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SKITS ARE SNL WORTHY: Will They Bring Briggs A Title Fight Against Klitschko?



We’ve seen him interrupt the training camp of the best heavyweight in the world. We’ve seen him follow and show up at the same restaurant and eat the man’s pasta. And just this week we saw him in a power boat and purposely create enough wake to cause the heavyweight boxing champion to fall off of his water-board, only to surface cursing and saying you’ve crossed the freakin’ line.

Yeah right.

The line they may have drawn in the sand together.

It’s amazing how former WBO heavyweight title holder Shannon Briggs 56-6-1 (49) has a better read on where WBA/WBO/IBF title holder Wladimir Klitschko 62-3 (52) is going to be than his fiancee Hayden Panettiere does. Briggs seems to know where and what time Klitschko trains, he knows where and when he’s going out to eat. And if you had any questions whether or not these comedy skits were engineered by both fighters, your doubt had to be erased when Briggs showed up on the water in a motor boat to harass Wladimir while he was standing on a paddle board off the waters of Hollywood, Florida.

I believe that Klitschko is in on the act to some degree and is also enjoying sitting back and watching Briggs play the role of a WWE heel. And would anyone be surprised if these comedy skits, which sometimes are very funny due to Shannon, are parlayed into a heavyweight title fight? One that could be potentially, while it last, be more exciting than most of the other ones that Klitschko could have had.

Everyone knows that Briggs needs Klitschko much more than Wladimir needs him. Klitschko is clearly the alpha heavyweight in the boxing world and has amassed a fortune. Wladimir has made 16 successful defenses of the title and only trails Joe Louis and Larry Holmes in that department. His problem is nobody really cares about watching his bouts and conquests outside of Germany and Europe. Briggs, with his antics and personality, could provide him with more attention and media coverage than he’s garnered in quite some time. Add to that Briggs is big and strong and has legitimate knockout power in his right hand, coupled with the fact that most perceive Wladimir as being no more than one heavyweight bomb away from losing the title. Most believe that to beat Wladimir it’ll just take the right heavy-handed fighter who isn’t afraid to let his hands go. Could that be Briggs? Who knows, it depends on what night it is. But it is a fight that could attract a decent sized audience on either Showtime or HBO.

Surely Klitschko must be thinking to himself this would be easy money and I’d look like a destroyer knocking Shannon out. However, Briggs threatening to enter the ring like a wounded animal and promising to nail Klitschko on his not so sturdy chin, that would stimulate interest in the fight. The biggest fear for the fans watching would be their worriment that if the bout is made, will Briggs actually try to win it or will he take his couple of million dollars and go home early once he realizes that he’s in over his head?

Many boxing fans are mocking and laughing at Briggs as he goes through the motions along with Wladimir in trying to stir interest in a potential fight between them. But Shannon is a decent guy who squandered away much of his ability as a fighter along with his ring earnings. Briggs’ career got off to a fast and promising start in 1992 before being upset by Darroll Wilson back in 1996 on “The Night Of The Young Heavyweights” in Atlantic City. Remember that night? David Tua destroyed John Ruiz in 19 seconds and Andrew Golota stopped Danell Nicholson in the eighth round before Briggs was stopped by Wilson in the third round. Shannon was a huge favorite over Wilson, and used asthma as an excuse as to why he lost the fight. He went onto win four fights after that and fought George Foreman in what turned out to be George’s last fight. Briggs was awarded a very dubious decision over Foreman back in November of 1997 and parlayed that into a title shot against WBC title holder Lennox Lewis four months later.

