent for Saturday night.

This is pretty ridiculous for Briggs’ opponent not to have been nailed down and under contract at this late stage. Haye should have already worked all that out weeks ago. I mean, if you’re going to have Briggs on your card as the chief support, at least you should have had his opponent having signed the contract by now so that the boxing public has something to look forward to. Goodness knows, the main event between Haye and the little known 31-year-old Gjergjaj promises very little in the way of action.

British heavyweight Dillian Whyte sees Gjergjaj as a terrible opponent, and I can’t argue with that. Haye hasn’t been going out of his way to find dangerous opposition since mounting his comeback last January. If Haye eventually gets beaten, it probably won’t be due to him facing quality opposition. It’ll probably be an injury thing where one of his limps fails him.

“Dimitrenko pulled out. He agreed to the fight and didn’t clear it with the manager,” said Haye to “Apparently he did this in the fight before as well. So right at the moment we’re looking at opponents for Shannon. He said he’ll fight anyone, so we’re trying to find someone suitable.”

Gospic was knocked out in three rounds last December by Dereck Chisora in a one-sided fight in which Chisora fought like he was in 1st gear until knocking him out. Gospic has also been stopped by the likes of Erkan Teper, Carlos Takam and Gary Cornish.

I don’t know if it’s even worth it to have the 44-year-old Briggs on Haye’s card if he’s not going to be fighting a decent opponent. It’s kind of worthless in my view to have Briggs fighting a journeyman. Even if Briggs doesn’t face Gospic, he’s still going to wind up fighting another journeyman, and that’s not going to help build interest in a Haye-Briggs fight.

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Haye wants to beat Briggs later this year and then move on to face IBF heavyweight champion Anthony Joshua shortly after that. Joshua and his promote Eddie Hearn need to insist that Haye fight live bodies to help build their eventual fight, because he’s not going it the right way in facing the likes of Gjergjaj of Mark De Mori before fighting Joshua. I don’t think the casual boxing fans in the UK have ever heard of those guys.

Haye might as well be working out in the gym rather than taking fights if those are the type of opponents he’s going to be picking out. I think Haye is really shortchanging himself by facing weak opponents because he’s ultimately going to limit the amount of interest in a Joshua-Haye fight by failing to face good opponents to build up interest in that fight. I get the impression that there may be a confidence issue with Haye that is causing him to face weak fringe level fighters rather than the top five contenders in the division that will do a lot more in helping create some interest in a fight between him and Joshua.