At six foot four and 235 lbs, bearing a pro record of 43-4 (37), Shannon Briggs is definitely a threat to anyone and the thirty three old Brooklyn native has had his share of success as a fighter both pro and amateur. As an amateur fighter he won a national Golden Gloves title, a national PAL title an Empire State Games Gold Medal and a Pan-Am Games Silver Medal. Not to bad in my book. As a pro, Shannon has had his share of success also. Briggs was a linear world titlist ( although after twenty years in the sport, I don't know what that really is ) and a top contender for most of the late 90's to the early 2000's.
In 1998, Shannon got his big chance at the champ, the heavyweight king at the time, Lennox Lewis. Many felt that it was going to be an easy fight for Lewis but Briggs wanted to prove he was a contender, not a pretender, in the rankings and came out strong against the big man from England. In the first round, Shannon got the respect that he deserved as he came at Lewis like the Englishman was trying to take something from him and not the other way around.
He staggered the champion twice and sent him into the ropes with a left that almost ended the fight, but Briggs learned as Oliver McCall and Hasim Rahman also did in their wins over Lennox, that if you don't get him out of there early, you're not getting him out of there at all. The champ came on strong in the fourth and dropped Briggs twice. During the fifth, with Shannon in the corner, the referee saved him by calling a halt to the bout.
Although he lost, Shannon was pleased with his performance as well he should have been because he proved that he was now a legitimate fighter in the top ten and therefore respected.
There are other reasons to respect the career of Briggs aside from his fight with Lewis. The fact that he beat George Foreman the year before, that he drew with Frans Botha, at the time was one of the best heavies in the world, his competitive loss to Jameel McCline and the knockout of Ray Mercer earlier this year. Shannon does have a somewhat decent resume.
Although Briggs has faded out from the top ten over the past couple of years, at the same time he hasn't just gone into retirement and called it a day. He fights on a somewhat regular basis and is keeping busy in other ways as well. Shannon has had some success as a promoter in the world of Mixed Martial Arts as CEO of American Top Team.
Shannon has also had some time in Hollywood, starring in Bad Boys 2 with Will Smith and Martin Lawrence, playing a mob boss who ran a drug ring. Also Shannon has spent some time as a rapper and most importantly, he has spent time as a volunteer.
Briggs has helped in programs for the homeless as well as homeless, troubled children. Even as a tough Brooklyn born and raised professional fighter who has one of the most impressive knockout ratios in the game, he finds time to help those in need. I read in an article that Shannon was quoted as saying that it helps him remember the tough times growing up and that by him helping, it hopefully makes things a little easier for those in need. For that he has my respect, not only as a fighter, but as a person.
Shannon was scheduled to face tough veteran Saul Montana this past Friday but due to the disaster caused by Hurricane Wilma in October, Briggs, now residing in Florida, was forced to cancel the bout. He had the roof of his house torn off and experienced a loss of power to his home and gym among other problems. Briggs will fight next on November 26th, against Brian Scott, instead.
With the heavyweight division weak as it has ever been and Briggs on a comeback, is it possible that in a year or two we will be calling him champ? He has an impressive resume and he can fight. He has been in there with guys that are just as good if not better than the current crop of fighters we have in the ranks right now.
If Shannon can go in and bang with the likes of Lennox Lewis and a prime Frans Botha, I see no reason why he would have any trouble with guys the likes of John Ruiz, nor would he have a problem banging out the light handed and light hitting Chris Byrd. Vitali Klitschko may be too much for him, but WBO king Lamon Brewster and Briggs would make a good fight and I would give Shannon the edge in power and experience.
At only thirty three years of age, there is still time. Boxers are now fighting until their late thirties and early forties, so Shannon has at least another five years of good career left in him. Only time will tell what the future has in store for him. Only Shannon knows if he still wants it bad enough to go and get it.
As the old saying goes: If it acts like a champion and if fights like a champion, well then it must be a.....Briggs definitely acts like and can fight like a champion. Fighters like Shannon are good for boxing and in return, I hope that boxing is good to Shannon. He has the skills, the question is will he bring it?