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Straight, No Chaser

“It is not often that a person in any line of work gets a chance to work with a legend [Emanuel Steward], well I was privileged enough to work with one for almost a decade. I will miss our time together. The long talks about boxing, the world, and life itself. Most of all I will miss our friendship—Wladimir Klitschko

Recently on the Broner-Theopane undercard, lightweight Robert Easter Jr. (17-0) showed why he’s a rising star with a devastating KO in the 5th round over former world champion Algenis Mendez (23-4-1)). The ending brought the crowd to its feet as the tall and lean youngster took out Mendez with a straight right that reminded onlookers of Thomas Hearns and his snappy one-punch knockouts.

And that’s the thing,—memories of “The Hit Man” brought back memories of the great trainer Emanuel Steward and his ability to give meaning to the phrase “Straight, No Chaser.” When Tommy took out Pipino Cuevas with his jackhammer right, it was the precursor to many more including the shockers that sedated James Shuler and Roberto Duran. But it didn’t end with Tommy. Still to come was Lennox Lewis and his poleax of a long right that rarely required a follow-up if it landed flush.  Then, in 2012, Emanuel was training heavyweight Wladimir Klitschko, another who possessed a long right hand howitzer, when a grave illness forced him to take a leave of absence from training and eventfully caused his premature death.

David Haye and Anthony Joshua

Today, there are few that can lay claim to the phrase “Straight No Chaser” but one who can still paralyze an opponent is comebacking David Haye (27-2). “The Haymaker’s” last fight ended in 130 seconds when he knocked out overmatched Aussie Mark de Mori who had to be stretchered out.

As for the well-muscled Joshua (16-0), a world heavyweight champion in just 16 fights and 34 rounds, his two rights that ended Charles Martin’s ill-gotten reign are the poster child for this article. With blinding speed and raw power, no chaser is necessary when he connects with his straight right down the pike.

Enter Shannon Briggs

“I’ll put an end to the ‘let’s go champ’ movement. I’m changing it to ‘let’s go chump’.”—David Haye

“I don’t know what he’s trying to do, the [older] brother whipped his ass already and put him in the hospital…Imagine what the young one will do.”—James Toney

“He’s [Briggs] around and he’s here to fight, so that fight could happen if it’s the right fight and it makes sense,” —Anthony Joshua before the Martin demolition.

Briggs act is no longer amusing. It stopped being funny a few years back when “The Cannon” began knocking out the lowest level of fodder with pre-arranged left hooks to the body while at the same time stalking and trying to bait Wladimir Klitschko into a bout. The last time Briggs fought someone who had a pulse (as in Vitali Klitschko), he was sent to the hospital for an extended stay. Whether that horrendous beating knocked him into deferred dementia is within the realm of possibility, but far more likely is the probability that he is desperately trying to stay relevant in order to get one last big payday.

Finally, after gate crashing one press conference after another with his bizarre, albeit phony behavior and bile-inducing war cries of “Let’s Go Champ,” it appears that Briggs (59-6-1) might actually be getting a big fight –and more importantly  the attendant big payday. It’s now close to being confirmed that Briggs will fight on David Haye’s upcoming undercard, when Haye faces unknown Kosovo-Albanian Arnold Gjergjaj (29-0). Should Briggs win (he already met one condition by passing an MRI brain scan at Harley Street in London), Haye has promised to take him on next. Bizarre behavior aside, Briggs is as shrewd as a fox.

The two were involved in a scuffle as Anthony Joshua and Charles Martin concluded their weigh-in before Saturday’s IBF heavyweight title fight. An infuriated Haye has taken the bait where Klitschko didn’t. Haye says:

 “The big moron Shannon Briggs – everywhere I go, this guy keeps chasing me around…He can fight on my undercard – if he can win, if he can pass the medical, if he can pass the brain scan, then I’ll knock him out afterwards … He said he wants to do it. So he’s getting knocked out….if he can pass the brain scan, then I’ll knock him out afterwards….I’ll teach him a serious lesson in respect.”

If this fight is made, there will be no gift decision for Briggs (as there was against George Foreman); there will be no Zoltan Petranyi or Maurenzo Smith as his opponent.  No, what Briggs will be getting is a lethal straight with no follow-up shot necessary. And while the 44-year-old will finally get his payday, his stale imitation of Clubber Lang will thankfully end. At a time when Anthony Joshua shows class and humility, Briggs has become an embarrassment, even in a business known for shameless behavior.

With a nod to the late Thelonious Monk.

Ted Sares is one of the world’s oldest active power lifters and holds several records. He enjoys writing about boxing.

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