Now that Vitali Klitschko has vanquished the Shannon Briggs challenge to his WBC title, the aftermath of the fight has found Briggs reportedly in “critical” condition in a German hospital, suffering from the effects of a brain concussion and all the uncertainties that entails as well as fractured orbital sockets around both eyes and a torn bicep.
Modern boxing protocol sees fighters often placed under observation at hospitals as a precaution, so Briggs will be evaluated and treated, hopefully followed by a favorable release in the coming days.
Meanwhile, unceasing critics are out in force, harping about the fight needing to be stopped well before the end of the 12th round and criticizing Vitali for lacking one punch power and killer instinct to put Briggs down, all in support of the base criticism that nobody can remember a worse set of champions in a worse era than the Klitschko brothers.
Poor Briggs has doubtless never taken a worse beating at the hand of his critics before the fight and not much has changed after the fight in spite proving his critics wrong about him having no heart or stamina.
OK, it comes with the territory of being a brash personality living life in public according to your own terms instead of kowtowing to others.
Personally, I have never been a fan of Briggs, nor a critic except as it pertains to boxing. He is what he is, one of the most colorful characters of all the champs and contenders of the past two decades. He’s an essential part of the landscape who came to public attention when he got overrated on the heels of a dubious decision over Big George Foreman, and his literal last ditch, last second 12th round knockout of Siarhei Liakhovich for his 2nd title.
Those wins plus Briggs’ formidable physique, size, and first round KO record left him overrated apparently, since the ref, Ian John Lewis who was charged with the biggest assignment of his life, he has been accused of not stopping a one sided beatdown.
Had Mr. Lewis stopped the fight, the same critics would be all over him for not allowing Shannon a last second, last ditch Hail Mary shot that would lift him to glorious victory.
I personally thought the fight could’ve been stopped at several opportune moments in the latter half of the fight, particularly from the 10th round on, yet Briggs continued to land the odd big shot, in effect keeping himself in the fight with nothing left.
Now that we are starting understand the full extent of the punishment he took, it surely must be time to take a look at the most brutally efficient style in the history of the heavyweights that the Klitschkos tend to wage as supersized heavies administering slow, head-hunting type of methodical beatdowns. I cannot think of many fighters who could take that amount of punishment, much less at the near 39 yr age of Briggs.
The critics are always gonna be harping, and refs are always going to make human mistakes of judgement, but it might be time to enact “The Klitschko Clause” into their title fights.
The Klitschko Clause would read that any time after 8 rounds, if the opponent has made no inroads on mounting an offensive threat, is taking a one sided beating, yet is still standing and sent out for every round by their corner, the ref should be compelled to stop the fight.
Of course, refs can stop a fight at any time, and truth be told, I’ve seen a hundred and more fights stopped with the opponent taking a tenth of the damage Briggs absorbed last night. I’m certainly no fan of premature stoppages.
More than a century’s worth of boxing lore has left us with cherished, come from behind, heroic last round KOs like Mike Weaver’s 15th round knockout of Big John Tate that made the career of Weaver and broke the career of Tate. With what we know about brain concussions these days, the risks in these cases are simply not worth it for the odd exception.
The Klitschkos have won their professional honors and respect.
The ref and ring doc already have much discretion in stoppage decisions, but don’t always excercise due judgment, stopping fights too early or too late. Given the incredible beatings the Klitschko brothers have handed out the past few years on Peter, Chambers, Chagaev, Briggs, and Arreola as examples of precious little resistance other than chins too reliable for their own health, it may be time to force a stoppage by writing the terms into the contract.
But here’s to the health and wellbeing of Shannon Briggs in the here and now.
He deserves a full recovery and perhaps a few retirement fights as a gatekeeper before he hangs them up.
And, please, get a new corner. Your corner failed you miserably.
Briggs could still knock out most of the fighters ranked over him, but regardless, he’s earned my highest respect for his absolute defiance in the face of irresistible destruction, stupefying critics be damned.
Well Done, Sir!