Shannon Briggs to returning David Haye: ‘You’ve been hiding from me. I know I can beat you’

David Haye was berated by Shannon Briggs as a press conference to announce the Briton’s next fight exploded into life with a heated verbal exchange between the former heavyweight champions.
Shannon Briggs to returning David Haye: ‘You’ve been hiding from me. I know I can beat you’

Shortly after unknown Kosovan Arnold Gjergjaj was revealed as Haye’s opponent in the second fight of his comeback at The O2 on May 21, Briggs arrived complete with entourage to demand a showdown.

The 44-year-old American, who was stopped in five rounds by Lennox Lewis in 1998, shouted “who are you?” at the non-English speaking Gjergjaj before turning his attention towards Haye.

“Tell everyone why you’re fighting him, who we’ve never heard of, instead of me? We need an answer. Let’s go champ,” said Briggs.

Asked by Haye if he would pass a brain scan, in reference to being hospitalised following a brutal points defeat to Vitali Klitschko six years ago, Briggs replied: “Any time, any day. I’m in the best shape of my life.

“Haye’s a chump. You’ve been hiding from me. I know I can beat you. Tell your country why you’re fighting him and not me. He’s scared of me.

“Don’t believe the hype, London, he’s a fraud. Everyone should ask for a refund right now. I came to London to fight. Let’s go champ.”

Once the colourful Briggs departed, with the words “have a nice day London”, Haye addressed the possibility of meeting a fighter who has posted eight wins in low-key shows since falling to Klitschko. “If he can pass his medical and he wants to fight on the undercard so we can see what he’s got, then we can talk about it,” said Haye.

“It’s all well and good him screaming and shouting, but I don’t even know if he can get a licence in this country. If he can, then we’ll take about it if the fans want to see it.”

Briggs’ intervention enlivened an underwhelming announcement that Gjergjaj would provide the next obstacle as Haye continues his return after a three-and-a-half year absence that was partly the result of a career-threatening shoulder injury.

Gjergjaj — nicknamed ‘The Cobra’ — has won all 29 of his contests, but only one of those has been staged outside Switzerland, where the 31-year-old is a resident, and that was in Hungary.

It is a hard sell and seemingly a step backwards after January’s first-round stoppage of Mark de Mori, who was at least ranked inside the world’s top 10.

Haye defended his choice of adversary. “A lot of the guys in the top 10 want ridiculous money and there’s no budget to get these guys,” said Haye, whose ultimate goal is to face Anthony Joshua or Tyson Fury.

“They say they want to fight you, but then when you speak to them they give you a totally unrealistic number.

“Technically, right now, there is no TV money to pay these guys to come over and fight. A lot of guys know they will get knocked out and want a big cash-out pay day.”

Haye revealed that 10% of ticket sales from the fight will be donated to Nick Blackwell, 25, who has been in an induced coma since collapsing at the end of Saturday’s British middleweight title defeat by Chris Eubank Jnr.

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