By Juan Tutrifo at ringside (sort of)
Shannon Briggs' career has been feast or famine. He either knocks you out early, or gets dragged out over 12 rounds.
Saturday night was a slight shift from normal form, requiring two rounds to get rid of career journeyman Michael Marrone in front of a hearty crowd at Seminole Hard Rock Hotel and Casino in Hollywood, Florida.
Chants of "Let's Go Champ!" were all the proof needed that Briggs has definitely developed a cult following, at least in the South Florida region. Always in tip-top shape and often deranged, the 43-year old heavyweight is still capable of blowing away the bottom tier of the heavyweight division.
Marrone is considerably better than the collection of stiffs Briggs has feasted on throughout his career, but was barely any more competitive.
The threat of a 1st round knockout came about when Marrone hit the deck early, but managed to make it out of the round. The sequence was enough to get the always energetic Briggs all the way into fighting spirit. His efforts drew a reaction from the vocal patrons in attendance on a night dedicated to the heavyweight division, with a number of former champs in town to take part in the filming of a forthcoming documentary.
It would only take one more round for the former heavyweight champion of the world to get the job done. A wicked body shot put Marrone (21-5, 15KOs) on the canvas once again, this time counted out at 2:52 of round two.
Briggs is now 59-6-1 (52KOs), winner of eight in a row and for the 37th time in his career registering a knockout inside of one round.
Naturally the Brooklyn born-and-raised heavyweight -- who now lives and trains in South Florida -- would love for his next fight to be against Wladimir Klitschko, the current heavyweight champion of the world. The longtime rivals met at The Heavyweight Factory earlier this week for their latest YouTube adventure, with Briggs once again calling out Klitschko.
For what it's worth, Klitschko insisted he would cheer for Briggs and that he should wait until after fighting and winning on Saturday before discussing such a fight. Of course, the defending heavyweight champion is more focused on his own next title defense, versus unbeaten Tyson Fury -- another colorful heavyweight -- next month in Germany.
Joshua "Too Tuff" Tufte was barely edged Arkansas sub .500 heavyweight Jamal Woods, scoring an eight-round split decision in a performance as sorry as his nickname. Scores were 78-74 for Woods (7-21-3, 7KOs), and matching tallies of 77-75 for Tufte (19-1, 9KOs).
Middle-aged heavyweight Maurice Harris was fortunate to avoid a third straight loss, struggling to an eight-round draw with fleshy heavyweight Grover Young.
Each fighter won by scores of 77-75, with a third judge seeing the fight even at 76-76. Those at ringside who stayed awake long enough to make it through the dull affair believed Young
whose decepitive sub .500 hardly reflects the efforts he puts forth in each fight
deserved the nod, by way of his superior body work.
Harris (26-19-3, 11KOs) was once upon a time a reliable spoiler in the 1990s heavyweight scene. Those days are long gone, as the 39-year old has just two wins in his past nine fights dating back to 2011. The bout was his first since a 2nd round knockout loss to Andrey Fedosov last April.
Young heads back to Memphis with his record now 12-16-2 (8KOs). The 26-year old southpaw is coming off of a competitive four-round loss to unbeaten Edwin Alvarez in July.
Two major upsets came earlier in the night.
Leander saw his castle pillaged by Virginia heavyweight Antonio Roberston, who scored a four-round split decision. Leander (11-3, 8KOs) won 39-37 on one card, but was overruled by identical scores of 39-37 in favor of Robertson (4-5-1, 2KOs), who has now won four in a row after beginning his career 0-5-1.
Haitian heavyweight Dieuly "The Untamed Beast" Aristilde was caged and conquered by Brandon Spencer, a 300 lb. heavyweight from Georgia who lost seven out of his past eight fights before tonight. The tide turned for the 4-11-1 (3KOs) clubfighter, who snatched victory from the jaws of defeat after putting Artistilde (9-8, 2KOs) -- who hasn't fought since 2013 -- on the canvas twice in the deciding 4th round, prompting all three judges to score the fight 38-36 in his favor. The bout would have been a draw without the knockdowns.
Kicking off what became an undercard of close decisions, Terrance Marbra (now 8-3, 6KOs) grinded out a four-round majority decision win over towering heavyweight Ernest Mazyck. One judge had the fight even at 38-38, but scores of 39-37 and 40-36 gave Marbra the win over the 6'9" Mazyck (8-2, 3KOs), aptly named Zeus.
Local heavyweights Edwin Alvarez and Quadtrine Hill made things easy on the judges by producing knockout wins in separate bouts.
The unbeaten Alvarez -- a good-looking prospect from Miami -- drilled Steve Teagle midway through the opening round of a matchup between unbeaten heavyweights. Alvarez (5-0, 4KOs) put Teagle (1-1, 1KOs) down and out with a body shot, ending the fight at 1:40 of round one.
Hill continues to make a run in the boxing world after a standout college football career and a brief stay in the National Football League (NFL). The former stud fullback for the Miami Hurricanes ended a four-year break from the ring with a 3rd round knockout of Quincey Palmer (9-7, 9KOs), who has either scored a knockout or has been knocked out in all but one career fight.
Jake Donovan is the managing editor of BoxingScene.com. Twitter: @JakeNDaBox