By Johnny Walker
There have been some notable recent developments in the American heavyweight scene, as the fighters in the second tier (only the champion Klitschko brothers reside in the first) of the division jockey for position.
First off, we can say, so long, for now at least, to heavyweight contender Amir “Hardcore” Mansour. The muscular Mansour had been making a name for himself in the heavyweight division of late, running off seven wins in 16 months after being released from prison in March, 2010. Mansour, formerly known as Lavern Moorer, had been incarcerated for eight years on a drug possession charge.
Mansour, however, had ominously alluded in recent interviews to serious personal issues weighing on his mind as he went into his most recent fight, a 6th round TKO on December 2, 2011 against the Columbian fighter Epifanio Mendoza in Delaware.
Late in December, it was revealed that Mansour had violated the conditions of his probation after he was found to be residing in a house with another felon, a house in which drugs and ammunition were found.
According to delawareonline.com, Mansour has now been returned to prison for a 14 month stretch, throwing the 39-year-old boxer’s successful comeback into question.
Jokes about “Hard Time” Mansour aside, with his victories over the likes of Mendoza and former contender Dominick Guinn, the fighter had positioned himself for some meaningful fights in 2012, and despite his age, seemed to have a real shot at late career success in the not so star-studded world of American heavyweight boxing in this era of European domination.
Now all of that has been thrown into question by Mansour’s biggest enemy: himself.
Mansour will be over 40 years old when he next emerges from prison, and picking up where he left off will undoubtedly not be easy.
As we wave goodbye to Amir Mansour, however, we can say hello to another heavyweight veteran, Shannon “The Cannon” Briggs.
Briggs was last seen in a boxing ring in October 2010, when he was beaten to a bloody pulp by WBC champion Vitali Klitschko in Germany, a fight which left him lying in a German hospital bed for an extended period of time.
Many thought that was it for Briggs in boxing, but the irrepressible 40-year-old heavyweight has dusted himself off and is ready to make his return to the sport as both a fighter and a promoter.
According to a recent article in Fightnews.com, Briggs is now working with “Florida-based online marketing powerhouse Acquinity Interactive,” promoting its boxing events. And part of the promoter’s duties will include making personal appearances as a heavyweight fighter.
“I’m targeting sometime in March on a Acquinity Sports-promoted show,” Briggs tells Fightnews about his comeback. “I’m taking my time and fighting at my own pace. I’m not looking to do anything but fight my way back into top form. From here on out I am fighting from a business standpoint. I want to end my career in a beautiful fashion and set forth my legacy in business.”
This is typical Shannon Briggs bravado, of course. After all, this is the man who claimed Vitali Klitschko was “ready to go” in their one-sided fight after he landed a solitary punch. Never mind that Vitali has never been knocked down, much less out, in his entire career.
More likely, Briggs will be knocking out some tomato cans and using his name recognition with boxing audiences to sell seats to Acquinty boxing cards.
We must never forget that Shannon Briggs, as he himself admits, is first and foremost a salesman, and the product he is hustling is Shannon Briggs.
“I can market anything,” Briggs tells Fightnews. “My motto is this: You can say what you want about me but just talk about me.”
Mission accomplished, Shannon. Welcome back.