Scott Hirsch: Briggs is a lock over Ibragimov!

By G. Leon


Scott Hirsch: Briggs is a lock over Ibragimov!

McCline to return this summer!

GL: Can you give us some thoughts on Jameel McCline's disappointing loss to WBA heavyweight champion Nikolay Valuev? "It was the most painful loss I've ever been involved with. He was really coming on and fighting exactly the fight that we wanted to fight, but things happen. Whenever two big men get together like that things happen. It was a fluke injury that was totally out of our control. Jameel was going to show that he was up to the task, now he's going to take some time to heal but we're hoping to get him back in there with a top contender in the beginning of the summer."

GL: So Jameel will be fighting again. I imagine the injury wasn't as bad as originally anticipated.

Scott Hirsch: "It's extremely painful. He snapped the patella tendon in half but it's easily reperable. He had the surgery and they said that was a tremendous success that went better than they expected and in five or six weeks from now he's going to be working it in a pool. Two months from now he's going to start light workouts and then we'll go on from there. Those thinking he's done, he's not. You heard it right here, Jameel will fight again this summer. I think based on this fight and his last fight with Terry Smith, I think he's a viable contender for anyone out there."

GL: Earlier today I spoke with Ibragimov's manager Boris Greenberg. Although he's expecting an exciting fight he told me that Ibragimov would stop Briggs. Can you tell us why you disagree with him?

SH: "It just makes no sense. I think he's probably a nice guy, but anyone who knows boxing knows that's not going to happen. Shannon has more experience, he's the bigger man, he's the harder hitter, he's got the better fundamentals. The other guy's chin is a little suspect also. He's a tough kid, but he's a little small and he gets hit a bit too often to fight Shannon Briggs. He has absolutely no chance in this fight and it's like I said before, if we lose this fight goodbye, that's the end of me in boxing. There's no chance of us losing this fight."

GL: As Shannon's manager I'm sure you view a homecoming defense of the title as something that will make your job easier if he delivers. He won the title against a RUssian, he's defending against a Russian and right now the Russians are running the division...

SH: (cutting in) "There's really nothing but Shannon Briggs, Samuel Peter and all of the Russians. There's Ibragimov, Liakhovich, Valuev, Dimitrenko, the Klitschko's, Maskaev. We're ready to take them all out one at a time. They're tough guys and good fighters and that's why they're on top of the game, but Shannon is ready to fight all of them. Right now we're focusing on Ibragimov on March 10 and it's not a matter of thinking he's going to deliver it's a lock."

GL: Where is Shannon training for this fight?

SH: "He's training out here in Davie, Florida. Actually he's working the heavy bag as we speak and his movement is just great. I got to tell you he's already in better shape now, five weeks out, than he was for the last fight with Liakhovich."

GL: Is there anything you'd like to say in closing?

SH: "I think that the heavyweight division is about to get exciting. You've got Austin and Klitschko and you've got Briggs-Ibragimov. Valuev is going to fight Changaev and it's almost like a semi-final round to me, I think it's in everyone's interest to have one world champion and we're going to have good opportunities to unify the division in the coming months."


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