Rampage Jackson and Shannon Briggs Hop Aboard Veteran Boxing Bandwagon
With the number of veteran fighters coming out of retirement and into the boxing ring, it’s surprising that a league hasn’t been formed. The latest two names set to have a heavyweight boxing match feel like they came out of a name generator. Quinton “Rampage” Jackson is set to square off against Shannon Briggs on June 1 in Qatar.
Jackson competed in MMA and has never had a professional boxing match before. Jackson, 45, hasn’t had a MMA bout in over four years. Briggs has been retired for even longer. Briggs will be stepping back into the ring after a six-year absence.
Both men became champions in their respective sports. Online boxing news will show that people who follow this fight may be intrigued by which fighter still has enough gas left in the tank. These fights are always compelling because of what drives the men to remain in the ring.
While money will always be a motivator, many of these fighters have difficulty giving up the lifestyle and feel like they still have something to prove. In this case, Briggs decided to tease Jackson on social media to try to get him to fight. Now, both men will have a chance to settle their differences.
Rampage Had Many Travels in MMA
Jackson made his professional MMA debut in 1999. He wouldn’t be a fighter who made his name in the UFC. The American light heavyweight contender made his first breakthrough on the world stage in the now-defunct Japanese promotion PRIDE. Jackson made the finals of the 2003 Pride Middleweight Grand Prix.
Jackson made the tournament finals by beating Murilo Bustamante and Chuck Liddell. He would end up losing in the finals to Wanderlei Silva. The rivalry with Silva would last long before their first meeting.
Silva would beat Jackson again at Pride 28 in a bout for the middleweight championship. After starting his career with a 25-6 record, Jackson finally found his way to the UFC. Jackson won his debut with a knockout of Marvin Eastman. He would fight Liddell for the UFC Light Heavyweight championship and win by knockout.
Anyone looking at MMA news sites will see that Jackson’s title reign was brief. Despite his outstanding skillset, Jackson would have the title ripped from him in a decision loss to an unlikely opponent.
Jackson Loses Title, Gets Weird
Jackson spent seven more years in the UFC after his debut. He defended his title once before losing it to Forrest Griffin in an upset at UFC 86. Griffin had earned a UFC contract on The Ultimate Fighter TV series, and many weren’t expecting him to be able to actually beat Jackson.
Jackson would later earn another title shot against Jon Jones at UFC 135 but lost in the fourth round by submission. After Jackson’s early success, he plateaued in the UFC. He was never able to regain the belt and spent his time taking on other top contenders. Jackson would end his MMA career in Bellator.
Jackson won the season 10 light heavyweight tournament in 2014. He would later bump to heavyweight and wrap up his career with a first-round TKO loss to Fedor Emelianenko in December 2019.
Jackson hasn’t been totally out of the combat sports picture since then. In a bizarre event, Jackson partnered with former UFC fighter Bob Sapp to compete in a two-on-two boxing match against Jon Nutt and a man named Woody. Sapp and Jackson won by third-round knockout.
Briggs Never Quite Broke Through at the Top
The separation between being one of the all-time greats and someone who slips through the cracks in history can all come down to timing. Shannon Briggs never captured one of the major world boxing championships, thanks to the other top heavyweight boxers he had to fight. Briggs earned his chance at a world championship in March 1998 when he fought Lennox Lewis.
Lewis, who would go on to be the last undisputed heavyweight champion to date, knocked out Briggs in the fifth round. Briggs had to find a way to build up to another championship spot. For years, Briggs stayed active and tried to seek out opponents who would provide him legitimacy for another title challenge.
Second Title Opportunity Not Much Better for Briggs
After 12 years of waiting, Briggs followed up a first-round TKO win over Rob Calloway with another chance to fight for the WBC championship. Briggs then took on Vitali Klitschko in Germany in October 2010. While Briggs couldn’t remove the title from Klitschko, he lost a unanimous decision.
Briggs took four years off following the Klitschko fight. He fought nine more times in his career and won all nine bouts. Briggs ended up finishing his career with a record of 60-6. Briggs won 53 of his fights by knockout.
Colorful Fighters Will Help Sell Fight
Jackson and Briggs have both been involved with more than their primary sports. Both had roles in film and TV projects. Jackson’s most famous role came when he played B.A. Baracus in the “A-Team” movie.
Briggs and Jackson should be able to promote the event well. One thing that will make the action interesting is that Jackson hasn’t had any experience with boxing strictly. Briggs has primarily spent all of his combat sports career with boxing. He does, however, have one professional kickboxing match under his belt.
Comparing the two men’s perspective resume shows that they both fought the top fighters of their generation. Both Jackson and Briggs had long careers. Having them join the boxing ring with each other will provide pleasant nostalgia for fight fans.
The latest boxing news online will show that many people will be interested in how this fight sells. Some of these matchups have ended up flopping at the box office. When these two men fight, how things go may determine if this is a one-off or if they will continue to try and box.
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By Dean McHugh