NEW YORK (August 25, 2005) – Tropical Storm Katrina is bearing down on South Florida, but the storm might not be anything like the havoc created in the ring at Hard Rock Live arena Friday night. The long awaited pay-per-view showdown between "Merciless" Ray Mercer (34-5-1, 25 KOs) and Shannon Briggs (42-4-1, 36 KOs), which has been years in the making, is now just 24 hours away, and the main event combatants are ready to rock and roll at the Seminole Hard Rock Hotel and Casino.
Briggs promises disrespect: “I’m gonna show you on Friday night what you do to a disrespectful old man, and I’m ready to do this right now! I felt disrespected when I heard Ray Mercer even showed up to fight. I’m mad now! I’m bringing Hell!”
Former military man Mercer promises to bring his full arsenal. “This ain’t one of his $#!%$ movies. He’s gonna get wrecked! All I want on August 26th is respect. This is my home and I will defend it like I defended my country in the military.”
In addition to the featured Briggs-Mercer showdown, Warriors Boxing Promotions and Cedric Kushner Promotions will also present the return of Jameel McCline (31-5-3, 19 KOs) against Steve Pannell (34-8), a powerful 6-4 native of Salem, Virginia.
The co-main event features IBF cruiserweight champion O'Neil Bell (24-1-1, 22 KOs), who will defend his world title for the first time against South African strongman Sebastian Rothman (18-3-2, 12 KOs). On a fight card loaded full of action from start to finish, highly regarded junior welterweight contender Juan "Iron Twins" Urango (15-0-1, 12 KOs), will aim to keep his unbeaten record intact when he battles slick boxing New Yorker Andre Eason (15-3-0, 6 KOs), in a bout scheduled for 10 rounds.
In another heavyweight bout, Lance Whitaker will be featured in a contest scheduled for ten rounds.
In the heavyweight main event, scheduled for 10 rounds, longtime world title contender Briggs is focused on the heavyweight crown when he squares off against granite-chinned warrior Mercer. It's a match-up of two fighters who both gave former world heavyweight champion Lennox Lewis trouble, and have fought some of the best in the world during the past decade. Briggs has reeled off six straight victories on the heels of a hard-fought defeat to McCline at the Theatre at Madison Square Garden. The Brooklyn-bred brawler has captured 10 of his last 11 fights. Mercer has won 11 of his last 12, the only loss to the highly regarded Wladimir Klitschko.
New York-bred McCline, who has long fought out of Clifton, NJ, has faced both Chris Byrd (IBF) and Wladimir Klitschko (WBO) for versions of the heavyweight title, most recently just missing in a split decision for the IBF title against Byrd at the Garden. McCline emerged as a bona fide contender for the title in 2000 when he reeled off seven consecutive triumphs against the likes of Al Cole, Lance Whitaker, Michael Grant and Shannon Briggs.
Showtime Pay-Per-View will distribute the heavyweight extravaganza and is priced at $29.95. Contact your local cable provider.
Who will win? Wladimir Klitschko or Tyson Fury?