SHOWTIME CHAMPIONSHIP BOXING
The 20-year anniversary celebration of SHOWTIME CHAMPIONSHIP BOXING continues with an exciting world championship doubleheader on Saturday, Nov. 4, when Sergei “White Wolf” Liakhovich (23-1, 14 KOs) defends his WBO heavyweight title against Shannon “The Cannon’’ Briggs (47-4-1, 41 KOs) and WBA lightweight champion Juan “Baby Bull” Diaz (30-0, 15 KOs) risks his crown against Fernando “La Fiera” Angulo (18-3, 12 KOs). The Don King Productions-promoted twinbill will air on SHOWTIME at 9 p.m. ET/PT (delayed on the west coast) from Chase Field in Phoenix, Ariz.
In a stunning turn of events during the last year, all four world heavyweight titles have been captured by boxers hailing from the former Soviet Union. Much has been made of America’s lack of heavyweight contenders. Can Brooklyn’s Shannon “The Cannon” Briggs crash the Eastern-bloc party when he challenges World Boxing Organization heavyweight titleholder Sergei “White Wolf” Liakhovich on Nov. 4?
This question will be answered when the first world heavyweight championship ever staged in Phoenix takes place at Chase Field with Liakhovich, a seven-year resident of Scottsdale, making his first title defense.
WBO Champion Serguei "White Wolf" Lyakhovich (22-1, 14 KO's) Scottsdale, Arizona, via Vitebsk, Belarus. 30-years-old, 6'4", 240 pounds, trainer of record Kenny Weldon, manager Ivaylo Gotsev.
Style: Lyakhovich is a tall heavyweight with heart, power and underrated boxer with a lengthy amateur record. He's strong but also somewhat robotic in the manner in which he throws his jabs then a right cross followed by a left hook. Nevertheless, he's a nasty body puncher and can get extra leverage on his shots to the ribs and under the heart. Don't believe us just ask Lamont Brewster.
Strength: Lyakhovich has nice range and size to go along with thudding power that tends to wear down opponents. He has a ramrod left jab and when he's on his game; Liakhovich will drop down and can hammer away at the ribs and belly with stunning body shots. With his extensive amateur background, Lyakhovich is fundamentally sound. He fights within his own pocket, maintains his balance and tends to wear down opponents by keeping up a steady pace of jabbing, hooking off the jab and then tattooing guys with wicked right hands to the body. It isn't flashy but he is effective in the later rounds, as he relentlessly grinds guys up.
Weakness: At 240 Lyakhovich looks a little soft around the middle and while it isn't a beauty contest you have to wonder how he would handle hard hooks to the belly. His defense at best is average and his lack of head movement can cause him problems, especially against a big banger like Briggs.
Challenger Shannon Briggs (47-4-1, 40 KO's) Brownsville, New York. 34-years-old, 6'4", 265 pounds trainer Jeff Mayweather and managed by Scott Hirsch.
Style: Briggs is a big powerful heavyweight that at one time seemed on the verge of possibly capturing one of the many heavyweight crowns when the wheels fell off the wagon. It's been almost nine years since Briggs won a controversial decision over George Foreman and then was destroyed by Lennox Lewis in five rounds. Nevertheless, he is coming off eleven straight victories, so the man nicknamed, "The Cannon" can still punch. A physically imposing athlete, Briggs has a solid jab and a wicked right hand; however, his conditioning is always a question mark. When he defeated Foreman, he weighed 227 pounds. In his last bout he tipped the Toledo's at a robust 273 pounds. That lack of discipline in training camp carries over to inside the ropes and he tends to drops his hands, pull back from punches and invite disaster. Nowadays Briggs refuses to step on the scales and in his last several fights he has weighted 273, 269, and 262.
Strength: Briggs has power to go in both hands and he has the ability to put anyone on their wallet. His best shot is a left hook followed by an overhand right hand and if he catches you on the ropes it is all over. He can be physically overpowering but if he didn't do his work in training camp and keep his weight down, Briggs will struggle to let his hands go and all that power and muscle is simply wasted. As shown with both of his fights with Foreman and Lewis, Briggs has heart and guts, however, at the time he was fighting at around 227, in the 273 range he is a different animal and some of the power is diminished.
Weakness: This guy is his own worst enemy. In March 2004, in his first round TKO victory over Jeff Pegues, he weighed 264½ and his last fight he scaled 273 pounds, which is nice size for a defensive end in the NFL but in boxing it will hamper your stamina. The name of the division is heavyweights not battleships. Does this sound like a guy who takes the sport seriously? Briggs is an excellent athlete but if he comes in over 250, look for him to labor to pull the trigger and finish off volleys. Briggs has said repeatedly in training that he is preparing to score an early knockout. Depending on one-shot power can get you in trouble and the longer this goes increases Lyakhovich's chance of successfully depending his WBO belt.