Shannon Briggs: I Boxed A Legend…Lennox Lewis
- May 29th, 2012
By Scoop Malinowski
A then 26-year-old Shannon Briggs got his first title shot in March of 1998 against Lennox Lewis. Here are Briggs’ memories of their Atlantic City WBC title showdown which ended by 5th round TKO…
BoxingInsider: What made Lennox Lewis so effective?
Shannon Briggs: “He was a very disciplined fighter in the sense that he didn’t do many things. He just kept it real simple. He was a very strong fighter, he stayed with his jab and his strong right hand. He was a very strong fighter, period. He was a disciplined fighter.”
BoxingInsider: What did you learn about him in there, did anything that he did surprise you?
Shannon Briggs: “Definitely, I definitely had the wrong thing in mind, everybody kept saying, ‘You got to take it to this guy, take it to this guy.’ And I had read scouting reports, that this guy doesn’t take boxers too well. Guys that give lateral movement. And I learned that in the fight, that when I gave him a little bit of movement, he couldn’t take it. He had to re-set. He has, I think, a size 22 shoe [smiles]. He had to re-set. So if I could do anything different, I would box him, give him lateral movement, give him side to side. Any guy who does that, who boxes him, gives him problems.”
BoxingInsider: A lot of pundits and fans now rate Lennox Lewis as one of the greatest of all time, what would you say is it about him that earns him those high praises?
Shannon Briggs: “I wouldn’t say all-time great heavyweight champion. I’d say he’s a very, very good heavyweight champion for his era. He came at the right time. He fought guys at the right time. He was very ordinary. He was the type of guy who got the job done. He wasn’t exciting to watch. He didn’t show you a lot. He didn’t show you double left hooks and great speed of Ali and charisma. But he won. But if greatness comes in that, yeah, okay. But he wasn’t exciting to watch, so I can’t say he was great. It’s entertainment. And I wasn’t too entertained by him. Although he was a very big, very strong guy, but very basic. Didn’t go over the edge, didn’t try to put himself out there to do anything too dangerous. Real basic, one-two. For this era, he held it down. But I don’t know how he would have done against guys in the early 80′s, like against Pinklon Thomas, a James ‘Quick’ Tillis. I think he would have had problems with those guys. Even a young Tony Tubbs. Those guys were slick. I don’t know.”
BoxingInsider: Was Lewis one of the hardest hitters you ever fought?
Shannon Briggs: “George Foreman and Lennox Lewis. My whole thing is, Scoop, I’ve enjoyed my career. I look back and I wouldn’t change anything. Not a win, not a loss. I’m where I’m at today because of it. With my family, more importantly. I got my wife with me, my son. I wouldn’t have that if I wouldn’t have gone through what I went through. If I would have knocked out Lennox in that first or second round, sheesh, I might not be sitting here right now. Blow away in ashes. I would have been partying and celebrating and all that type stuff. I was young. I wasn’t ready for it. Look at Mike Tyson. 20-years-old, heavyweight champion of he world. Where’s he now? Imagine being 20-years-old and having $100,000,000. I can’t even imagine that. I like to think, right now, where I am right now, I could control myself. That’s a tough burden to carry. $100,000,000. Sheesh. Can you imagine what you would do with all that money, let alone power? But I feel good about it. I feel I’ve matured. I’m where I’m supposed to be. A lot of people say, Oh, I would do this different. Not me.”
Shannon won the WBO title in thrilling fashion by stopping Sergei Liakhovich in the final moments of their 2006 title bout at Chase Field in Phoenix, Arizona. But he would lose that title in his first title defense against Sultan Ibragimov, on points. Briggs is the last American heavyweight to hold a major world title. He received another opportunity against reigning WBC champ Vitali Klitschko but lost a wide decision in October 2010 in Hamburg, Germany. That was the last fight for the now 40-year-old Briggs. Although Briggs has not officially retired, his current ring record is 51-6-1, 1 NC.
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