Fury vs Briggs: Heavyweight version of Saunders vs Lemieux?
Will 46-year-old Shannon Briggs (60-6-1, 43 KO) be Tyson Fury's first opponent on the latter's comeback?
So far, it looks that way.
Fury hasn't fought since October 2015 and will need an interesting yet accomplished opponent who'll offer a favorable style match-up in a return bout. After all, Fury will be rusty.
Shannon Briggs is:
Interesting and entertaining.... check.
And, most importantly, is a favorable style match-up... check.
Briggs will do a lot to build-up the fight, but does he pose a threat to the 6'9" Fury?
Shannon seemed to think so.
“I feel like the fight is going to happen next year we’ve been talking for some time now," Briggs said via The Sun UK.
“It’s going to be a great fight, he’s been off for two to three years now, I’ve been off for over a year, I’m going to beat his ass."
“Rhythm, he’s a rhythm fighter - I’m a rhythm fighter we’re going to take it to the middle of the ring.
“If he tries to box me I’m going to bum-rush him, if he tries to slug with me I’m going to wear him down - I’m going to knock him out, this is the heavyweight championship fight."
Predictable vs unpredictable
Fury vs Briggs, should it happen, will end in one of three ways.
1. Briggs catches a cold and rusty Fury early and stops Tyson inside of 5. Think of Tony Thompson vs David Price I and II.
2. Fury uses his height, range and natural athleticism to box rings around Shannon to win a one-sided verdict a la Billy Joe Saunders vs David Lemieux.
3. Fury uses his height, range, footwork and natural athleticism to box rings around Shannon, eventually stopping his badly fatigued foe in the latter rounds.
Stylistically, it's advantage Fury.
Look for Shannon to have trouble finding the moving target - and alluding it. Moreover, don’t be surprised to see him sucking wind in the middle rounds or sooner.
Early rounds will be the most telling
But anything can happen and Shannon will be the most dangerous in the first 3 rounds. In fact, he's recorded 34 first round knockouts - the most opening round stoppages of any heavyweight belt-holder in history. Should they fight and Shannon is unable to mount any semblance of an attack on Fury in the first three rounds, this bout will certainly resemble a heavyweight version of last week's WBO title fight between Billy Joe Saunders and David Lemieux.
Americans have spoiled British showcases before...
In what was supposed to be a showcase, then red hot British heavyweight was stopped in back-to-back showdowns with American contender Tony Thompson in 2013. And in 1994, then WBC heavyweight champion Lennox Lewis was stopped in Round 2 by American journeyman Oliver McCall.
As with Shannon Briggs against Fury, the Americans in the aforementioned examples were shorter, more stationary fighters who were believed to be too limited to pose a threat to their opponents.
Thompson shocks Price in Round 2