MIKE TYSON may have stunned the boxing world by announcing his comeback last month.
But the 53-year-old's isn't the only return to the ring that fans can look forward to… after it was announced that he'd be fighting Shannon Briggs.
Iron Mike hasn't been short of offers since revealing his intention to return for a series of four-round charity bouts – with an Evander Holyfield trilogy fight even having been mooted.
But Briggs, 48, who boasts a staggering 37 first round KOs, is the man that will take to the ring against the Baddest Man on the Planet.
Known as "The Cannon", Briggs isn't actually officially retired.
But having not fought since a 2016 win over Emilio Zarate at the O2 Arena, it will be intriguing to see what Briggs brings to the ring after his four-year absence.
If past experiences are anything to go by, it'll be box office.
While certainly not as decorated as Tyson, Briggs himself has been a two-time world heavyweight champion – most recently in 2007.
He held the lineal title between 1997 and 1998 – before facing Lennox Lewis for the WBC crown.
Briggs was coming in off the back of a controversial victory over the legendary George Foreman, and caused The Lion problems early on, rocking him with an early left hook.
But Lewis regained his poise to knock Briggs to the ground three times – before the fight was stopped in the fifth round following the latter's third trip to the deck.
Now 54, Lewis has been complimentary of Briggs since their 1998 battle, revealing that The Cannon had the fastest hands and the best punching skills of any fighter he'd ever faced.
He told The Ring: "He lacked endurance but Briggs certainly knew how to put his bodyweight behind a punch.
"Unfortunately for him you need the full package when you face me so power isn’t enough. Fans may expect me to say McCall or Hasim Rahman for punching power but I basically set myself up against both of them."
He then continued: "I was surprised by Briggs’ hand speed. He was able to close the gap very quickly and that allowed him to get off the big punches. Sometimes you don’t realise how quick someone is until you’re in there."
Briggs later became world champion once again, when he defeated Siarhei Liakhovich to claim the WBO title in 2006 – before losing it a year later to Sultan Ibragimov.
His last shot at a world title came in 2010 against Vitali Klitschko – but he was dominated over 12 rounds by the Ukrainian legend – enduring a staggering [quite literally in Briggs' case] 302 blows.
"LET'S GO CHAMP"
Briggs, now in his 40s, suffered immensely from depression following his defeat to Klitschko.
He insists that he wasn't paid a penny for the title bout – and felt that his life in the sport, the sport that had given him everything… was over.
He told The Undefeated: "I didn’t get paid anything for the Klitschko fight, not a dime!
"I was broke and hospitalised for two weeks. My career was over. Boxing was done. That’s when the depression kicked in. I gained over 150 pounds and ballooned up to 403 pounds.
I’d basically given up and was either going to get revenge on a lot of people or commit suicide.
"Drinking to bury my past. I didn’t want to deal with a lot of things because I’m supposed to be tough. My mom lost everything because of her weakness with drugs. I have three kids and I gave them a roof over their heads.
"That’s more than I had. I’d basically given up and was either going to get revenge on a lot of people or commit suicide. I’m a pretty serious gun collector. I’d probably seen one too many episodes of Law & Order.
"I wanted to drive my car off a cliff."
When it came to dragging himself from the brink, however, Briggs took inspiration from his late mother – and a certain catchphrase helped keep him motivated…
He continued: "After I brought home my daughter from the hospital and she was getting bigger and bigger every day. I could see my mother’s face in her. One day it hit me. I have to provide for this girl.
"I woke up and I finally came to terms with being a fat piece of s*** who wanted to kill myself. I gotta do something.
“I was on all kinds of antidepressants. I couldn’t control my tears and regrets, suicidal thoughts. I was a heart attack waiting to happen. I cut off my hair for the first time in 27 years.
"I threw all my pills in the toilet. I threw all the food out of the house and I bought all kinds of books to study nutrition. I wanted to take my life and a lot of people do. But I started training, eating right, changing my thoughts.
"I’d left boxing and I had nothing to show for it. So this time I wanted to come back on my own. No more promoters or managers like it used to be. I didn’t have no entourage.
It’s the Champ #LETSGOCHAMP
A post shared byShannon Briggs (@cannon_briggs) on
"I didn’t have anything, so I decided I had to be my own motivator. And it just came out, ‘Let’s go, champ'. You need a mantra? Here it is: 'Let’s go, champ!’ Every time I’d get tired walking at 400 pounds? ‘Let’s go, champ!’
"Then speed walking. Jogging. 'Let’s go, champ'. I went back to the gym and I had it in a way I never did before. I was free. I was back.
“Mainstream media had no interest in helping publicise my comeback. I’d hear them snickering every time I talked to them. I was blackballed in boxing. So I had to do everything on my own. I was losing weight.
"I wanted to share my progress to inspire people. But I also recognised this was an opportunity to promote what I wanted to do with a title shot. My objective was to build my own fan base."
While Briggs now resides in a beautiful gated community to the north of Miami with his wife and three children – it wasn't always this way.
In fact, he was dealt one of the roughest hands possible growing up… and came through all the stronger for it.
The Cannon has described what it was like, as a 13-year-old to find that he was homeless… and that his mother was a drug addict.
People you knew could change overnight. Crack made mothers leave their children.
He reminisced: "It was a privileged ghetto existence living there, my mother had a college education and was a registered nurse. But she was also a high-functioning junkie.
"Brownsville was rough back then when crack hit the streets like a bomb detonating. People you knew could change overnight. Crack made mothers leave their children.
"I never got over what I saw from back then. My best friend was killed and his body set on fire for owing a little money. This was happening while I was in a private school playing G.I. Joe and reading comic books.
“That day in January 1984, coming home from Bishop Loughlin High School, was the biggest turning point in my life. I came home and everybody was outside acting strange. Somebody laughed, ‘You better go upstairs, Shannon!
"They’d knocked the lock out, there was just a hole! But I still took out my key and closed my eyes and put the key in that hole. Then I peeked in the hole and I could see garbage in there but everything else was gone.
"I’d lived there all my life and it was empty. When I eventually left the building there were a thousand people out there.
"My situation was big news. All these kids laughing and saying, ‘You got evicted! You got evicted!’ And I ran for the bus stop with a couple kids chasing after me.”
Through extreme adversity, however, Briggs found courage.
He continued: "It was musical chairs after that with places to stay. Place to place. Shelters. Sleeping on a subway. Those years after being evicted were the ones that made me.
"I’d never be in this house right now if it wasn’t for that day. Boxing wasn’t in my life yet. I was on my way to a regular life before the crack era blew in."
BRIGGS THE CORNERMAN
Despite not being officially retired, Briggs tried his hand at being a cornerman late last year.
The former champion's involvement added yet another layer to the developing circus surrounding the rematch between YouTubers Logan Paul and KSI.
With Briggs on his team, the former was training "to kill" his internet adversary… and his new coach was certainly taking it seriously.
Opening up on Briggs' involvement, Paul's best friend Mike Majlak revealed: "It's 8,000 calories of meat, and Shannon wants him literally eating the brains of animals.
"There's stuff we won't do that Shannon wants us to do. The guy is a monster."
Perhaps animal brains may have helped Paul out, as he went on to lose to KSI in Los Angeles.
At 48, Briggs appears to still be in pristine shape, and while Ricky Hatton recently warned Tyson about the dangers of potentially facing John Fury… Iron Mike appears to have selected an even more fearsome competitor.
Source: Read Full Article