Sunday, January 30, 2011

Shannon Briggs Fires The Cannon

I find pain, not happiness, to be the most honest feeling in the world. It is unqualified and as true as the person at hurt, whereas the promise of true happiness which remains to be verified only lies in heaven.

After Shannon “The Cannon” Briggs fought Vitali Klitschko at Hamburg in a fight I believe should have been stopped instead of letting go the distance, the 39 year old former world champion was in such bad shape that he had to remain hospitalized in Germany for days to recuperate. Early on his defeat was already certain and the suffering he continued to take against Klitscho was pointless. In the end, he sustained an orbital fracture, torn biceps, and a broken nose wherein pictures of that fight published the ensuing day manifested just how lopsided that fight was. Looking at those prints one would feel his pain. Vitali destroyed Briggs in a fight for the WBC world championship.

After I befriended Briggs a few weeks ago I was struck by his strong personality as “The Cannon” on occasions would share his ire against the corruption that mars the world of boxing. Yet what amazed me more was how he would instantly switch to being a tender father when he spoke about his family, and how he always found time to spend special moments with his kids, such as taking them to ballparks to watch their games. I assumed all was well for the fighter from New York who had fought the toughest boxers in the sport including a win over the legendary George Foreman, but little did I know his suffering had not yet gone away, except this time he was suffering from a higher form of pain beyond the physical- one of betrayal.

Briggs is currently pursuing a case against Gregory Cohen, Shelly Finkel, and Barry Honig, and their boxing/entertainment promotional company Empire Sports & Entertainment. He is seeking damages and compensation after only being paid a measly $25k in comparison to the $715k he was promised for fighting Klitscho and claims certain documents were forged to facilitate his exit from a company that supposedly started up with him being a 50% shareholder. It was also stated in a report, as if being unpaid the right amount of money was not enough, that the accumulated hospital bill during the days of his recuperation were deducted from his take home pay. If all these are proven true, looks like Briggs’ taking not one but a combo of shots below the belt could possibly grant him millions of dollars worth of punitive damages in counter action, which is not bad if ever he decides to hang up his gloves. Now, I do not know yet for how long this Forgery case among others may drag on or what evidence/s would be laid on the table to prove foul play or otherwise, but the inadequate pay amount itself is quite blatant. From there it’s now a matter of building up a sound case to reach that conclusion.

We can only imagine how frustrating it could be for prizefighters who leave their families behind just to put their lives at stake so they could put food on the table and yet when the fight ends another fight beyond the ring begins. At some point, even a world champion caliber boxer gets tired of all the fighting and I wish Briggs gets a speedy trial so he and his family may have a well deserved peace of mind. From here on then I’m looking forward to getting updates from him on his case and hope these things do not happen to other pugs out there. Not only does it ruin our athletes’ careers and morale, but the sport as a whole.

Now that Shannon Briggs who has a fight record of 51 wins 6 losses 1 draw and 1 no contest has fired his cannon we hope it creates constructive repercussions and movements in the near future that would help shelter the welfare of boxers and their families.

Shannon Briggs said through his social media account that the Klitscho fight could possibly be his last but we’ll see. He is a fierce fighter and to his fans he will always be a champion. It’s never easy for any boxer to call it quits.

Personally, I find him to be a great individual that summons a quote in my mind from Ernest Hemingway which states, “A man can be destroyed, but not defeated.”

Forge on for the good of the sport, Champ.

Mark F. Villanueva
Philippine Islands

[Shannon Briggs is also an actor and appeared in films such as Bad Boys 2, Transporter 2 and The Wackness.]

Mark currently lives in Iloilo City and can be followed through

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