Former lineal heavyweight champion Shannon Briggs, weighing an especially heavy and soft, 261, crunched Ghanian Abraham Okine, 245½, in 3 rounds of a scheduled 10 in Verona, New York Friday night.
The bout, which took place as part of the backdrop for the International Boxing Hall of Fame festivities in nearby Canastota this weekend, was to be Okine's move into the big-time against a fading former contender (and champion if we're purists).
Briggs, 42-4-1 (36 KOs), is now riding a 6 fight win streak of sorts -- although none of the wins have come against ranked fighters. He's also won 9 of his last 10.
Okine, now 14-1 (8 KOs), came into the bout having beaten only two fighters with winning records. One of the wins came against a 45-year-old Tony Tubbs in 2003, in a fight in which Okine was on the deck before stopping the old former WBA champion in the 8th-round.
In the opening round, Briggs clipped Okine with abandon, dropping him twice and nearly ending the fight.
Okine, though clearly outclassed every second of the fight, was able to survive round two as it appeared Briggs was cruising a bit in an effort to conserve energy.
Briggs quickly went to work in round three landing sharps left hooks to set up a right that stretched the very limited Okine. Okine was able to get up but was clearly in no shape to continue. The bout was stopped by referee Charlie Fitch at 0:54 of the round.
Briggs can likely work his way back into the world ratings with just a few more wins -- against practically anyone. He is not in the Don King promotion system, but can make himself marketable with a few more TV appearances.
Much like WBO belt-holder Lamon Brewster, Briggs comes across well in post-fight interviews and has the kind of charisma that is important to bring crowds back to the arenas.
If the division can be unified, there is likely a place for Briggs in any future world champion's dance card for him provided he keeps winning.
His prospects for doing well against a champion will depend in large measure on his willingness to get his body into championship shape, which has never been his strong suit.
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