Vitali Klitschko received a much tougher challenge than anyone expected from an extremely determined Shannon Briggs but overcame a few dangerous moments to record yet another dominant WBC Heavyweight title defense. Klitschko scored a unanimous decision win in his fifth title defense.
Briggs showed suprising aggression, confidence and punching power in the early rounds, landing many body shots and right hands on the Ukrainian kingpin. Unfazed, Vitali maintained his typical onslaught of jabs, left hooks and right hands but seemed slightly vulnerable at times, especially of being caught by a crazy wild shot. Briggs landed a few of them but they did not shake the concentration of Klitschko.
Klitschko continued to land his punches over and over though it was not until the seventh round that Briggs first began to look like the beaten man. It looked like Briggs would soon submit but he refused to. Briggs battled on, enduring fierce punishment. Despite his renowned stamina deficiencies, Briggs was able to finish the fight, bloodied and bruised and dominated over the last five rounds. But there was something heroic about Briggs on this night. In my opinion, Briggs made one of the most impressive performances in the heavyweight division this year.
It’s hard to say if the snap on the Klitschko punches might have been just a tad off – or perhaps it was the superhuman exhibit of pure determination by Briggs that simply would not permit himself to be stopped. No man was going to stop Briggs on this night.
“He has a great heart,” Vitali (41-2, 38 KO’s) said after. “He’s tough. A real man. That’s why he deserves a big applause. He’s very, very tough. I tried to keep hitting him on the head – he wouldn’t go down. What (else) can I do?”
After his reputation-enhancing performance, Briggs showed a special class by praising his conquerer with some unexpectedly respectful compliments. “I fought Lennox Lewis, George Foreman and Vitali Klitschko and Vitali Klitschko is the best fighter I ever fought – by far. By far. I take my hat off to him,” Briggs stated with a conviction in his voice. “His hand speed, his mobility, his power. I’ve been hit by George Foreman, by Lennox Lewis. Vitali hits harder. Vitali is a great fighter, a great sportsman, he treated us with nothing but respect. I love Germany, everybody was great, everybody was respectful. Wladimir was respectful. I hope I can come back here someday.”
Briggs, now 51-6 (45 KO’s) showed he is still a threat in the heavyweight division and if he can stay in this kind of condition, he could possibly beat any other heavyweight on the planet not named Klitschko.
Though most pundits did not expect this fight to be exciting, it was a very positive and enjoyable night of heavyweight championship boxing – and one that certainly deserved to be televised live by HBO or Showtime, more so than Tarver-Aguilera or Berto-Hernandez.