Vitali Klitschko went into the fifth defence of his WBC heavyweight title against Shannon Briggs in 2010 with one of the most impressive records in the division having registered 40 wins from 42 fights, with 38 of those victories coming by stoppage and his two defeats a result of injuries.
There were increasingly loud calls for Klitschko to face Great Britain's David Haye, who had won the WBA strap a year earlier, but Briggs, a former WBO champion with 51 wins from 58 bouts, was the man who stood in the Ukrainian's path as he looked to make a statement after being taken into the championship rounds in his previous seven outings.
Briggs had been vocal in the build-up to the showdown at the O2 World Arena in Hamburg, telling the title holder that he had never prepared better for a fight, but just seconds after the first bell, the size of the job in hand for the 38-year-old was clear as Klitschko landed a huge right hand that drew a response from the crowd.
The American had shown his toughness throughout his 18-year career with just two stoppage losses in 58 fights, but as Klitschko landed at will, almost toying with his opponent, there was a feeling that this encounter wouldn't go the distance.
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Briggs managed a brief response in the fourth, pummelling Klitschko with a number of lefts to the body while he had his opponent hooked up, but Klitschko brushed them off with ease in a manner that would have discouraged the New York combatant as he attempted to win a world crown for a second time.
As the fight entered the middle rounds, Briggs's hands were beginning to drop, suggesting that he was struggling to cope with the pace being set by Klitschko, and that allowed the champion to deliver some more crushing blows to the American who wasn't throwing a whole lot back.
The one-way nature of the fight continued in the seventh and Klitschko was seconds away from bringing it to a halt when unleashing a flurry of punches that had Briggs out on his feet before the bell came to his aid, although referee Ian John-Lewis would have been justified in calling it off.
However, the British official opted against that ruling, with the punishment continuing in the eighth and ninth before Briggs spent the 10th taking heavy punch after heavy punch from Klitschko, but he refused to go down in an incredible show of bravery against the division's biggest puncher, who was relentless in his approach and ambition to add another stoppage to his glittering record.
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Briggs spent the concluding sessions receiving more sustained attacks from his opponent, who had long assured himself the decision with the judges, but Briggs cut a figure of a man whose pride was at stake and throughout the 12 rounds, he showed no signs of wanting to concede defeat.
When the final bell rang, Klitschko soon acknowledged the courage of Briggs before announcer Michael Buffer read out the scores of 120-107, 120-107 and 120-105, all in favour of 'Dr. Ironfist', who could now look forward to a potential bout with Haye in either Germany or England.
However, Brigg's bravery came at a cost as he was hospitalised and placed into intensive care for precautionary reasons with concussion, a broken nose, a fractured cheekbone and a torn biceps - injuries that contributed to Briggs spending the following three-and-a-half years away from the ring before returning in some low-key contests earlier in 2014.
Briggs has continued to state that he has returned to boxing to get a shot at Vitali's younger brother, Wladimir, and after a number of confrontations, that could come to fruition providing that the American can land a couple of significant wins and Wladimir doesn't retire from the sport.