Shannon Briggs understandably has taken a lot of flak for predicting Logan Paul could become a heavyweight champion within five years.
The 24-year-old Paul, a social media star, has one amateur boxing match on his resume. That six-round bout was contested at cruiserweight, versus another completely inexperienced opponent, and it resulted in a majority draw.
The bombastic Briggs couldn’t care less. Paul’s trainer has continued trumpeting Paul as a future heavyweight champion during the buildup toward their six-round rematch Saturday night at Staples Center in Los Angeles (DAZN; Sky Sports Box Office).
Briggs’ basis for his outrageously ambitious boast, however flawed it might be, is that if he could become heavyweight champion, Paul is completely capable of doing the same thing. The 6-feet-4, heavy-handed Briggs had nearly 40 amateur bouts, some against elite fighters from around the world, before making his pro debut in July 1992, at the age of 20.
“Guess what – he has more money than I had,” Briggs told BoxingScene.com. “So, he’s got the top trainers, the top masseuse, the top medicine, the top food – the man has everything. He has everything now, where he can be heavyweight champion in three to five years. And if not, he’ll be in contention, where he’ll be the first multibillion-dollar fighter. He’s handsome, he’s white, he speaks well, no tattoos. He made mistakes in the past.
“But guess what? There’s nothing in the world, champ – I look you in your eyes as a man, and I can tell you there’s nothing in the world like boxing. You know it yourself. Redemption through this sport, it’ll cost you your life. You can die in this thing. He willing to put his life on the line. This ain’t just KSI. This man willing to put his life on the line, champ. He gonna be the next heavyweight champ of the world. I give you my word.”
The Brooklyn-bred Briggs went 60-6-1, including 53 knockouts and one no-contest, in a star-crossed career that spanned parts of three decades.
Briggs beat George Foreman, then boxing’s lineal heavyweight champion, by majority decision in their 12-rounder nearly 22 years ago in Atlantic City, New Jersey.
Almost nine years later, Briggs upset Siarhei Liakhovich by 12th-round technical knockout to win the WBO heavyweight title. Briggs was behind on all three scorecards when he stopped Liakhovich in the final round of their November 2006 bout in Phoenix.
Briggs also suffered a TKO loss to Lennox Lewis and a lopsided, 12-round, unanimous-decision defeat to Vitali Klitschko in fights for the WBC heavyweight title. He was supposed to fight Fres Oquendo for a version of the WBA belt in June 2017, but Briggs tested positive for performance-enhancing drugs the month before their bout and it was canceled.
It’s highly unlikely that Briggs, who’ll turn 48 next month, will find himself in position to fight for a heavyweight title in the future. He is supposedly steadfast in his belief that the same can’t be said about Paul.
“I stick to my word because I was able to do it,” Briggs explained. “I had about 40 amateur fights. I didn’t have the money he had. I didn’t have the ability to move my career slowly. I had the ability to move my career slowly, but as an amateur I only had 30-something amateur fights. And, over time, I became heavyweight champion of the world, when I fought George Foreman in ’97, and then again in 2006, when I knocked out Siarhei Liakhovich.
“So, with that being said, if I could do it, a kid that weighed two pounds at birth, less than two pounds at birth, asthmatic all my life, picked on and bullied, if I can do it, Logan can do it, too. With the money he has, he white, he can be heavyweight champion in five years. I’m telling you. Mark my words. Let’s go, champ!”
Keith Idec is a senior writer/columnist for BoxingScene.com. He can be reached on Twitter @Idecboxing.