Briggs was a riot at the last press conference before the fight with Lewis. His antics and threats were so funny and outrageous that Lennox couldn’t keep a straight face. The next night Shannon, who was a very fit 228 pounds, gave it his all. Briggs wobbled and hurt Lewis in the first round and by the time the bell rang to end it, Lennox was holding on. Briggs hurt Lewis again in the second round, but Lennox survived and by the middle of the fifth round Briggs was hurt and couldn’t survive the round. After that, Briggs was up and down. He drew with Frans Botha, lost to Sedreck Fields and Jameel McCline. After losing to McCline he went on an 11 bout win streak, with his most impressive victory being a seventh round knockout over tough and durable Ray Mercer. Five fights after beating Mercer, he stopped WBO title holder Sergei Liakhovich in 2006 with one second remaining in the last round to win the title. At the time of the stoppage he was trailing on all three scorecards. Seven months later in his next bout, he turned in another stinker and lost the title to Sultan Ibragimov via a 12-round unanimous decision.

Since fighting Ibragimov, Briggs has had one meaningful fight, and that was against Wladimir’s older brother Vitali Klitschko in 2010. Shannon was beaten from pillar to post by Vitali enroute to losing a lopsided decision. He absorbed such a terrible beating that it looked as if he’d be lucky to live a normal life after that, let alone fight again for the heavyweight title. Briggs was inactive for three and a half years after losing to Vitali. But here we are four years later and Briggs, 42, has scored four knockouts in five bouts and shows up wherever Wladimir is, taunting him and promising to knock him out if he gets a chance.

It’s painfully obvious that Briggs realizes that he wasted a lot of his career and ability and longs for one more big payday. And if he got lucky and actually beat Wladimir, Briggs would get another payday and Wladimir’s legacy wouldn’t live down a loss to the old version of Briggs, and he knows it (especially if you take into account Shannon’s fight with Vitali). And that more than anything else just might be the reason why Briggs vs. Wladimir never happens.

Briggs has probably put more effort and work into getting attention for an eventual fight with Wladimir than he may have training for his bout against Vitali. It’s hard to say if Briggs’ antics along with Klitschko’s willingness to play along will actually lead to them fighting. But it sure has been funny and entertaining if nothing else. And would anyone be surprised or shocked if Briggs squeezes out one more high profile bout due to his theatrics with Wladimir? Not me!

One thing is for sure, whether or not they ever fight, Wladimir has helped Briggs become somewhat relevant again.

Frank Lotierzo can be contacted at


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Fast Results From London: Joshua Takes Out Povetkin in the 7th



UK sporting

It was a very wet night at Wembley Stadium, but the dampness didn’t diminish the enthusiasm of the crowd which welcomed UK sporting hero Anthony Joshua into the ring with a thunderous ovation. And Joshua didn’t disappoint. After six relatively even rounds, he found his range in the seventh and became the first man to stop Alexander Povetkin. A three punch combo that began with an overhand right sent Povetkin sprawling into the ropes. The Russian beat the count, but Joshua smelled blood and as soon as the ref allowed the proceedings to continue he moved in for the kill. The official time was 1:59.

Povetkin started fast and in the eyes of many observers won the first three rounds. A sharp right hand in the waning seconds of round one reddened Joshua’s nose which leaked blood in the next round. The tide began to turn in round four when Povetkin suffered a cut above his left eye.

Povetkin (now 34-2), was the lighter man by 23 pounds. Joshua had a four inch height advantage and a seven inch reach advantage. And it mattered greatly that AJ was the younger man by 10-plus years. Povetkin wasn’t intimidated by Joshua and had several good moments but, at age 39, his reflexes betrayed him once the fight had crossed the midpoint.

Joshua, who owns three of the four meaningful heavyweight title belts, improved to 22-0 with his 21st stoppage. His next fight is penciled in for April 13 of next year against an opponent to be determined. His promoter Eddie Hearn has reserved that date at Wembley Stadium.

Other Bouts

In a 12-round lightweight bout, Joshua’s Olympic Games teammate and fellow gold medalist Luke Campbell (19-2) avenged the first loss of his career with a unanimous decision (119-109, 118-111,116-112) over France’s Yvan Mendy (40-5-1). This was Campbell’s second start since coming up short in a bid for Jorge Linares’s lightweight title and his first fight under his new trainer Shane McGuigan.

