The heavyweight division has lacked a star that has captivated boxing fans ever since Mike Tyson retired in 2005. While there has been dominant champions that have scored KO’s in the ring, they have not draw interest with their performances in the ring, or with their promotional effects outside of the ring. Former two time heavyweight champion, Shannon Briggs, came back in 2014, and has set his sights set on bringing that attention back to the heavyweight weight class in 2015.
In part 1 of my “On The Ropes” boxing radio interview with Shannon Briggs, I discuss with him his comeback to the sport and his successful promotional campaign in 2014. I also get Shannon’s views on a potential fight with RING/IBO/WBA/WBO champ Wladimir Klitschko fight and why he thinks he should get the opportunity. Additionally, I talk to Briggs about fighting Antonio Tarver and get his views on Mayweather vs. Pacquiao. Here is what Shannon Briggs had to say.
Jenna J: You had a good 2014, you got back on the world stage. How do you feel about the year that you had?
Shannon Briggs: I feel phenomenal, I’m so happy that I came back this year. I lost over one hundred pounds, I had six fights this year. I feel great, I wish I would have had one real big fight against Wladimir Klitschko but it’s definitely gonna happen in 2015 so I’m just looking forward to that.
Jenna J: Could you ever have imagined having the meteoric rise that you’ve had in terms of getting all the attention you have from following Wladimir Klitschko and getting the positive fan reception?
Shannon Briggs: As far as imagining it, I guess not to be honest with you. I’m forty three and I turned pro when I was twenty years old in 1992 and to be honest with you, I’m more well known now than I was then, so I’m pretty excited about it.
I’m taking it all in stride, I’m looking forward to fighting Wladimir Klitschko, that’s been my whole focus. A lot of people say, “Why don’t you fight this person or that person?” But I came back for one reason and that’s to fight Wladimir Klitschko.
Jenna J: Wladimir Klitschko is gonna fight in April against Bryant Jennings in Brooklyn, New York. How do you feel about that fight?
Shannon Briggs: We’ve been talking, as you can see Klitschko and his management put out a statement last week saying that they were talking to me as far as backup — which makes no sense to me because I’m from Brooklyn. No one knows who Bryant Jennings is, I don’t see how they could plan on selling any tickets, unless you give them away. Maybe Jay-Z is gonna do a concert, I heard he’s involved in some point with Jennings.
I’m not sure, I’m curious as to why there’s even a thought aside from the fact that HBO probably said, “We don’t want Shannon Briggs on HBO,” but the numbers don’t lie. The bottom line is that it makes no sense to fight anyone other than me, let alone in Brooklyn right now. It’s politics, so I’m not even gonna trip.
My time is coming, we’ve agreed to fight, it’s just a matter of when and where. There’s politics involved, I know a lot more than I’m letting on to but this is a business and I don’t want to burn any bridges that aren’t already burned.
I’m trying to stay focused and stay positive and hopefully these people will come around and understand that Shannon Briggs vs. Wladimir Klitschko is the biggest fight for his America return, it’s the biggest heavyweight fight talked about in years right now. I walk the streets and ask people about Stiverne and Wilder and they say, “Who?” Let’s go champ.
Jenna J: Shannon, if you don’t get Wladimir, there is another name out there that people have expressed interest in you fighting, Antonio Tarver. What would you think about fighting Tarver?
Shannon Briggs: He’s a bum, I’ll tell him to his face. Antonio, you’re a bum. You ain’t no heavyweight and you stepped up to heavyweight but you fought Jonathon Banks man. Come on man, you fought Mickey man and Mr. T killed Mickey. I’m calling you out.
To be honest with you, that’s a step backwards for me because even though he fought on TV, nobody cares, nobody knows. Only people in boxing know, maybe a couple of fans. Call Al Haymon and tell him to call me right now, I’m ready to make the fight. He’s talking about fighting David Haye, come on man. That’s a step backwards, I’m fighting Wladimir Klitschko, I’m after the champ.
People want to know why I’m doing this and why I feel as though I could step over these guys — because I can, I’m a two time heavyweight champion of the world. I earned that seniority, I earned that. If the champ is willing to give me a shot, I’m willing to take it. If the so called champ is ready to give the real champ a shot, I’m ready to take it.
Good luck to Antonio, don’t get me wrong, but if you want it, I’m with it. I know you don’t really want it champ, I know you’re gonna do your thing and fight David Haye because if I knock you off, I’m still gonna keep it moving.
Jenna J: In the past you did some boxing commentary, you’ve been on ESPN before. I want get your views on the fight everyone’s been talking about, Mayweather vs. Pacquiao. Pacquiao won his fight, Mayweather said he wants to do it now, do you think the fight will happen?
Shannon Briggs: I think it should happen, I think it can happen. It will happen because it’s a big money fight. I think 2014 was a great year, not to give myself a bl*wjob but Shannon Briggs really showed the world how to hyper a fight. A lot of people were saying, “Why doesn’t Manny Pacquiao go after Floyd this way?”
I think I gave a lot of people that energy to say, “You know what, this fight needs to happen.” I took it back to the old school. I think Pacquiao vs. Mayweather a great fight, the boxing world wants to see it and people outside of boxing want to see this fight. It’s a huge fight for boxing. After the fight, what happens next? Who’s next though? Who’s the next superstar for that division?