|Shannon Briggs: “The haters can’t stop me!”
Interview by Benny Henderson Jr - A.K.A "Big Dog" (Dec 3, 2006)
Love him, hate him or whatever side of the fence you are on, you can not deny the fact that the newly crowned WBO heavyweight champion Shannon Briggs 48-4-1 (42) is one entertaining individual with an amusing sense of humor who has overcome the odds to earn the title of… heavyweight champion, the World Boxing Organization’s heavyweight champion to be exact, a belt he won November 4th by defeating then champ Sergei Liakhovich via knockout.
It wasn’t the most the entertaining heavyweight clash in recent history but in the words of Briggs, “I was doing what I had to do.” And what he done was hang in there after suffering an asthma attack in the opening round to go on to drop Liakhovich not once, but twice and out of the ropes down and out for the count to gain the win with one second left in the twelfth and final round. And this is where the controversy began and the accusations and protests have persisted since the fight. We all know the protest by the Liakhovich camp, and have gotten his side on this debacle, now the champ reacts to the allegations and gives his thoughts on the fight, and the post fight drama, and in his own little humorous way gives his thoughts on his future and the heavyweight division, enjoy.
Benny Henderson Jr.: First off I want to say congratulations on your world title win, to be honest nobody could have even fathomed, including myself, that Shannon Briggs would have won with a twelfth round knockout. What was running through your mind that very moment Liakhovich went down and then again through the
Shannon Briggs: Won with one second left man, wow! I was happy man, you know it was a long time coming, it was dramatic, and it was Shannon Briggs’ fashion and style. It had to end in a dramatic way and that was the way it was. But it was written, I told everybody I was born on December 4th my mother dies on my birthday in 1996, Monday will be ten years ago, and the fight was November 4th. It was all written, it was destiny, destiny fulfilled; even though it was late it happened. I am going to take this belt to my mother’s grave Monday and show her the belt, so I feel real good about that Benny.
BH: What are your thoughts on the fight itself and being brutally honest and unbiased what grade would you give your performance?
SB: I give myself an A+ considering the fact that I had an asthma attack in the first round. Watch the fight, I was huffing and puffing, my shoulders were going up and down and I couldn’t breath in, believe me I was discouraged after the first round. I knew I could knock this guy out at any time and I knew he couldn’t stand up to my power. I am 268-pounds just straight muscle and a little bit of fat (Laughs). But I know I could knock this guy out, I knew that from day one, when we signed the contract I told my manager Scott not to worry because I was going to knock him out, easy with in a few rounds. It would have happened in the first round I hit him with a counter left hook and he was ready to go to sleep. Say what you want man but I watched the Brewster fight and you know I wasn’t impressed, because he hit Brewster with over a thousand punches, Brewster didn’t show up in shape and he couldn’t even knock him out. If I hit a guy with over a thousand punches he is going to be in the hospital, for quit a long time. Now you know me man, you have seen me fight I am not going to hit a guy a thousand times and him not go to the morgue. So I knew this guy couldn’t punch, I knew that going in. So with that being said he hit me with a punch I laughed, he is a good boxer, but that is all, he is just a good boxer. I will be thirty-five Monday, I am a veteran and have been through the ups and downs of this sport, I beat George Foreman I have been hit by Lennox Lewis and never quit in a fight. When I got knock out by Darroll Wilson I got knocked out, when I lost to Lennox Lewis I lost to Lennox Lewis, I went down three to four times in that fight and got up every time and the referee stopped the fight, he didn’t knock me out, but all these haters want to sit here and say oh Shannon Briggs don’t have a chin, Shannon Briggs has no heart, when have I ever quit in a fight? When did I ever take punch and say I can’t take it and go down on one knee and quit? So that is my point, a lot of haters want to say this and that about me and Sergie himself but we will get back to him.
BH: We are all aware on the protest by the Liakhovich camp and the recent WBO rulings against his claim and the appeal, and you recently read what Liakhovich had to say to the Doghouse concerning the fight, just give the readers your thoughts on that debacle and the comments made my Sergei.
