Fury vs Briggs: Why it's imminent

Lee Cleveland Updated
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Expect Tyson Fury's first or second opponent on his comeback to be former belt-holder Shannon Briggs (60-6-1, 53 KOs).

Briggs recently insisted Fury has been texting him and is confirming his team's interest in a Fury vs Briggs showdown later this year.

(Image courtesy of Proboxing.cz)

Moreover, last November, according to The Sun UK, Briggs said promoter Frank Warren reached out to him recently about the possibility of a Briggs vs Fury showdown in 2018.

So, will Fury vs Briggs happen?

Answer: How doesn't it happen?

The Challenge
Tyson Fury hasn't fought in 2 1/2 years and has battled a serious drug problem and weighed over 400 lbs until a few months ago. As a result, he'll in no way be ready to face a top heavyweight this year as it will take a while for him to regain top form, physically and mentally.

Team Fury realizes the public won't accept, nor will it be interested in, Tyson versus a run-of-the-mill opponent, so it needed to find a fella who'd generate a lot of buzz and has a respectable resume but wouldn’t be a major risk.

And who better for Fury to face than Briggs, a 47 year old that Fury matches up well with who hasn't fought in a while himself?

He’s Marketable
After a 3 1/2-year hiatus, Shannon Briggs returned to boxing in February 2014, looking quite gritty so say the least. Some insisted he looked a little too muscular for a 42-year-old but, in reality, he appeared quite the physical specimen for a man of any age.

But Briggs, who tested positive for PEDs last May, not only showcased a new, sculpted physique on his comeback, he tacked on newfound charisma, bravado and a lot of personality. A la George Foreman some 20 years earlier, Shannon had re-invented himself, creating as much buzz outside the ring as inside it. And to say Briggs has been entertaining since his comeback would be a colossal understatement.

So, like it or not, he's going to get a high-profile fight with Tyson Fury based on his entertainment value and drawing power, and a resume that's not too shabby as well.

Shannon Briggs has underrated technical skills thanks to a very deep amateur pedigree. In addition, unlike nearly all of today's top 10 heavyweights, Briggs boasts considerable professional experience against top opposition and blistering punching power. In fact, he's recorded 34 first round knockouts - the most opening round stoppages of any heavyweight belt-holder in history.

And how many of today's heavyweights can say they have shared the ring with the likes of George Foreman, Lennox Lewis, Frans Botha and Vitali Klitschko?

Yes, Briggs' ring accomplishments are marketable too.

A Major Risk? Probably Not
Now, the downside (or the upside if you’re Team Fury). Shannon, in addition to the fact he hasn’t fought in two years, hasn’t fought a quality opponent since 2010 and hasn’t defeated a legitimate top 20 heavyweight since 2006.

Moreover, in his 30s, he often encountered cardio issues as he’d start sucking wind and fighting at a relaxed pace after Rounds 5 or 6.  And that doesn’t figure on getting any better these days. And yes, he’ll be 47 in December.

Also, his style makes him susceptible to taller, well-skilled fighters with good movement. Vitali Klitschko, Jameel McCline, Lennox Lewis to name a few. Even shorter, technical fighters who move well, like Sultan Ibragimov , tend to be problematic for Briggs.. at any age.

Tyson Fury vs Shannon Briggs can generate a lot of buzz and revenue so it makes sense; But, does the latter have a chance?

Fury vs Briggs: Heavyweight version of Saunders vs Lemieux?


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