George Foreman L12 Shannon Briggs Report
Dignity & grace are not two words that you would normally associate with boxing’s Horatio of Hucksterism, Big George Foreman.
But ... Tonight he gave a helluva performance for a geezer facing a “fighter” not only in the prime of his life, but young enough to be George’s son.
Once again, Big George, delivered a painful lesson to yet another young gun. The Punching Preacher dominated the 12 act play he engaged in with Mr. Orange Braids.
... But I ain’t here to review the fight, I’m here to introduce three very different articles about the fight.
One is by the wallflower of boxing, the always sedate & gentlemanly, Joe Bruno. The 2nd is by the CBZ’s new web master, Pusboil. The 3rd is by the always edgy DscribeDC.
All of these guys tend to be a little hesitant about forcefully stating their opinions, so please bear with ‘em ...
by Joe BrunoThe Big Question last night at Trumps Taj Majal in Atlantic City was WHY? WHY did HBO force us to watch a fight between a fighter who can't fight anymore against a fighter who could never fight in the first place? WHY did the Atlantic City judges have to prove to us that they are every bit as corrupt and incompetent as the Las Vegas judges? And lastly, WHY was George Foremen more interested in selling George Foreman's "Mean Lean Grill" after the fight than he was in talking about his pockets getting picked in Atlantic City.
George Foreman hit Shannon "Horrible Hair" Briggs with every punch in the book, and still was on the short end of a ridiculous majority vote decision in favor of a fighter, who was the last person in America who actually thought he won the fight.
This former New York City boxing judge had the fight 117-111 for Foreman ( 9-3 in rounds) and I had to force myself to give Briggs the three rounds I eventually awarded to him on my scorecard. In debatably winning this fight, Briggs won the Linear heavyweight Championship of the world, whatever that is.
The fight had three speeds; slow, stop and reverse. And three moods; boring, very boring and comatose. Foreman looked like Boris Karloff in "The Mummy" chasing a scared archeologist around the ruins of Egypt.
From the second round on, Briggs was sucking wind hard through his mouth. Every time Big George landed a telephone pole-like left jab straight into Brigg's mouth, Briggs would nod his head in agreement like "Nice punch, pal." George was too slow to follow up his advantage, and most rounds looked like two tired buffaloes embraced in "The Tennessee Waltz."
The best punches Briggs landed all night were rabbit punches to the back of George's bald head in the clinches. The referee, former light heavyweight Eddie Cotton, warned Briggs numerous times for the illegal punches, but to no avail.
On the three blind mice's scorecards it read: Larry Layton--117-113 and Calvin Claxton --116-112 for Briggs. Steve Weisfeld scored it 114-114, a draw.
The comments by Foreman after the fight were surreal. With black sunglasses hiding the twinkle in his eyes, Foreman said, "They said Shannon Briggs won that fight. Good luck to him. If I had to do it again, I probably would've thrown more punches."
Briggs seemed dumbfounded he was given the decision and he obviously didn't have time to practice his victory speech. "I've got to look at the tape," Briggs said. "I think I had a lot of clean shots. I think I hurt him a couple of times."
The good news is that George announced after the fight, "I don't think I'll be boxing any more." The better news is, we won't be forced to watch a 50-year old fighter beat up on men half his age, with half his talent, with boxing judges twice as crooked as the three-card monte game on New York City's Times Square.
George also said after the fight, "I proved that 50 years old is not a death sentence."
True, but watching a 50 year-old fighter flounder around the ring like a beached whale chasing a human chicken is worse than a death sentence. It's cruel and inhuman punishment; like listening to Howard Cosell was twenty years back. I thought such grotesque suffering was abolished from the face of the earth when Howling Howie had the good grace to drop dead, but I guess I was wrong.
Here's hoping George is serious about quitting. He made five million dollars for last night's fight, and with those kind of numbers still available, don't bet against George coming back for more long cash against someone like former heavyweight champion Larry Holmes.
The funny thing is, that bout may be one of the most interesting fights that could possibly be made these days in the sea of mediocre heavyweights that is presently drowning boxing fans all over the world.
The Old Man by The Sea
The Final Chapter
by PusboilLet me start by saying I love George Foreman. I wanted George to lose tonight so he would retire. Not because he is an embarrassment to the sport, but for his own health. A lot of people have referred to him as an embarrassment. Let me ask this question, which of the following is a mockery of the sport ? George Foreman an overweight 48 year old fighter beating guys half his age, Tyson chewing someone’s ear or Golota using Bowe’s scrotum as a speed bag ? I personally believe the last two are far worse.
