During the most recent edition of “On The Ropes” I was joined by former 2 time heavyweight champion, Shannon ‘The Cannon’ Briggs. Shannon discussed his comeback so far, and his reasons for returning to the ring. Briggs also gave his views on the current state of the heavyweight division is its champion, Wladimir Klitschko. Additionally Shannon talked about a possible fight between him and Wladimir, and why he thinks he will be the one to end the champions reign. Here is what Shannon Briggs had to say in part one of his interview
Jenna J: You’re now 4 fights into your comeback. How do you feel things are going so far?
Shannon Briggs: I feel great. It’s been 4 wins, 3 by knock out, all of them in the 1st round, and one 12 round decision which I am happy about as well. I’m just feeling great, I’m feeling phenomenal. I’m in great shape, I’m in great spirits and I’m looking forward to becoming the heavyweight champion again for the third time.
Jenna J: Your last fight went 12 rounds. How important do you think it was to go the distance and not have another first round blow out?
Shannon Briggs: It was important for me because for the fight I actually I sparred 3 1/2 rounds. I was sparring young up and coming kid and he actually got cut in the 4th round so I only sparred 3 1/2 rounds for the entire fight — in which I went 12 rounds — so I felt good about that.
Jenna J: With that win, you picked up a regional title belt and also a WBA ranking. How far away do you think that puts you from a title shot?
Shannon Briggs: I’m not sure yet. I’m just looking to stay busy, stay fighting every 2-3 weeks and rack up as many titles as I can, and then hopefully Wladimir Klitschko will grow some balls and decide that he wants to fight me.
Jenna J: Well lets talk about the journey and this comeback here. What made you decide to come back to boxing?
Shannon Briggs: A whole bunch of things: finances, my legacy, just the way I left, just sitting around and figuring out who I am and what I am as a person. I decided that my journey is not over. I was born to do this, it’s what I’ve been doing the majority of my life.
I still have it in me, so I decided to get back in shape. I lost 107 lbs total right now, I feel great about that. I started training, I got back in shape. I made my first fight, my second fight and here I am today.
Jenna J: What was the hardest part of your return? Your last fight was with Vitali Klitschko, it was a tough night, you injured your arm you took a lot of shots in that match. What was the hardest part of coming back?
Shannon Briggs: Mentally getting back. Honestly, I went into a severe depression after the fight. I took a lot of hits to the head, like we all know. I fought that fight with one arm for 12 rounds. In the 1st round, I tore my left bicep and my tendon in my elbow. I was in bad shape. I took a lot of hits to the head but I stood up, and I was proud of that, but I wasn’t happy about the fact that I wasn’t paid after the fight you know. I wasn’t paid.
Jenna J: When people talk about older heavyweights, they bring up George Foreman, that the older Foreman was calmer in the ring he had better stamina. Do you feel that the age of 42, that you’re little calmer and have better stamina?
Shannon Briggs: One hundred percent, definitely. I’m much more experienced, which helps. What I need to do Jenna is spar more to be honest with you. I’ve never been big on sparring. I mean I was in my early career like in 1992 to 1995 when I was with Teddy Atlas, but I kind took the last 15 years off from really sparring. I was really training but not sparring as much. Now I’m going to get back over more to sparring, which helps with the relaxation in the ring.
Jenna J: When you look at the heavyweight division and the champions, what do you think?
Shannon Briggs: I mean, Wladimir is great, lets be honest. Wladimir is great at what he does, He’s been champion for so long for a reason. He’s a phenomenal fighter. Aside from him, I am not really impressed. I don’t see any world beaters but aside from the champion — he is a great fighter — to take him down you’re going to need a great fighter and I’m great fighter.
I’ve been in this game from 27 years, I fought some of the top dogs in the game, and what’s on the horizon right now can’t beat him, they don’t have what it takes. They don’t have the experience, some guys don’t have the size, they don’t have the chin, they don’t have the power. The guys right now, they don’t have what it takes, you need the full package. I have the full package, I have the experience, the power, the speed, the chin, I have everything.
Jenna J: If you were to get in to the ring with Wladimir Klitschko
Shannon Briggs: I’ll knock him out.
Jenna J: You know the type of approach he has, he’ll jab, stay away, he’ll be defensive. How do you combat that? How do you get around what he has built in terms of defense and his offense?
Shannon Briggs: Well listen, after Emanuel Steward came into the picture, he (Wladimir Klitschko) really changed up. He started learning how to hold and grab and do less — which is smart. If you look at Lennox Lewis, he did the same thing when he got with Emanuel Steward. Emanuel Stewart told him what he told me. I also trained under Emanuel Steward, so you have to understand, I know how to beat him.
I can’t tell you and the world right now because I’m sure Wladimir is going to hear this. He knows, and it’s the reason why he didn’t fight me before. It’s the reason why I fought Siarhei Liakhovich. Wladimir Klitschko is scared of Shannon Briggs. You can say, or anybody can say whatever they want to say.
I know for a fact — it’s on a recording. I was on my way up to Palm Beach, he had a work out up there. He said in the recording, it was taped, they said, “Shannon Briggs is on his way,” he said, “Don’t let him in, that guy scares me.” He’s scared of me. I told him to his face, “Aren’t you scared of me? Didn’t you say it?” and he said, “Yes, I’m scared of you.” Okay now listen, I know what it is, the world doesn’t know but Shannon Briggs know what it is.
Jenna J: Why do you believe you will be one to end Wladimir’s run, what makes you different than everyone else that has tried?
Shannon Briggs: It’s called the champion gene, I have it. That’s why I’m going to beat him, and that’s what is gonna to take to beat Wladimir Klitschko. These average men can’t beat him, they don’t have the championship gene. They’re not big enough, they’re not strong enough, they’re not fast enough and they don’t have the chin and they don’t have the experience. I have all of it, and that’s my case.
Now how I will beat him? I can’t tell you that, that’s my secret. He knows that I know how to beat him and it’s going to take a lot, trust me. Look what Lamon Brewster had to go through. People say go to the body — that’s not how you’re going to beat him, he’s prepared for that. To get to his body you’re going to have to take nuclear bombs to your head and they can’t take that. There is way to beat him, and it ain’t just going to the body, and I know the way.