PHOENIX– If Sergei Liakhovich and Shannon Briggs show up to throw punches like they barked about heading into their November 4th contest at Chase Field, downtown Phoenix could steal the slugging spotlight on a night also scheduled for Floyd Mayweather Jr and Carlos Baldomir.
Just as a conference call to hype the Showtime production was concluding, Briggs mocked Liakhovich into a revealing freak out.
“You don’t know what you started,” growled the usually reserved Liakhovich with surprising rage. “”I’ll show you who’s stupid. I’ll cut your tongue off! I will take your ugly head off!”
Liakhovich end up sounding like some stereotypical Eurocrime syndicate enforcer.
Upbeat and entertaining Briggs dismissed the threats with a chuckle.
“I can’t wait,” chirped Briggs. “Oh God, I can’t wait.”
Briggs signed off abruptly, claiming a dying cell phone battery. One could imagine him howling with glee after provoking the generally stable Liakhovich’s disconnect.
If the fighters maintain similar patterns once the bell rings, put your money on a calculating Briggs to conk him silly. At this point the over under on the bout’s duration should be about seven rounds.
Jovial Briggs may just be doing a good job stoking his end of prefight fires, but it sure seems personal now to Liakhovich. The pair have started to emerge like protagonists from an ‘80s action flick.
While Briggs may have his endangered tongue in a mouth-pieced cheek, he still understands upcoming risks and rewards.
“I was fighting in backyard barns, in the chicken spot for free,” mused the resurgent Briggs. “This is a great opportunity for me and for boxing. People don’t know who the heavyweight champion is. I’ll clean up this mess.”
The bad blood has brewed from many points of contention. One issue centered around previous Liakhovich trainer Chuck McGregor, now an addition to Briggs’s camp.
“I tried to get Chuck a long time ago,” said Briggs. “I’ve known him for a long time. We got a whole war staff and Chuck is the General. He knows this guy’s fighting style and his personality.”
Briggs also dispelled rumors that “friend for life” co-trainer Jeff Mayweather was no longer with his camp.
“They’re just fooling themselves,” countered solid Liakhovich, now trained by Kenny Weldon. “I was happy to hear they were bringing Chuck McGregor in. It’s going to work to my advantage. He doesn’t know me, he has no idea.”
Producers should open the retractable Chase Field roof just before the main event or cable broadcast. For fans who haven’t checked out the soundtracked spectacle at the home team Diamondbacks games, that prelude alone could be worth the price of upper deck, cheap seat admission.
If Briggs’s chin is as glass as some claim, or Liakhovich leaves an opening, both fighters could hit the lower deck, high cost canvas.
For Liakhovich, the matchup appears to be a matter of basic instinct.
For Briggs, it sounds like a cosmic street philosophy.
“The people want to see blood so that’s what I’m coming for,” said Briggs. “I broke a sparring partner’s rib. My career has had ups and downs. I had a strange relationship with Teddy Atlas that ended badly. Then I was on my own and I never knew how much it took to be a boxer. I got by on natural gifts alone. I never did any of the training I’m doing now. With maturity comes wisdom.”
“It doesn’t matter if I fight Liakhovich or Wladimir Klitschko,” continued Briggs. “They both show tendencies in being bitches. They got that ho in them, I’m hoping to bring it out.”
“Briggs isn’t nearly the strongest opponent I’ve faced,” claimed a ruffled Liakhovich. “Lamon Brewster is a much bigger puncher. Briggs talks like he’ll knock me out in the first round. I hope he tries. Every time he swings at me he’s going to get hit. If he tries to jump on me he’s in for a short night. It’s up to him.”
“Now I believe in myself,” summarized Briggs. “It’s beyond Liakhovich. He’s just a spot in the equation. Brute force and determination. It’s my destiny, already written. I’m looking forward to being WBO champion and bringing life back to the division. I’m ugly, but I’m funny.”
Liakhovich didn’t think so.
Liakhovich claims to be the best of a new breed.
Briggs was linear champion.
Who gets the last laugh is emerging as a more and more interesting affair.