ESPN2 News got a chance to catch up with former heavyweight champion Shannon Briggs inside his training camp at Supreme Team Boxing in Ft. Lauderdale, Florida. The 43-year old Briggs, 58-6-1, 51 KO’s, is riding an eight fight winning streak, seven wins by 1st round knockout against non-descript opponents. Briggs retired in 2010 after losing a 12-round decision to heavyweight champion Vitali Klitschko. In his recent comeback Shannon “The Cannon” has been stalking Vitali’s younger brother Wladimir Klitschko, 64-3, 53 KO’s, the current heavyweight champion. Briggs is still a dangerous opponent with his size and concussive one-punch power. The Brookyln bomber recently reunited with his former trainer Milton LaCroix, 53, from the Supreme Team Boxing faction in Florida.
The outspoken LaCroix is a legend among New York Golden Gloves trainers and was the primary subject in the critically acclaimed boxing novel ‘The Gloves’. Since turning his focus to the pro ranks the silver tongued LaCroix has helped pilot the career of not only Briggs but also Al Haymon promoted Jr. middleweight contender Wilky Campfort, 22-3, 12 KO’s. In 2003 LaCroix relocated to Florida to help rebuild Briggs career after a one-sided decision loss to former contender Jameel McCline. With LaCroix in his corner in 2006 the 35-year old Briggs reclaimed a portion of the heavyweight title with a dramatic 12th round KO over W.B.O. champ Siarhei Liakhovich. After winning the belt Briggs and LaCroix parted ways and Shannon was easily beaten by Sultan Ibragimov in his first title defense without his trainer.
Now that Briggs is back with his wingman LaCroix the suddenly vulnerable looking 40-year old champion Wladimir Klitschko looks like fresh meat to the dynamic duo. The always quotable LaCroix said of Briggs “He’s back, he’s black and he’s mad! Wladimir Klitschko better watch his ass!”
Question: Shannon what keeps the fire going at age 44 to still get into fights for a living?
Answer: America needs a heavyweight champion that is energetic and exciting. Everyone is tired of seeing boring Wladimir Klitschko hold the heavyweight title overseas.
Q: What weaknesses do you see in the champion Wladimir Klitschko?
A: He has no heart, no chin and his legs are weak. He’s ducked me for years.
Q: Undefeated Heavyweight contender Deontay Wilder (38-0, 37 KO’s) has been talking some smack in your direction lately. What flaws do you see in his game?
A: To me Wilder isn’t even a boxer. He is impersonating a boxer. Wilder should be playing basketball (laughs).
Q: Nowadays fighters seem to carry their skills longer than old-time boxers? Do you feel like the 44-year old Briggs is better than the 34-year old version?
A: Absolutely. I am more mature as a person. All I do is train nowadays. I spent a year building my body up and now I’m getting my skills right with my main man Milton. My speed and timing are back. I’m like fine wine baby! I only get better with age!
Shannon Briggs – Boxer Tale-Of-The-Tape
Best Punch: Left Hook