Monday, 10 October 2016 18:47

Shannon Briggs vs David Haye: Brit should come in lighter

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Will 44-year-old former belt-holder Shannon Briggs (60-6, 1, 53 KO) get the high-profile bout he's been yearning for since 2014?

It's being rumored Briggs may face former two-division belt holder David Haye of the UK who recently announced he'll be returning to the ring December 10.

(Image courtesy of Mirror UK)

Will the explosive David Haye's next fight be against Shannon Briggs? If so, should the British star make adjustments for Briggs? After all, Shannon is a heavyweight with a strong amateur pedigree and boasts over 30 first round knockouts as a pro.

Following a 3 1/2-year hiatus from from boxing, we've seen a heavier, less elusive version of David Haye in his comeback bouts against Arnold Gjergjaj and Mark de Mori. Usually weighting around 210 lbs, David tipped the scales at 227¼ and 224 for Gjergjaj and de Mori, respectively.

Should David Haye face Shannon Briggs, it would behoove the Brit enter the ring between 210 and 214 lbs.


Why?

Haye, at that weight, would still possess mind-numbing power yet be a bit quicker and more elusive than we've seen him in his last two fights. And against a bigger, poised, hard-punching veteran like Shannon Briggs, Haye will need the agility of a lighter man.

After all, despite his explosiveness, it would be unwise for Haye to fence with Briggs.

Remember how quick and awkward Haye was in his 2012 bout with Dereck Chisora? David weighed 210 lbs for that bout and looked sensational against his plodding foe as Chisora couldn't find the target.

And while it was a lackluster affair, the long-armed, 6'7" usually-precise Wladimir Klitschko had trouble finding Haye in their 2011 showdown.

Although Shannon would be the clear underdog in a bout with Haye, he still possesses crippling power and, as a result, has a 'puncher's chance' against any heavyweight as power is the last thing to bedevil an aging fighter.

...And we know Shannon has a great chin, something that may serve him well against the 'Hayemaker.' But Briggs certainly isn't a speed demon in the ring, and is highly methodical to boot.

A speedy, awkward, hard-punching, finesse heavyweight, like a 210-214 lb version of Haye, would pose problems for a fighter with Briggs' style.

Foreman vs Morrison

Let's turn back the clock to 1993.

George Foreman (then 72-–3, 67 KO) and Tommy Morrison (36-1, 32 KO) faced each other for the then-lightly regarded WBO heavyweight title. Combined, the fighters had a record of 108-4, 99 KO with a blistering 88 percent knockouts-to-fights ratio. The fight was promoted as a match-up between boxing's hardest punchers, the immovable object vs unstoppable force.

But to the disappointment of some and surprise of many, neither fighter scored a knockdown nor had their opponent in any real danger, and the 24-year-old Morrison won a decision over twelve rounds by the scores of 117-–110 twice and one score of 118–-109.

So what happened?

Team Morrison caught everyone by surprise as their man abandoned his usual ferocious, come-forward style by using his advantages in hand and foot speed to work from a distance to effectively outbox the much slower George Foreman.

Ping, ping and move... Ping, ping and move.

It was your classic hit-but-don't-be-hit bout as the 24-year-old Morrison, reluctant to stand and trade despite possessing crushing power of his own, was content to use his hand and foot speed to pile up points round after round on the polished 44-year-old boxing legend.

Haye's style in the ring is quite different than Tommy's. However, like Morrison verson Foreman, finesse may be David's biggest - and perhaps only - viable weapon against an opponent of Briggs' strenth, experience and craft.

In order to defeat Briggs, a lighter more fleet-of-foot Haye must implement an approach quasi-similar to Morrison's against Foreman. But Shannon is quicker than Big George was Haye will have to be quicker than Tommy was.

Should he face Briggs in December, don't be surprised if David enters the ring 10-14 lbs lighter than we saw him in his two most recent bouts.

Lee Cleveland

Lee is Managing Editor of FightSaga.com, a student of the Sweet Science and longtime boxing fan.


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