One was a New York transplant, the other Miami born and raised.
Together, Shannon Briggs and Randall Bailey became two of South Florida’s top fighters during their coinciding boxing careers.
Local fight cards from the mid 1990s through the late 2000s often featured Briggs and Bailey as headliners. Briggs and Bailey also reached the sport’s pinnacle by winning world championships.
Briggs’ and Bailey’s ring accomplishments will be celebrated Sunday in St. Petersburg. They head the 2022 class that will be inducted into the Florida Boxing Hall of Fame.
A Pembroke Pines resident, Briggs moved to South Florida early in a career that began in 1992. Briggs gradually ascended in the heavyweight rankings and his victory over former champion George Foreman landed him a title shot against Lennox Lewis in 1998.
Although Lewis retained his title, Briggs remained a top contender and earned another title shot against Sergey Liakhovich eight years later.
Behind on all three scorecards, Briggs mounted a final round flurry, scoring a technical knockout win.
Briggs lost the title in his first defense but for a seven-year period he was the last US-born fighter linked to the heavyweight crown until Deontay Wilder won his belt in 2014. After his final bout in 2016, Briggs retired with a 60- 6-1 record and 53 knockouts.
Local boxing fans became aware of Bailey during his successful amateur career. Once he turned professional in 1996, Bailey immediately earned plaudits for his power. In fact, Bailey won his first 16 professional bouts by knockout.
The run of stoppages rewarded Bailey with a junior-welterweight title opportunity against champion Carlos Gonzalez at Miami Jai Alai Fronton in May 1999. Barely breaking a sweat, Bailey scored one of the impressive knockout victories in local boxing history. A left hook to the chin finished Gonzalez in 41 seconds.
Bailey made two successful defenses before losing his belt against Ener Julio the following year at AmericanAirlines Arena.
For the rest of the decade, Bailey remained a highly-ranked contender in the 140-pound class and won a sanctioning body second-tier belt.
Bailey eventually moved to the 147-pound welterweight class and his knockout pedigree again earned him another title.
In June 2012, Bailey trailed on the scorecards against Mike Jones when they fought for a vacant welterweight championship. But Bailey mounted a late flurry and knocked out Jones in 11 rounds.
Bailey continued fighting until 2016, retiring with a 46-9 record and 39 knockouts.
In addition to Briggs and Bailey, other members of the South Florida boxing community will be part of the new Hall of Fame class. They include promoter Richard Dobal, trainer Armando Fernandez and media representative Claudia Trejos.
The induction ceremony will culminate three days of events at the Marriott St. Petersburg/Clearwater Hotel. For information, visit the Hall of Fame website at www.floridaboxinghalloffame.com.