David Haye is back, Mark de Mori has been crushed, and another overmatched opponent in Arnold Gjergjaj is about to be served up. But are we about to be fed another meaningless Heavyweight showdown before 2016 is through? Well, if the ‘Hayemaker’s’ plans to fight old-timer Shannon Briggs are indeed true, then unfortunately yes. Haye vs Briggs…anyone?
“… I think he’s talked himself into getting knocked out now,” Haye told Sky Sports. “The big moron Shannon Briggs – everywhere I go, this guy keeps chasing me around … His manager called [on Thursday] and I said ‘fight on the undercard and I’ll fight you after’. He said he wants to do it. So he’ll get knocked out.”
“Briggs will be fighting on my undercard on May 21 at The O2,” Haye soon confirmed via Facebook. “If that chump can beat somebody then I’ll obliterate him after.” The anticipation for Haye vs Briggs is, er…building. I think.
The Heavyweight division has been gradually rekindling the excitement of old over the past few years, enough to even reconnect with its lost casual fanbase. The indescribable Tyson Fury has dethroned Wladimir Klitschko in a major upset, and Deontay Wilder and Anthony Joshua have proved athletic Heavyweights with scary power still exist.
Notable fighters like Alexander Povetkin, and rising talents such as Luis Ortiz, Joseph Parker and Lucas Browne, have also been warmly embraced. By serious fight fans, anyway. The Heavyweight scene has been trimming off the fat – literally in places – and as a result we’re beginning to see a deeper, much more vibrant landscape.
The return of the explosive puncher David Haye (27-2, 25 KO) has also aided in resurrecting today’s Heavyweight picture, with the former champ smashing his way back into the public conscience with a quick-fire demolition of Mark de Mori in January. De Mori was vastly overmatched, but the fight was forgivable (ish) considering Haye had been out of the ring for several years prior.
But Haye, a great ambassador for the sport in general, now seems to be stunting the division’s growth, chasing more ‘easy money’ than ‘game-changing’ fights. You don’t need to be a boxing nerd to realize Haye’s follow-up opponent Arnold Gjergjaj is a mediocre talent with an ‘awful unbeaten record’, and that Haye is abusing his celebrity status to earn big figures against another limited operator.
Does Haye have his sights set on facing a legitimate challenger after Gjergjaj? A Top 10 World Heavyweight, perhaps? Or even a Top 5 British Heavyweight? Well, it would appear not. In fact, we might all be about to see something a whole lot worse than Haye vs de Mori or Gjergjaj, as Haye has now revealed he could be facing 44-year-old Shannon Briggs later this year.
I’ll let that one sink in for a moment…
Briggs, a one-time world champ (many moons ago), has been stalking today’s marquee names for some time, shouting “Let’s go, champ” several hundred times. That migraine-inducing, torturous phrase could have now finally paid off, however, and even earned the aging veteran a large retirement packet.
If you ask me, the whole thing looks staged; Brigg’s storming Haye’s latest press conference, Briggs being allowed to rant and rave (for close to an eternity) without being removed, and now an enraged Haye revealing he’d love nothing more than to knock Briggs out. This promotional stink reeks of the same shameless manner in which 2012’s unnecessary Haye vs Chisora came about: press-conference-crashing, bottles, punches, all of which splattered onto a front page headline.
For the record, Briggs (59-6-1, 52 KO) remains a dangerous puncher of sorts, but hasn’t been on anyone’s radar in recent times (in regards to ‘actual fighting’). Since being drummed for twelve rounds by Vitali Klitschko in 2010, Briggs has stayed busy, knocking out a host of unheralded-types, but never come anywhere close to cracking a US Top 10, let alone a world variety.
Haye vs Briggs isn’t in concrete yet – thank goodness – but according to Haye, they could both be set to rumble provided Brigg’s can shine on the undercard of Haye’s upcoming May 21st show. I just hope Haye vs Briggs never comes to fruition; not because I have a vendetta against Briggs, but because Haye’s followers, and those fans warming back to the Heavyweight division, really deserve a whole lot better.
The glamour division is finally on the rise, so isn’t it fair to say that poster boys like David Haye should be tackling greater threats than Shannon Briggs? What are your thoughts on a possible Haye vs Briggs matchup?