PUNCHING BAGS AND GAS BAGS – Shannon Briggs certainly isn’t the classiest example of a United States citizen’s behavior, but he is a pretty effective salesman.
After parading around shirtless and shouting, at two heavily attended media events for the Wlaimir Klitschko – Alex Leapai fight this week, Briggs (seen barking at Wlad in KMG/Michael Sterling Eaton photo) was successful at keeping his name in the heavyweight marketing arena.
Briggs or his defenders will say what they always say. No hard feelings, just trying to drum up business, but who knows what might have happened if Leapai got to Briggs for a few moments when Briggs interrupted the final (and biggest) press conference.
Somebody might have gotten glassed.
As it is, Briggs has probably talked his way up a modest pay scale. His Deutschland buffoonery was probably better for the game than his ridiculous 27- second stoppage in Minnesota last week, and his pranks played well with the locals.
After Briggs usurped the press conference, a personally offended Leapai promised “Briggs is next” to more than one TV crew. Even if Leapai loses to Klitschko, a Briggs fight could sell in Australia. Footage from Germany won’t hurt the promotion.
When a big fight occurred in Las Vegas, and probably still, it was common for a challenger to make his presence known at another fighter’s event. It was usually done in with modest defiance, and noted respect.
“I know you’re the real champ, I think I deserve a shot.”
“You’re a good fighter, be patient and you’ll get your chance.”
That basic dialogue resulted in many a contest being drafted, but there was another key component, a mandatory requirement for the stunt to carry any weight.
The barker had to have legitimate credentials or he would be dismissed, perhaps even shamed, by most credible participants and observers. Briggs has seen legitimate glory, but he no longer has those legitimate credentials.
Causing a self-promotional scene has happened regularly at the highest level. I saw Antonio Tarver effectively crash Roy Jones’ party after Jones beat John Ruiz, and of course there’s the classic example of Ali/Clay chasing Sonny Liston. Our panel can probably think of dozens of other scenarios.
Maybe a Briggs – Oliver McCall scrap wouldn’t be the worst matchup, pitting two former alphabet champions who beat Hall of Famers. Briggs could probably make better money facing Manuel Charr around Cologne, and that could actually be a decent, if sloppy brawl.
I still remember the shocked look on Sergei Liakhovich’s face when a cheerful, victorious Briggs admitted after their fight that Liakhovich had never called him the racial slurs Briggs lied about throughout the promotion.
Briggs might have acted like an ass this week, but at least he didn’t resort to crude profanities. Actually, he was received pretty well around the Oberhausen and Dusseldorf area where the fight went down.
Briggs showed up at the weigh-in with a cake, presumably to give Klitschko an uninvited taste of. When security, looking much like the ex-cop or armed services vet types in US security, intercepted Brigg’s approach, he turned it into a monologue that had many of fans amused.
Most major news broadcasters in the area ran footage all week of a shirtless Briggs, flexing amidst a smiling crowd of people lined up for photos.
“Briggs is next,” said Leapai.
Briggs’ plan in Germany proved to be all that. As usual, it has not proved to have any class.
In the long run, that doesn’t seem to matter, anyway. At least not to Briggs.