SB: Listen, for me I think the protest was silly, everybody seen what happened, he went down and he made all type of excuses…oh the clock stopped, well the clock stopped on the television but not in the actual round, we and they already know that the time of the fight and the time on the television was different, ok, the referee could have stopped the fight the first time he went down, but I am glad he didn’t, I am glad he let it go on because he would have been crying about that. He went through the ropes, we went through the ropes from a body shot, I didn’t even land the last shot, if I would have caught him with the last shot he might have been seriously hurt, if you look at the tape you will see that it was a really hard right hand that I threw but he was already out of the ring. So it is amazing that this guy is really trying to say that it was wrong, now as far as a rematch goes Benny, I would rather fight Liakhovich than Ibragimov, Ibragimov is a southpaw tough fighter, I mean it seems like Shannon Briggs versus Russia. So I would love to be fighting him again, that is easy money to me. I would have taken less money and made an easier fight, because I would have knocked him out early, the guy would never be the same; he would never be the same physically. He will never be the same mentally; if you look at the fight he could not offensively get things going. They talk about the fight being a boring fight; well it was a tactical fight because he knew if he would run inside he knew he was going to get his ass kicked! He knew, he tried to stay at a distance and he tried to jump in that first time, I knew from day one when we sat at Don King’s house and signed for this fight that he couldn’t beat me, he has a 74-inch reach at 6’4”, I am 6’4” with an 81-inch reach, who in the hell is he going to beat me? How in the hell is he going to reach me? I can beat him to the punch every time and I did. Now he is lucky that I had an asthma attack. Listen Benny, I am a real humble guy and sometimes I can go a little crazy when I get mad right, the thing is if I didn’t have asthma and I know this sounds cocky but I might be one of the greatest boxers of all time. I have the mental toughness, the speed and the size, who knows man, but I have a breathing difficulty, if I wouldn’t have had that he would have gotten knocked out in the first round. As far as him going through the ropes and the referee stopping the fight, what do you want, do you want to die? He was sitting outside of the table for fifteen minutes and the referee could have counted to a twenty-thousand, what would it change, the guy was hurt bad. Being that it was controversy it makes for a great rematch, I guess, for me I’d do it because it is easy money, but other than that from day one he was a bore to do press conferences. He tried to play that Ivan Drago tough sh*t with me and it didn’t work, I was like come on are you kidding me, I am from Brownsville, Brooklyn man, I was raised around killer, you can’t scare me. This was terrible promoting the fight and his manager was the one who brought the fight to Phoenix, I trained in Scottsdale, I invaded his own hometown, I didn’t meet one person in two and a half months that knew him, and I was curious how they were going to promote the first heavyweight fight in town and nobody knew the fighter. I have more fans in Arizona than he does.
BH: Well, so what’s next for ‘The Cannon’? We hear Klitschko, Vaulev and your mandatory Ibragimov, so what’s in the pot for yourself?
SB: I am going to Arkansas man, f*ck it! (Laughs) I am going back to Arkansas, there is to much drama with this sh*t, I like it simple with my people out there having a good time, go knock somebody out and go to the bar after that.
BH: I am going to throw out some names and maybe a quote or two and using only one word I want you give us the first thought that comes to mind. Wladimir Klitschko.
SB: (Laughs) I’m laughing, that is my quote I am laughing.
BH: Nicolay Valuev.
SB: I’m laughing even harder.
SB: I’m still laughing.
BH: Briggs-Liakhovich rematch?
BH: Sultan Ibragimov.
SB: I’m going to kick his little ass!
BH: WBO heavyweight champion Shannon ‘The Cannon’ Briggs.
SB: (Laughs.) The best that ever did it.
BH: Any message you want to send out to the heavyweight division and its major players?
SB: I just want to say man, I know a lot of people have said that they cannot believe in Shannon Briggs but you know perseverance through everything ups and downs and being counted out a million times, being disrespected and every writer known to boxing, besides you, you are my man. But you know being ridiculed by everybody against all odds and being asthmatic, being homeless and coming up living in the streets with my mother dying of a heroin overdose and my father died in prison, I want you to put all of this in there, throughout all of that I overcame and made all the haters look stupid, so don’t hate the player hate the game. I know a lot of people were at home saying Shannon Briggs heavyweight champion of the world I just can’t f*cking believe this, but it happened. It happened and I know how it is and they couldn’t stop it and it feels really good that I accomplished that and the rest of my life my kid’s kids will know that Shannon Briggs was heavyweight champion of the world, it is a beautiful thing, especially coming from where I came from and going through what I went through in my life man, I had a rough time in my life and I over came it all and became world champion.
BH: Anything in closing?
SB: Yeah man check out www.shannonbriggs.com
I would like to thank Shannon Briggs for his time and thoughts, a happy birthday goes out to the champ from the Doghouse!
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