By Przemek Garczarczyk
Photos: Wojtek Kubik, Przemek Garczarczyk
“It was one of the most terrifying fights I’ve seen in my lifetime as fan and a fighter. Shannon could have died right there in the ring fighting like this,” said heavyweight contender Tomasz Adamek (42-1, 27 KOa) a top contender and top candidate to be the next challenger for Vitali.
You were shocked watching the Briggs-Klitschko fight from Hamburg?
I was. It was a horror, something that starting with the six, seventh rounds had nothing to do with boxing. Shannon was basically motionless, no head movement, no movement at all, with his hands low and standing in front of one of the hardest hitting men in the heavyweight division. He fought like he wanted to die here.
I talked about this before today’ s training with my coach Roger Bloodworth. He suggested that maybe Shannon was in some kind of mental shock, not really knowing what’ s going on, just being there without knowing why. Just went through the motions, sheer will, but not even trying to defend himself or use even most basic defense techniques. I hope nothing serious happened to Shannon in Hamburg, that he’ s OK and healthy now and in the long run. Briggs talked a good game for a week before fight, but nothing was left of those guarantees in the ring.
Were you surprised that both Shannon’ s corner, and British referee Ian John-Lewis did not stop the fight? Even Briggs manager was outraged it did not happen.
I was, especially by ringside ref. His duty is to protect us, more often than not, defend us from ourselves. He should just speak with Briggs corner, with Eddie Mustafa Muhammed, head coach of my last opponent Michael Grant and just tell them: “Listen guys, Shannon is attempting one weak punch for dozens of Vitali’ s bombs. If this doesn’t change, I will stop the fight.” He never did, it was scary. It happened to me once, during my single professional defeat against Chad Dawson, when I was defending my WBC light heavyweight title. It was, of course, never even close to what happened in Hamburg but Chad was dominating. I was not doing much and my trainer then, Buddy McGirt, told me that he would stop the fight if I did not start punching. Next round I was able to put Chad down for the knockdown but did not have chance to accomplish much more. In this case, there was no question, no question at all, that Briggs would not be able to make the fight a competitive one. This thing was over by sixth round. Over.
You name is being mentioned as a next logical step for Vitali. Some observes already are predicting, that the outcome will be the same – easy win for Klitschko.
You cannot compare me to Shannon Briggs. We have nothing in common, at least with this Shannon we saw last Saturday. Starting with 60 pounds weight differential, and in his case, lack of everything which is my trademark in the heavyweight division: hand speed, quick movement, and constant position change. There are a hundred more differences. Fighting like he fought against Klitschko, Shannon would have no chance against Michael Grant, much less Klitschko. People who already have me losing to Vitali, are forgetting that this is why we are fighting and not talking about fighting. The fact, that Vitali had some problems with smaller, agile guys like Chris Byrd or to some extent Corrie Sanders. Fighting against Shannon, Klitschko had to spend his energy only on hitting Briggs, nothing more. Against me, he would be more tired after three rounds than he would be fighting Briggs for 36. Much faster fight, much more energy spent to defend himself, not from one but multiple punches – we are talking totally different fight here.
To talk about a Klitschko fight, you have to win against Vinny Maddalone first.
We, me and Roger, are not forgetting about Vinny for a second. I just finished my second week of training camp, and everything goes much faster, smoother. When I started with Roger Bloodworth, there were changes to my style, mostly regarding movement, the way I was using my right hand. Now, those things are already embedded in me, they come natural, we have more time for some fine tuning. I will be ready in December, even more ready next year.
October 18th, 2010