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Briggs-Dimitrenko – Let’s Go Champ…..that’s been his identity and calling card for the past couple of years. Yes, I’m talking about former heavyweight title holder Shannon Briggs 59-6-1 (52).  For the better part of the last year and a half he’s shadowed and trolled Wladimir Klitschko when he was the universally recognized heavyweight champion. Prior to Klitschko’s decision defeat to Tyson Fury last December, Briggs followed and taunted Wladimir during gym work outs and press conferences along with renting a speed boat to cause enough wake to disrupt him while he was wind surfing. Oh, and maybe the best one was….the time he ate Klitschko’s food in a restaurant as Wladimir poured a glass of water over his head.

As it turned out Briggs couldn’t get much traction in the U.S. so he took his Barnum show to the U.K. where boxing is experiencing a major resurgence. Once his plane landed he insulted and harassed former cruiserweight and heavyweight title holder David Haye 27-2 (25), praised current IBF title holder Anthony Joshua 16-0 (16) and barged his way into promoter Eddie Hearn’s office and virtually cut a deal to fight on David Haye’s undercard on May 21st when David will fight Arnold Gjergjaj 29-0 (21).

For the last year or so some have laughed at Briggs and didn’t take him seriously. And the reason for that is that Briggs took a shellacking for 12 rounds at the hands of then WBC title-holder Vitali Klitschko back in 2010 in his last notable bout. Shannon didn’t fight for four years and then returned to the ring in April of 2014. Since then he’s gone 8-0 (7), but he hasn’t fought anybody but beginners and journeymen. But that hasn’t slowed him. Briggs superhero physique and Cassius Clay like braggadocio has parlayed him into being the most fun and colorful combat participant on the scene.  And perhaps what’s been lost through the fog of Shannon’s antics is – just how smart he’s played his comeback skit.

Briggs stayed with the routine and was tireless in updating his Instagram account with endless pictures of himself trying to remain relevant and has played this thing perfectly. Or so I thought? What I can’t get my arms around is why would Briggs accept former European champ Alexander Dimitrenko 38-2 (24) as his opponent? On top of that, why would David Haye, another shrewd guy, go along with that knowing if Shannon wins he’ll make a fortune fighting him in his next bout. Briggs has been so careful in his choice of opponents while waiting for his ship to come in…….why would he take a risk now, especially in a fight that won’t bring him much money?

The selection of Dimitrenko is an odd choice, one that I don’t get because Briggs is not automatic to win, not at all. Unless, unless there has been a deal made and everybody is all in. Granted, Dimitrenko hasn’t really fought anybody since he quit against Kubrat Pulev back in 2012. And if you missed that bout, Pulev dropped Dimitrenko with a throw away jab and Alexander watched the referee count him out. So it’s possible that Alexander really is used up but sees Briggs as any easy win and a chance to get one more decent payday…..From a Dimitrenko perspective the fight with Briggs makes sense.

As for Briggs the fighter, he doesn’t have anything left but a physique. He’d get annihilated by any of the top-10 active heavyweights. But the cynic in me influences how I see the fight. If I thought the bout was totally on the up and up, I’m not sure who I’d favor because Shannon and Alexander both left the building as fighters years ago. However, Briggs entire routine the last year was solely with the intent of him cashing in one time. There’s no way in the world that the “Let’s Go Champ” routine was designed with him landing a bout with Alexander Dimitrenko. And when I observe how David Haye was the only big name fighter to take Briggs seriously, I have to ask myself why? And when I do that I conclude that David sees Shannon as a chance to get a decent payday and a lot of publicity, not to mention an easy fight that unless he sticks his chin out with his hands down, he can’t lose.  I also grasp that if Dimitrenko beats Briggs, there’s no way Haye will fight him and risk getting the big payday he’s in line to get for fighting either Tyson Fury or Anthony Joshua down the road.

So with that being said, I think Haye knows something and is confident that Dimitrenko won’t upset the apple cart and beat Briggs on his undercard. The fact that Haye and Briggs are fighting on the same card convinces me there’s a good reason – and that reason is that it sets up nicely for them to fight if they both win.  And if they both win, Haye and Briggs will promote the hell out of their fight and by fight night it’ll be must-see.

For the life of me I can’t figure out why Briggs agreed to fight Dimitrenko. And for that reason I have come to the conclusion that Briggs will beat Dimitrenko and then fight Haye for a lot of money in the U.K. And the fact that Briggs is fighting Dimitrenko on Haye’s card reinforces my belief that it’s in the cards for Briggs to come out on top.

 

Frank Lotierzo can be contacted at GlovedFist@Gmail.com

 

 

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