Shannon Briggs: Speaks on His Career and the Heavyweight Division
Interview by "Big Dog" Benny Henderson Jr. (May 17, 2005)
Hard-hitting longtime heavyweight contender Shannon ‘The Cannon’ Briggs, 41-4-1 (35), looks to climb back to the top of the heavyweight division. After thirteen years banging in the heavyweight ranks the thirty-three year old fighter feels that he still has what it takes to be a force in the division and if all goes as planned he will be back in the ring June 10th at the Turning Stone Casino in Verona, NY to continue his climb. At this time there is no opponent named for the bout.
After posting a 24-6 amateur record the big man climbed into the pro ranks to embark on a professional career. In the summer of ’92 Shannon made his successful debut blowing out his opponent in the first round. Briggs’s first eight bouts ended with knock outs, seven in the first round until going the distance to win by points. Shannon continued punishing the division with his devastating power until dropping his first loss of his career at the hands of Darroll Wilson March of ’03. Shannon picked up and moved on and in November ’97 he stepped in with the living legend George Foreman. In front of the HBO crowd Shannon beat the former champ by majority decision only for the win to be debated by some boxing critics, even so he was the linear champion, beating the man who beat the man. Three months later Shannon challenged the WBC champion Lennox Lewis and for five rounds gave all he had to but after being dropped three times the bout was over; although he wasn’t the victor, he at least gave all he could.
Since then Briggs has battled it out in the ring and started and acting career getting a spot on the mega hit Bad Boys II. In the summer of ’03 Shannon won the vacant IBU heavyweight title but hasn’t had the activity he has needed to make any noise in the division that he so wants to do. Well, that is all about to change. After a year layoff last March Shannon returned to the ring to blow out his opposition and now looks to leave behind the inactivity and looks forward bringing back ‘The Cannon’. Shannon has stopped twenty-five of his opponents in the first round, so he has the power and is capable of being a force in the division. Now rejuvenated and happy to return Shannon is ready to once again stake his claim and he stopped by the Doghouse to give his thoughts on his career and what the future holds for the big man, enjoy.
Benny Henderson Jr.: Congratulations on your victory last March, it was your first bout in a year so how did it feel to return to the ring?
Shannon Briggs: It’s all good man, I was very delighted to be back especially in New York and to be fighting at home it was a great thing, I was very happy about that.
BH: Is there any opponent named yet for your upcoming bout in June, or anybody in mind that you can tell us about?
SB: No not as of yet, actually they just gave me two names and one of the guys can’t fight because he got a hip injury so we are actually looking at some other people. My plan was to stay busy and fight once a month and my last fight as March 3rd. so a fight in June would be a month past and I’m not going to let too much time pass.
BH: I would imagine you would fight a few tune up fights to get back in the groove of things before stepping up, after you get to where you feel you are ready, who would you like to step up in with?
SB: I would love to fight Rahman, he is title contention right now so that probably won’t be possible I think Rahman is a great name. I would like to fight Vitali, of course the big guys. If you are talking about the B level that step up before a title championship it doesn’t really matter. I’m ready for whoever and I think once I’m in shape and I am confident in my conditioning and have the rounds, the big problem right now is that I am not getting any sparring and that is what’s really slowing down my progress at this time.
BH: How has your training been as far as the weight, and what weight would you prefer to be fighting at?
SB: I’m older now, I’m thirty-three now and I didn’t retire I just basically been fighting once or twice a year and I have been doing a lot of movies so I have gained a lot of weight. I’m around 255 right now but I would like to lose 15 pounds, 240 would be great.
BH: What is your opinion of the heavyweight division at this time, we just had Ruiz drop his title to Toney, boxing prospect Calvin Brock defeated long time contender Jameel McCline, Golota is getting his last chance at a title against Brewster later on this month, Rahman getting ready to face Barrett, and then the winner gets a taste of Vitali Klitschko, Tyson-McBride in June, Tua coming back, Byrd we know will be facing somebody in July. Do you see the division starting to light up again with all this happening and where do you see yourself in the mix, what do you feel you still have to offer to this division?
SB: I definitely see the division lighting back up there is a couple of new cats coming along. I don’t think the heavyweight division is as bad as they say it is, unfortunately you are not seeing a lot of heavyweight fights on TV. They just had the Larry Donald versus Ray Austin fight, DaVarryl Williamson has been fighting constantly and just knocked out Derrick Jefferson and that was another fight that wasn’t televised. So there are a lot of guys that are still fighting and you are not seeing a lot of coverage of the big boys right now, the light weight guys are doing a great job keeping boxing alive. Once there is more coverage of the big guys they will see that they can still bang. I still offer a lot of excitement, I still have my name Shannon Briggs and a lot of people out of boxing as in boxing are still very supportive of me and want to see me come back and make it. I think I bring a lot of excitement and in a Shannon Briggs fight I put it all on the line every time. I’m going to comeback and do that.
BH: Where would you like to be in the next three years, and what steps do you feel must be taken to accomplish your goals to do so?
SB: Just really stay active, just a lot of activity and fight once a month. Fight more spar more be in the gym more. A lot of times I will take fights that, well I’m not going to say that I’m not ready for but I could be better prepared for. That is why the step up hasn’t been here yet because of the sparring. I am actually looking to get work in foreign countries because there isn’t a lot of sparring around here, they want to spar but they want a billion dollars, lot of money and that is just not feasible.
BH: What did you take away from your experiences in K-1, and do you plan to continue in the competition or are you shifting all of your focus on boxing?
SB: There is noting that I really did, they basically use to fight who is a great champion and I knocked him out. After that point I never got a return call (Laughs). It is just really timing, like I said I have been doing a lot of movies, I just finished up doing a movie with Peter Faulk and Rip Torn so I have been busy with that.
BH: We got some match-ups coming up so let’s get your predictions. Lamon Brewster versus Andrew Golota?
BH: Hasim Rahman versus Monte Barrett?
BH: Do you think Kevin McBride can pull a Danny Williams against Mike Tyson?
SB: It is possible.
BH: Is there anything you would like to add to this interview or say in closing, you got open forum to speak your mind.
SB: Nah, I am just looking forward to stay busy and fight as much as possible and looking forward to getting myself back into contention.
I want to personally thank Shannon for his time and his thoughts, they’re always appreciated. Shannon Briggs is looking for quality sparring partners, if you are legit and willing to be flown out to Miami and give your best please contact CrazzedTrucker@aol.com. If you have the credentials to do so I will forward your info to Shannon. Only serious fighters apply, send me info including a number you can be reached at. Must have solid verifiable boxing background.
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