Shannon Briggs’ NYC Homecoming Is Slated For Nov. 4

By Francis Walker
Updated: October 24, 2005

NEW YORK— Former world heavyweight title challenger Shannon Briggs returns to New York to resume his professional boxing career on Nov. 4. The Hammerstein Ballroom will be the setting, as Briggs (43-4-1, 37 KOs) meets Saul Montana (44-13, 38 KOs) in a 10-round contest.

Briggs is not only making homecoming, he is also pressing for second heavyweight title shot which is hard to come by these days.

Chris Byrd has been the IBF champion for nearly three years and has made only four defenses. Byrd has fought only once this year and is due to meet Wladimir Klitschko, the IBF No. 1-ranked contender next year.

John Ruiz has defended the WBA heavyweight title only three times since 2003 and has also fought only once this year.

Vitali Klitschko, who won the WBC crown in April 2004, has a mandatory defense against No-1-ranked, Hasim Rahman which will be Klitschko’s first title defense in ’05.

With a No. 16-ranking by the World Boxing Council (WBC), Briggs has a long road ahead if he wishes to challenge for a heavyweight championship.

Briggs nearly won the heavyweight title in dramatic fashion in March 1998. In the opening seconds of the first round, Briggs nearly knocked WBC heavyweight champion Lennox Lewis through the ropes. Briggs punched himself out and ended up losing to Lewis on a fifth-round KO.

Since then, Briggs has remained very busy, winning 13 of 16 fights. Although he has lost to Jameel McCline, Sedreck Fields, and fought Frans Botha to a draw, all three fighters have been KO’d from title contention.

Briggs has been on a roll since loss to McCline more than three years ago. Briggs has knocked out his last seven opponents including former top-10 heavyweight contender, Ray Mercer (KO 7) in August.

In his prime, Mercer lost two controversial decisions to Lewis and four-time heavyweight champion, Evander Holyfield. Boxing promoter Don King was always hesitant to put Mercer in the ring with Mike Tyson.

Briggs’ career has had its high and low moments.

Briggs turned professional in July 1992. He immediately gained attention with his massive 6’2,” 230-pound frame, and golden dreadlocks. He had hand speed, power, and was knocking everyone out in a matter of minutes. In fact Briggs has 25 first-round knockouts.

Briggs has struggled in his career, battling asthma which may have affected him in losses earlier in his career. Briggs has only been stopped twice in his career, but he still manages a pretty decent record and the heavyweight division is wide open.

Montana has a pretty good record. He’s 35 and has fought professionally since 1988. He has not defeated anyone significant, but he has been KO’d by former world champions James Toney (KO by 2), Vassily Jirov (KO by 9), and Virgil Hill (TKO by 10).

Montana has more experience than Briggs since Montana began his career as a super middleweight (168), light-heavyweight (175), cruiserweight (190), and now a heavyweight (200-plus).

Although Montana has 13 career losses and has been KO’s nine times, 86% of his victories have come by a knockout. Montana will not be a walk through fight for Briggs.