I wrote recently in at least partial defence of the brothers Klitschko. Excusing some of their benevolent matchmaking as the inevitable by-product of their misfortune of being resident in arguably the weakest era in living memory. Following on with the theme of that piece, I’m not sure whether to laugh or cry at the announcement by Shannon Briggs that he will suspend his acting career long enough to tackle Klitschko the elder in Germany in October. Thankfully, Briggs can punch. Because he brings no other discernible form or currency to the match.
Vitali Klitschko is closing in on 40 years old, has already had a four-year sabbatical with a supposed career threatening injury and has been a professional fighter for what feels like forever – almost long enough to remember when Briggs was a relevant heavyweight. On the evidence of matchmaking like this, weak era or not, he may still be champion by the time he’s 50.
Shannon Briggs will bring excitement and a loquacious demeanour, he’ll also bring the memory of his blood and thunder clash with Lennox Lewis and an absorbing contest with George Foreman. He’s an historical throw-back because he doesn’t possess a result on which to hang the fight in the last five years let alone the past five months and has proven stamina issue due in part to an Asthmatic condition and the oxygen burning bulk he’s added since his peak years of the mid-nineties.
Those who try to discourage Audley Harrison from his firmly held belief he is but one phone call from a world-title shot should reflect on this news, following as it does the Albert Sosnowski fight, and begin to acknowledge that Big Audley is better qualified than both.
Heaven help the heavyweight division.
Briggs was speaking to the BBC at a WBC event being held in Cardiff.