Boxing champ Shannon “The Cannon” Briggs motivates St. Martin’s at district opener

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When St. Martin’s (1-2) hosts Crescent City Friday night at 7 p.m. at Tony Porter Field in the 9-1A opener for both teams, the Saints will not only celebrate Homecoming but the arrival of inspiring speaker as well.

Coming off of his first career win, a 24-6 victory over Ben Franklin, first-year head coach Lester Ricard is encouraged by the progress he has seen.

“Our boys have worked hard all summer and progressed well during a challenging pre-district schedule,” Ricard said.

Seeking to seize the momentum created by the victory and to inspire his players for Homecoming, the former Amite and Tulane standout Ricard has turned to a former star in the ring to motivate his team.

Ricard has called upon a friend and boxing world underdog, Shannon “The Cannon” Briggs, to come in and speak with his team prior to the game.

briggs-ibragimowBriggs is a two-time WBO Heavyweight Champion with 51 wins, 45 by knockout and notable wins over George Foreman and Ray Mercer. He is also known for his roles in the recent blockbuster movies, Bad Boys II and Transporter II. He is however most recently remembered for his bout in 2010, at age 39, when he met Vitali Klitschko for the WBC Heavyweight Title.

Briggs entered the ring on October 16, 2010 with a torn bicep and virtually fought all 12 rounds with only his left arm. The fight ended in a decision in favor of Klitschko and Briggs was left with a broken orbital fracture, broken nose and burst eardrum.

Although Briggs lost the fight, his “Never Quit” mantra inspired over a half million views of the bout and an outpouring of support in person and on the internet for the former Champion. In keeping with his Never Quit approach to life in and out of the ring, Briggs continues to train with his sights set on a possible shot at the title once again.

In addition to his training regimen, Briggs is also an advocate to the homeless and to troubled youth. He speaks to young people of his journey from the streets of New York to the title in the Ring and how he never gives up. Briggs will be talking to the Class 1A Saints on Friday precisely about that.

“This team has a winning attitude,” Ricard said. “They work hard all week and lay it all out on the field every Friday night. They never quit, are always looking to improve and fight for every yard that they earn. These guys are a lot like Shannon, underdogs, never expected to win or make it to that shot at the title, and they never quit. We, as a team, have adopted Briggs’ catch phrase, ‘Let’s Go Champ’ and the attitude that goes along with it.”

Crescent City (0-2) enjoyed an off week last weekend following a tough 12-8 loss to Ascension Christian.

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