Shannon Briggs vs. George Foreman
1997-11-22 : George Foreman 260 lbs lost to Shannon Briggs 227 lbs by MD in round 12 of 12
- Location: Taj Majal Hotel & Casino, Atlantic City, New Jersey, USA
- Referee: Eddie Cotton
- Judge: Larry Layton 113-117
- Judge: Calvin Claxton 112-116
- Judge: Steve Weisfeld 114-114
- There was a crowd of 5,220.
- Foreman made $5 million. Briggs got $400,000.
- Foreman landed 284 of 388 punches. Briggs landed 223 of 494.
- Boxing traditionalists consider this fight as being for the Lineal World Heavyweight Championship ("the man who beat the man"). Briggs lost the lineal title four months later to Lennox Lewis.
- This was the last fight of Foreman's career. During his ten-year comeback, Foreman went 31-3 (26 KOs).
- Foreman's promoters, Irving Azoff and Jeff Wald, protested the decision, filing requests for an investigation with the New Jersey Athletic Control Board, the state Attorney General's office, Governor Christine Whitman and Senator John McCain of Arizona. McCain, an advocate of boxing reform, called for the New Jersey gaming commission to investigate the bout and "clear the air for the good of the sport." Azoff and Wald also asked the Securities and Exchange Commission to determine who held stock in Worldwide Entertainment, the promotional company of Mark Roberts, the manager of Briggs. They cited rumors that commissioner Larry Hazzard was a shareholder in Roberts' company.
- Wallace Matthews, boxing writer for the New York Post wrote, “Shannon Briggs beat George Foreman because Larry Hazzard wanted him to....nothing happens in a New Jersey boxing ring unless Larry Hazzard wants it to.” Azoff and Wald claimed that Hazzard had a "vendetta" against them since Foreman's fight with Lou Savarese the previous April. Reportedly, Hazzard had to be pulled off Azoff in the ring after the fight. According to Matthews, “to avoid similar unpleasantness, Hazzard just canceled the rules meeting - coincidentally, the one time when a fighter’s camp gets the chance to protest the choice of officials.”
- The New Jersey Division of Gaming Enforcement dismissed the complaint by Azoff and Wald. Division director Frank Catania said there was no merit to their claims. "They made a lot of allegations, but they can't substantiate any part of it," Cantania said. "Unless they can give me something more specific and in more detail, there's nothing left to look into."
- Hazzard acknowledged the widespread criticism of the decision in a 1998 interview. Referring to his selection of judges, Hazzard admitted that he "would've done it differently" if he had the opportunity to make the selection again. He explained that he had wanted to give the relatively inexperienced judges Larry Layton and Calvin Claxton "some exposure" by assigning them to work a high-profile fight. Hazzard said: "If I had it to do over again, forget it. I'd just wait [to give them exposure]....I guess it was one of those fights most people thought Foreman would win and a fight most people didn't think would be that difficult to score. And heavyweights are easier to score. This ain't gonna be a big deal. Boy, was it a big deal! Everyone thought Foreman had won."
- "Briggs Wins, Crowd Boos and Foreman Says He Likely Won't Box Again" by Timothy W. Smith - New York Times - Nov. 23, 1997
- "Foreman Promoters Launch Protest" by Steve Spinger - Los Angeles Times - November 30, 1997
- "Judgement Call" - Sports Illustrated - December 22, 1997
- "Boxing commissioner cleared of fix accusation in Foreman bout" - Associated Press - December 26, 1997
- "MY OPENING FAREWELL TO THE DIRTY BOULEVARD" - Cyber Boxing Zone