In their first meeting in December of 2015 at London’s O2 Arena, Mendy won a split decision that should have been unanimous. Campbell insisted that he had improved greatly in the interim and tonight’s fight bore witness. However, he needs to develop a harder punch to rank among the top lightweights in the world, a list headed by Mikey Garcia. As this fight was framed as a WBC title eliminator, Campbell is next in line to meet Garcia, but Mikey has indicated that he will pursue bigger game.

Lawrence Okolie, a 2016 Olympian who trains with Anthony Joshua, won a Lonsdale belt in only his 10th pro start with a 12-round decision over defending BBBofC cruiserweight champion Matty Askin in a messy fight. The undefeated Okolie had a point deducted in round five for leading with his head and had two more points deducted for holding, but banked enough rounds to get the nod on all three cards: 116-110, 114-112, and 114-113. Askin, who declined to 23-4-1, had won five straight heading in.

A 10-round heavyweight match between Sergey Kuzmin (13-0, 1 NC) and David Price (22-6) ended suddenly when Price retired on his stool after four relatively even rounds. The six-foot-eight, china-chinned Price claimed to have aggravated a biceps tear.

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Michael Dutchover Remains Undefeated in Ontario, Calif.

Transplanted Texan Michael Dutchover needed a little time to figure out Costa Rican Bergman Aguilar but when he did it was over quickly on Friday.



Michael Dutchover

ONTARIO-Calif.-Transplanted Texan Michael Dutchover needed a little time to figure out Costa Rican Bergman Aguilar but when he did it was over quickly on Friday.

Lightweight prospect Dutchover (11-0, 8 KOs) knocked out southpaw Aguilera (14-4-1, 4 KOs) in the fifth round with a barrage of body blows that left the Costa Rican limp at the Doubletree Hotel.

For two rounds Aguilar used an awkward counter-punching style that had Dutchover a little tentative. But once he figured out that combination punching was the key, he opened up with barrages and floored Aguilar with body shots at the end of round four.

That signaled doom for Aguilar.

The fifth round saw Dutchover target the body with impunity as Aguilar tried holding, running and covering up with no success. Referee Wayne Hedgepeth signaled the fight over at 2:31 of the fifth round giving Dutchover the win by knockout.

In a bantamweight clash Santa Ana’s Mario Hernandez (7-0-1, 3 KOs) and Mexico City’s Ivan Gonzalez (4-1-2, 1 KO) fought to a majority draw after six back and forth rounds.

Hernandez targeted the body against the taller Gonzalez who relied on long range counters. Both found success but neither could prove superiority after six turbulent rounds.

After six rounds one judge saw it 58-56 for Gonzalez but the two other judges saw it 57-57 for a majority draw.

Other bouts

South Central L.A.’s Ruben Torres (7-0, 6 KOs) extended his undefeated streak with a knockout over Mexico’s Eder “El Koreano” Amaro (6-6, 2 KOs) in a lightweight fight. But it wasn’t easy.

Amaro switched from southpaw to orthodox and was matching Torres for two rounds until the taller local fighter began blasting away to the body and head with precision. Many in the crowd cheered “Koreano” in unison but it couldn’t help once Torres zeroed in.

At the end of the fourth round Amaro could not continue and the fight was stopped giving a knockout for Torres.

Richard Brewart Jr. (2-0) mowed through Edward Aceves (0-5) flooring him with body shots in the first round then overwhelming him in the second. After seven unanswered blows referee Eddie Hernandez stopped the fight at 1:32 of round two giving Rancho Cucamonga’s Brewart the win by knockout in the super welterweight bout.

Southpaw David Ortiz (1-0) won his pro debut by unanimous decision after four rounds in a welterweight match against San Diego’s Mario Angeles (2-11-2). Ortiz lives in Bloomington, Calif. and is trained by Henry Ramirez. No knockdowns were scored.