George Foreman was retired in Atlantic City tonight by boxing. Somehow three judges scored this fight a majority decision for Shannon Briggs. It is arguably one of the worst decisions I have seen. I personally had this fight scored 117-111 in George’s favor. The three judges had it 114-114,117-113, and 116-112 for Briggs. Three people who obviously smoked something not meant to be smoked in nature.
When the first score was announced as 114-114, I said "that guy’s crazy!!!". When the announcement was over, the man I proclaimed to be crazy turned out to be the closest thing to sanity in the scoring.
Foreman continually outworked and outpunched the younger Briggs. CONTINUALLY. Let there be no mistake about this. Briggs actually spent the better part of the entire fight walking away from Foreman. Not punching and walking away simply walking away. If this were a walkathon, yes Briggs wins hands down. Unfortunately this was a boxing match.
There were very few times throughout the fight that Briggs could have been considered the aggressor. In the times that he was I gave him the round. That is how he got three rounds on my scorecard. George landed more jabs, more power shots, cleaner punches and was clearly the more effective aggressor tonight. Somehow this was not enough to win the fight. I guess he had to fucking kill him.
Briggs at no point during this fight acted like he wanted to win the damn thing. He spent more time shaking his head and saying George’s punches didn’t hurt him than he did fighting.
George has gotten his fair share of decisions in his second career. So it is easy to say he had this coming. But to Shannon Briggs??? I thought Briggs was going to have a stroke when Buffer announced he was the winner. He was the most surprised person in the building.
Boxing and boxing’s politics did George Foreman a huge injustice tonight. What did George do in return ? Nothing. He simply turned the other cheek. George played it calm. He talked about whining and how that would look to his sons. He talked about being a good sport.
A lot of fighters can learn from that interview. A lot of athletes let alone fighters should show the same dignity. None of this chest thumping, "I’M THE MAN" horseshit. Just dignity in a time when a lot less could have been expected. A sincere thank you to you George, you deserve it for the class you showed tonight.
I thought George should have retired after the Alex Stewart fight in 1992. But he kept on fighting and winning. When he beat Moorer for the title in 1994, I was elated. Once again, I thought he should retire. I mean what else could he fight for ?? He came back and won the title again, twenty friggin’ years after he lost it to Ali in Zaire.
I think George in his second incarnation just loved to hear the fans on his side for a change. In the seventies when he first fought, he was far from a fan favorite. This was new to him, and I think he loved it. Can you blame him ? I can’t.
George turned in to HBO’s biggest draw, bar none. Now that’s not to say it was for his fighting ability. George was an event no matter who he fought. He was an entertainer before, during and after the fights. From his Meineke commercials to his cheeseburger routine, George laid it on thicker and thicker. He became an almost self promoted fighter. Lots of people didn’t care for his antics. He treated himself like a joke sometimes. He became bigger (no pun intended) in the sport than I think he ever thought he could be.
But I guess that it was time for George to be put out to the boxing pasture. As I heard during this broadcast, "It’s time to showcase the younger, up and coming fighters". Well to hell with that, George just beat the snot out of your young and up and coming fighter. Made him look pathetic I might add. So much for that theory. But the decision remains the same. Majority decision for Shannon Briggs, yech.
For now Shannon Briggs is the linear heavyweight champion and will be recognized by the CBZ as such. For now. Briggs will not beat any top name out there. Holyfield, Lewis, shit David Tua beats the crap out of Briggs inside 4 rounds.
So enjoy it while you can Briggs, it won’t be for long. As for Marc Roberts, Brigg’s manager who was shouting like Briggs was robbed for not having a unanimous shutout decision. Wake up. Maybe you should place a bigger ad for your public stock offering in next year’s Fight Fax book.
For George, it appears the end to a long road has come. He leaves boxing with a 76-5 record with 68 KO’s. Not too shabby. Damn impressive I think. It’s really not a bad way for him to go out actually. He knows he won the fight. The people know he won the fight. He was robbed and yet he goes out with class. Unfortunately, a lot of fighters can’t say the same. Good for you George.
