Exclusive Interview: Paul Briggs

By G. Leon


Exclusive Interview: Paul Briggs

GL: Paul, how do you feel about the WBC recently ordering Antonio Tarver to defend his title against you? "I'm stoked! I'm really, really happy. This shows that the WBC fulfills its obigation to their boxers. They're doing the right thing which is nice to see and should be reassuring to all boxers, because when you truly work your way to the mandatory this shows you're going to get it."

GL: Do you think that Tarver will look to make his mandatory or do you think he's going to see if there's something that could be done so he could work around it?

Paul Briggs: "One thing I've got to give Antonio is that he's acted like a true champion so far. He does actually think about the future of the sport rather than always thinking about what he can get from the sport. I'm not sure what he's going to do and I can't begin to think how he thinks, but I know that I'm more than qualified to be across the ring from him. I've acquired my position through atrition with my two hands. I'm more than a credible opponent for him."

GL: So what have you been up to since your return to the States? Are you in the gym yet or are you just kicking it?

PB: "I've basically been kicking it, but I started running this week and next week I'll be back in the gym. I'm just going to be doing a bit of prep stuff before we go into camp."

GL: Have your people already been in touch with Team Tarver?

PB: "I think it's all under way and I think we're looking at whose going to put their hat into the ring on bidding for the fight, and seeing who the players are. And on top of that we're going to see how keen Antonio is. Is he going to come to the party and defend his title, or is he going to try to make the rubber match with Roy Jones? That remains to be seen, but I think he's going to choose to defend his title."

GL: If you were Antonio Tarver what move would you make if the Jones rubber match presented itself?

PB: "If I was in the position that he's in financially, not that I really know from the bit I hear, but if I was in that kind of position I would definitely go for the money before I fight Paul Briggs."

GL: It sounds like you think this is going to purse bid, is that the case?

PB: "In previous negotiations that we've had, because I've come close to fighting Antonio before. His people are really easy to work with and I think it will all come down to the promoters more than anything. It's pretty easy to put a fight together when both guys want to fight each other and they agree on how much they want. The only that can stop that from happening is promoter's wanting their dibbs on a boxer. I think we'll come to an agreement, but we'll see."

GL: Drews was a southpaw, how much of a plus is it for you to be coming off a victory over a southpaw heading into a potential fight with Tarver?

PB: "It's definitely a big help. And that was a frustrating fight because the guy came to fight until he got banged, then he decided to run, hold, head-butt, choke and knee me in the nuts. I'm happy to have gotten that work in and I certainly felt I was going to knock Drews out, but in hindsight I'm glad that I got another twelve solid rounds in. Going the distance was good for my confidence and it was good prep. Not that Stipe Drews is in Antonio's league, but you know a fight's a fight."

GL: If there was one message you could relay to Antonio Tarver now, what would it be?

PB: "Train hard and don't take me lightly, because I'm coming with everything I've got and I'm coming to take it. That's what I'm here to do, I've brougt my whole family to America and I'm not playing around. I set my goal four and half years ago and I'm about to reach them, so I'd tell him I know how to set goals and achieve them."


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