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Charr-Oquendo Scuttled When Charr Tests Positive; the Odious WBA Saves Face



Manuel Charr

Manuel Charr and Fres Oquendo were scheduled to fight in Cologne, Germany, later this month (Sept. 29). Charr would be defending his WBA world heavyweight title, the “regular” version of it, not the “super” version which rests in the hands of Anthony Joshua.

The bout was quickly cancelled when it was revealed that Charr had tested positive for two banned anabolic steroids. The test was performed by VADA, the anti-doping agency identified with Las Vegas neurologist Dr. Margaret Goodman.

The 33-year-old Charr, born in Lebanon but a resident of Germany since the age of three, won the belt in his last start with a unanimous decision over 281-pound Russian behemoth Alexander Ustinov in Oberhausen, Germany. The title was vacant. Charr won the right to fight for it with a 10-round decision over Albanian slug Sefer Seferi. The victory over Ustinov elevated his record to 31-4. He has been stopped three times, by Vitali Klitschko, Alexander Povetkin, and Mairis Briedis.

If it wasn’t for bad luck, as the old saying goes, Fres Oquendo wouldn’t have any luck at all. For various reasons, his fights keep falling out. Before long he’ll be drawing social security. Well, not exactly, but he turned 45 in April and hasn’t fought in more than four years.

Oquendo has competed for this belt before. In his last ring appearance in July of 2014, he lost a majority decision to Russia’s Ruslan Chagaev in Grozny, Russia. As a concession for taking the fight on short notice, Team Oquendo negotiated a rematch clause in the contract, but a shoulder injury prevented Fres from activating it. When the injury healed, he had to go to court to compel Chagaev to fulfill his obligation. But then the Russian retired, muddling the water.

The WBA was legally bound to find Oquendo a title fight and in desperation turned to ancient Shannon Briggs. But the Oquendo-Briggs fight, scheduled for June 3 of last year in Hollywood, Florida, fell out when Briggs’ urine specimen showed an abnormally high level of testosterone.

Fres Oquendo was dogged by bad luck even before these recent developments. His professional record, 37-8, is somewhat misleading as six of his eight defeats were razor-thin including his 2003 setback to Chris Byrd and his 2006 setback to Evander Holyfield. However, Oquendo, something of a cutie, was never a crowd-pleaser and in none of his narrow defeats was there a public clamor for a rematch.

The cancellation of Charr-Oquendo cuts the World Boxing Association out of a sanctioning fee, but one would think that the WBA honchos are actually rather pleased by this turn of events. The fight, more precisely the WBA’s world title imprimatur, would have brought more unwanted publicity to the Panama-based organization.

ESPN’s Dan Rafael, who has the largest platform of any boxing writer, has been a persistent critic of the organization which once recognized 41 “champions” in 17 weight classes. In 2009, Rafael wrote, “(The WBA) has become such an absolute farce that even somebody like me, who follows boxing closely, sometimes has a hard time keeping track of all the nonsensical so-called world title belts the WBA has been doling out at an alarming rate. It almost reminds me of the ladies at Costco who hand out various samples on a busy Saturday afternoon.”

Rafael took note when WBA president Gilberto Mendoza promised to cull the herd by eliminating “regular” titles, and then became more caustic when Mendoza didn’t follow through. Recently, in one short, punchy diatribe, Rafael blistered the WBA as wretched, vile, and rancid.

Regardless of your opinion, it’s hard not to feel sorry for Fres Oquendo who keeps getting stranded at the altar. No, he’s not fun to watch and a man of his age shouldn’t be taking any more punches, but he has always been an honest workman and by all accounts he’s a very decent man. Born in Puerto Rico but raised in Chicago, Oquendo pitched right in when the island nation of his birth was ravaged by Hurricane Maria. He was personally responsible for relocating Puerto Rican boxing legend Wilfred Benitez and Benitez’s sister, his caregiver, to Chicago where their lives wouldn’t be as hard.

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