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Shannon Briggs: Waiting game is ruining brilliant comeback

Lee Cleveland Updated
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In 2014, former heavyweight champion Shannon Briggs (60-6, 1, 53 KO) generated a lot of buzz and momentum with a well-orchestrated return to the ring after a 3 1/2 year hiatus.

During a 7 month span that year, Briggs would fight and win 6 times, earning 5 knockouts in the process.

His antics, including his obsessively bizarre stalking of then heavyweight champion Wladimir Klitschko, a new rippling physique, the popular 'Let's Go Champ' movement and a series of devastating knockouts earned the then 42 year old a lot of press.

Combine the aforementioned traits with Briggs' relatively big name and previous accomplishments, and Shannon was A legitimate contender again despite not defeating anyone of merit on his comeback.

Now, let's fast forward to today.

Since November 2014, Shannon Briggs has fought a mere three times. In fact, he's stepped in the ring only once in 2016.

While it's understandable he doesn't want to jeopardize a high money showdown, the waiting game is ruining his comeback.

... And in more ways than one.

Not only is he fading out of public consciousness, he's not doing himself any favors, physically, by staying on the sidelines. Shannon will be 45 in December and for a fighter his age, staying busy is imperative.

Even if Briggs doesn't want to risk his leverage by fighting a top 20 contender, we need to see him in the ring every 8-10 weeks if he's serious about making a successful title run, especially given the young crop of heavyweight monsters.

At this point, it doesn't matter who he fights as long as he stays busy.

Aging fighters, when attempting to rebuild their stature and increase their stock fight often, look impressive (albeit against low and mid tier opposition) and build a case for a high-profile, big money showdown. George Foreman employed a similar approach during his comeback as did Julio Cesar Chavez, Roberto Duran and Hector Camacho, Larry Holmes and many others late in their respective careers.

In fact, Big George had over 20 fights before earning a shot at then undisputed heavyweight champion Evander Holyfield. Briggs, thus far, is a mere 9-0, 8 KO on his comeback and has fought just once in this past year.

Staying busy is a lost art these days.

To casual fans Shannon may look like nothing more than a hard-punching brute in the ring but Briggs has excellent technical skills and is the beneficiary of a strong amateur pedigree. Moreover, how many of today's heavyweights have shared the ring with the likes of George Foreman, Lennox Lewis, Frans Botha and Vitali Klitschko?

Combine his poise with his strength, punching power and vast amateur and professional experience, and a focused, disciplined, well-conditioned Briggs could spell T-R-O-U-B-L-E for any heavyweight, including Deontay Wilder.

... But he must be much busier in the ring if he: 

a) wants to attain the leverage (via media buzz and public demand) for a high profile superfight and
b) wants to be in top form when that opportunity arises.

October is a slow month. It would be a fine time for Shannon to have another tune-up and propel himself back in the news again.

Shannon Briggs vs Emilio Zarate 1st Round KO
May 2016


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