So I’m now making plans for the year 2008 when George announces his third boxing career and will fight Larry Holmes who just checked out of his skilled nursing center to start training. See you then.
by DscribeDCI really thought that I was going to get a night off. I had it all figured out. A nice cocktail party, maybe some after-hours carousing and, if I was feeling really pumped full of adrenaline maybe, just maybe, a wee-hours viewing of George Foreman-Shannon Briggs. Shit. Wouldn't it be just like this puch-drunk, woozy, double-dealing, scam-cooking, half-baked 14th-Street-whore of a sport to screw up a nice plan like that?
The fight was co-promoted by Irving Azoff, a name I remember from his days managing the Eagles. I think he needs to tell the Three Stooges (aka Judges Weisfeld, Claxton and Layton) that there ain't no way to hide their lyin' eyes...Don't know what the grounds for involuntary commitment are in the State of New Jersey (drinking the water, maybe?) but this trio needs to be checked out. Either they are certifiably bats or they are simply the worst, least qualified judges to ever sit at ringside. Take your pick. There's simply no way that sane, rational, fair-minded people watching that particular mill could have ended up with glorified clubfighter Briggs topping Big George by 116-112 or 117-113.
They say that the most reliable way to judge a fight is to sit a 5-year old in front of the screen and let him point to the winner. Well, America's pharmaceutical combines could never churn out enough Ritalin to calm all the agitated toddlers who would have been pointing their plump little digits at one George Foreman tonight.
I don't want to be mean to Shannon Briggs, who lost a mother and a friend in recent months (isn't that almost the exact scenario that spurred Buster Douglas to his Tyson upset?), but it's hard to deny that his performance between round one (when his jab seemed to set a certain tone) and the final couple stanzas (when he summoned his courage to land some convincing body shots and mount a charge of sorts) was listless, passive and submissive.
He spent most of his time moving backward and, particularly in the final third of the fight, when Foreman smelled knockout, eating lethally-intended Foreman jabs and crosses. The best punches he landed were the illegal variety; fact is, Shannon Briggs landed more rabbit punches than that cartoon mauler who fought for the title against Bugs Bunny.
True, Briggs did not fold up his tent and quit like he did so shamefully vs. Derrol Wilson last year. But he exhibited none of the ferocity he unspooled during his Butterbean-like string of whirlwind circus knockouts. He was just there. There to be hit, and George obliged quite hospitably.
George seemed to be in terrible shape, pudgy, flabby, with (as Ferdie Pacheco likes to put it) "jelly in the breasts." But his in-ring generalship was fine, he picked up the pace admirably in the late rounds and punched with crispness and alacrity. He seemed, if anything, younger than he did when he soaked up that prodigious beating at the hands of Tommy Morrison. He looked like he could fight another fifty years.
It was one of those rare nights when everything on earth and heaven agreed. Merchant had Foreman winning handily. As did Lederman. As did Lampley. As did Jones. As did Bucket. As did Dscribe. So, what could go wrong? Three things, actually...We should have known something was up when two of the judges hailed from the same state as Triple Threat and the third was from Washington, DC, where they have a word for guys who aren't working some kind of an angle: "tourists."
There was a hush over the crowd when Steve Weisfeld's card showed a 114-114 draw, a result which was sort of like scoring George Kennedy vs. Paul Newman in Cool Hand Luke a draw. But greater outrages awaited, with "judges" Claxton and Layton handing the decision to Briggs by four-round margins.
Now, I did not score the bout myself -- it hardly seemed worth the effort -- but, given Briggs' almost total lack of meaningful activity throughout the middle eight rounds of the bout, it does not seem to me that there was any way an intelligent observer could have scored this any more favorably for Briggs than 115-113 Foreman. Am I on crack? At this point, I'm willing to believe that I may be Napoleon Bonaparte. This crap judging must have made Roy Jones feel just like a Seoul Man all over again.
So, jeez, I'm thinking...isn't it George who's supposed to get the gift decisions? What next? Pauly Shore gets billing over Clint Eastwood? Some $12 an hour Microsoft programming dweeb moves Bill Gates into a 5'x5' cubicle? Ollie North thumps Al Gore in a race for the Oval Office? All over the world, do chumps magically become champs? We're talking about the very linchpins of the cosmic order flying loose here...
Why on earth make such a renowned underachiever as Briggs, a guy whose claim to fame was that he was the best two-round heavy in the sport for a couple of years, the new "lineal" champion? Can you imagine what damage this does to the sport's one relatively pure and apolitical title chain? Does Briggs deserve to stand alongside Gentleman Jim, the Manassa Mauler, the Brown Bomber, the Greatest, the Easton Assassin? What are they going to carve on his pedestal: "The Whaler with the Inhaler?" Oh, brother.
