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WBA orders Shannon Briggs vs. Fres Oquendo

Image: WBA orders Shannon Briggs vs. Fres Oquendo

By Eric Baldwin: The World Boxing Association has ordered heavyweights Shannon Briggs and Fres Oquendo to fight it out for the vacant WBA heavyweight title. Briggs, 46, reportedly wants the Oquendo fight to take place in London, England. Briggs (60-6-1, 53 KOs) has been building a fan base in the UK since fighting on the undercard heavyweight David Haye’s last fight in May of 2016.

It looks like Briggs is trying to position himself to fight a unification match against IBF champion Anthony Joshua in the UK if he can capture the WBA title.

Briggs has a good chance of beating Oquendo (37-8, 24 KOs), who hasn’t fought in 2 ½ years. Depending on how long it takes for Briggs and Oquendo to face each other, it would be 3 years since Oquendo fought. Without a tune-up, Oquendo is going to be really up against it when he gets inside the ring with Briggs. It doesn’t matter how old Briggs is right now. He’s been an active at least, and he can still punch with a tremendous amount of power.

Oquendo lost his last fight to Ruslan Chagaev by a 12 round majority decision in a failed effort to win the vacant WBA World heavyweight title in July 2014. The 43-year-old Oquendo’s last win came in May 2014, when he beat journeyman Galen Brown (41-26-1) by a 2nd round knockout. Oquendo’s last victory over a quality opponent came four years ago in his 10 round unanimous decision win over Derric Rossy in June 2013.

Briggs said this to about his fight against Oquendo:

“Dreams do come true and it’s finally time; there’s history in the making,” said Briggs. “I am looking forward to winning the title and making a lot of people see that it can be done. I have been working for this for a long time and I would take it anywhere, but London would be great.”

This is Lucas Browne’s vacant WBA title that Briggs and Oquendo will be fighting over.
This is great news for Briggs and his boxing fans. However, he shouldn’t get too ahead of himself by thinking he’s got the win in the bag. Oquendo is a boxer/puncher, and he’ll be sure to have come up with a good plan to neutralize Briggs’ punching power by using movement for 12 rounds.

Oquendo has a great jab, and he’s not going to just stand in one place and let Briggs land his big power shots all night. If Briggs wants to beat Oquendo, then he’s going to need to put some pressure on him all night long, because he’s going to move around to keep getting hit. Briggs likes to throw left hooks. Oquendo is going to make sure he stays out of reach of those big shots as much as possible.

Despite Haye choosing not to fight Briggs after he agreed to fight on his undercard last May, Briggs has very little bad to say about him. Briggs figures that he’ll still wind up facing Haye in the future after he wins the vacant WBA title against Oquendo.

“Here I am fighting for a world title and he’s fighting a cruiserweight, Tony Bellew, and there’s a possibility he may get beat,” said Briggs. “And even if he doesn’t, eventually he will have to come to The Champ, because once I knock Oquendo out, he’s going to want a shot at me.”

I don’t think Haye is going to take a risk by fighting Briggs, even though he would likely KO the aging former WBO heavyweight champion. Haye seems to be more interested in taking it easy with soft opponents until he gets an eventual payday fight against Anthony Joshua in the future. After Haye gets that fight, then he might be interested in facing Briggs. In theory, Haye would have nothing to lose by fighting Briggs. Never the less, Haye might not be willing to fight Briggs even then.

The boxing fans would like to see the Briggs vs. Haye fight, but it still might not be one that Haye fancies. If he’s focused on rebuilding his career after a knockout loss to Joshua, then it wouldn’t be practical for Haye to take on a big slugger like Briggs. The fighters that Briggs would have a good chance of fighting once he gets the WBA title is Joshua, Luis “King Kong” Ortiz and Deontay Wilder.

The Joshua and Wilder fights would be good for Briggs. The Ortiz fight could be much less so. Haye would be a good option if Briggs could get to him before he faces Joshua. Like I was saying, I don’t think Haye is going to want the Briggs fight.

Oquendo used to be a good fighter many years ago. Many years ago, Oquendo was mixing it up with guys like David Tua, Maurice Harris, Chris Byrd, Javier Mora, Evander Holyfield. Elieser Castillo, James Toney, Bruce Seldon, Clifford Etienne, Obed Sullivan, David Izon, Oliver McCall, Jean Marc Mormeck, and Demetrice King. Those are pretty good bunch of fighters. Most of them are now retired from boxing. Oquendo fought some really good fighters. Unfortunately for him, he lost to most of them.

Briggs has a very good chance of beating Oquendo due to the ring rust he’ll have. It’s too bad Oquendo can’t take a tune-up fight before facing Briggs, because he needs one. It’s unheard of for a fighter to be out of the ring for close to three years fighting for a world title in their first fight back.

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