It’s like paying to see the “fat lady” and the “leopard man” at a carnival sideshow. You’re not really sure what you’re going to see, but your curiosity made you buy a ticket and go in. Once you slip inside the tent and your eyes adjust to the darkness, you see that it’s some bored fat lady with fake whiskers sitting on a stool, and a skinny guy with painted spots pretending to growl from inside a cage.
You may be out a couple bucks, but at least your curiosity is satisfied.
That’s about all Friday night’s SHOWTIME pay-per-view fight between “Merciless” Ray Mercer (34-5-1, 24 KOs) and Shannon Briggs (42-4-1, 36 KOs) has going for it: a sideshow attraction for the curious.
I‘m not saying these guys shouldn’t be fighting on TV, because if you can find that kind of work, you should probably take it, especially Mercer, who is 44 with nine kids. But to charge hard-earned cash to watch it on TV seems a little out of line, even with the IBF cruiserweight title fight between O’Neil Bell and Sebastian Rothman on the ticket.
For those of you who might have missed it, Briggs, 33, and Mercer have been semi-busy the past couple years, both guys fighting four times in the past 24 months. The only problem with that is, who knew? I thought Mercer had finally retired almost three years ago after taking a severe beating from Wladimir Klitschko. If that fight had taken place in a parking lot instead of a prize ring, Klitschko would still be doing hard time for assault.
And Briggs? He’s hard to miss with those golden locks, but the only time I’ve seen him near a ring in the past few years was earlier this month when he attended the Jeff Lacy-Robin Reid fight in Tampa.
I elbowed the guy next to me when I saw Briggs sitting near ringside with David Tua and Jameel McCline. They were at the Lacy fight to help promote Friday’s fight.
“Is Briggs still fighting?” I asked him.
“Apparently,” the guy said.
Live on pay-per-view from The Seminole Hard Rock Hotel and Casino in Hollywood, Florida.
Hey, isn’t that a fake beard?
“The heavyweight division isn’t as dead as people say it is,” Briggs was quoted as saying by USA Today. “There isn’t a dominant guy like Mike Tyson, Larry Holmes and Muhammad Ali were in their time, but there’s a bunch of guys who are good.”
Unfortunately, that’s miles away from being great.
“Right now, the division is weak because too many guys are being protected instead of being tested,” Mercer said. “Promoters and fighters don’t seem to want to put their guys up against anybody who has a chance to beat them.”
While Tua won’t be fighting Friday night, McCline will be on the undercard fighting a guy named Steve Pannell.
Never heard of Pannell? Mercer stopped him in three rounds last year.
As for me, I’ve seen enough bearded ladies in my lifetime.