To give credit where credit is due, I felt that Briggs gave his all. He did not quit. He did not comply with the crowd's wishes and become another Big George KO victim. He gave everything he had, although, admittedly, this wasn't a ton. He tried. He didn't beat Foreman, but he beat a bigger foe, his own fear.
And when the time came to talk about the fight, he was the picture of grace, dignity and self-awareness. He did not brag and boast a la Mike Tyson or the faded Sweet Pea Whitaker. To his credit, he didn't even really claim he won the bout. He gave thanks to God and his deceased mother, spoke frankly and fairly about what he and Foreman accomplished in the ring, and conducted himself with a modesty never before seen from a Brownsville, NY fighter.
I was prouder of him for this than for anything he did in the ring. He left the bullshit to the promoters, where it belongs. Briggs' promoter Marc Roberts, whose biggest claim to fame was getting into a foolish on-camera punch-up with barely-missed blowhard Rock Newman, dared to suggest (although he could hardly be heard through the hail of boos) that the crowd backed the pro-Briggs decision. This guy has a career in politics ahead of him because, with that disingenuous smirk of faux-indignation painted on his kisser, he looked like the kind of senator who sleazily pockets questionable campaign contributions while grilling the opposition party for accepting questionable campaign contributions. He exhibited all the class of, well, a guy who gets in an on-camera punch-up with Rock Newman. In short, Low...
George was also the picture of grace...He smiled, joked and proclaimed his intention to get back to his youth work. He knows he has had a long, fairy-tale ride and that in boxing, as in every other endeavor, what goes around comes around. The cigar-chomping backroom boys giveth and they taketh away. Foreman has been the beneficiary in his time of some questionable decisions, but, when he was a cash cow to be milked, that was OK...
Now, he's gotten too old and too expensive and he's interfering with the rise to "glory" of the young, inexperienced, easily-fleeced-and-manipulated fighters that pay for promoters' Benzes and vacation homes. He was a threat, a guy who didn't need to agree to unfair contracts with promotional options. He had to go, and go he will.
Yet, there was no bitterness or anger or enmity in anything Foreman said. When was the last time you heard a spitting, helmet-throwing, ref-shoving professional crybaby say that he would not protest a call because he wanted to set an example of good sportsmanship for his children? Wow. This guy really is a threat. If he raised the bar on conduct any higher, athletes might have to exercise some grace, professionalism and responsibility.
No more sack dances, no more taunting, no more "no respect" tirades at youth basketball clinics, no more speeding around with bags of cheeba and loaded handguns, no more coke parties with "freelance Dallas models." Send that man packing! He's a menace! And, most scandalously of all, he didn't once assert his inalienable right under the Constitution of the United States to declare himself a "victim" of some insidious Age-ist conspiracy. Stop the presses! "Foreman Implicated in Humility, Graciousness SHOCKER!..." Get Geraldo on the speed-dial!
If the promoters, judges, alphabet-soup heads, trainers, managers and other behind-the-scenes folks involved with the sad, two-bit sideshow of boxing comported themselves with one-tenth the dignity, fairness and honesty that Foreman and Briggs showed in their post-fight interviews, boxing might be worth saving.
Sportscenter treated the fight glibly, not even deigning to express indignation: "how can anyone say [Foreman] was robbed when he walked away with a million bucks?" The fact that the most widely-watched and -respected reporters in sports treated the theft of what was once The Richest Prize in Sports, the linear heavyweight title, as a joke on a par with dwarf-tossing or greased-pig wrestling should say all that needs to be said about boxing's flatlining condition.
After tonight, I'll wager that few would shed a tear if the plug was pulled, the respirator switched off and the bloated, syphillitic hulk flung into a pauper's grave. Irv's boys said it best: "Life in the fast lane/Sure to make you lose your mind..."
As I face what will surely be another tequilla sunrise, I still have one question that begs to be answered. It's easy to see why young kids like Briggs come to boxing; they crave discipline and goals and want to test themselves against the very best. It's easy to see why Foreman is still drawn to the sport; it's in his blood, it gives him a platform to preach hope to the aging and it helps him to raise big fat pots of money for his ministry.
But, why in the hell do rational, sensitive, thinking people with lives and loves and interests, fans like us, keep jumping back into this cesspool? Where is our payoff? Guess with boxing you can check out any time you like/But you can never leave...
Just North of Utter Disbelief
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