Middleweight Champion Claressa "T-Rex" Shields calls out the men

Claressa Shields v Christina Hammer

What a week this has been for Claressa "T-Rex" Shields. A week ago, she headlined on Showtime TV at Atlantic City, New Jersey against her bitter rival Christina Hammer. The middleweight match-up had on the line all four of the major belts in world boxing, three of which were already held by Shields. Whilst the German, Hammer held the other. It was billed as the biggest fight in women's boxing history.

Prior to the fight, pundits have seemingly split down the middle as to who would prevail. However, it was Shields, the two-time Olympic gold medallist, who romped home with ease - Hammer never really getting into the fight before losing widely on points to the American.

Since turning professional Shields has displayed not only winning form inside the ring but has shown that her ability to sell herself and her upcoming fights is right up there with the best of the male boxers. Some of her comments have caused dismay in many observers, perhaps not used to women talking in such an aggressive and assertive manner.

Shields' boorish behavior does seem to have had the desired effect though, leading to her headlining on Showtime and attracting many inquisitive eyes to the women's game. One is left to wonder about how much of what she says is for real and how much is purely for publicity purposes. For example, in her post-fight interview last Saturday she was full of praise for Hammer, affirming how strong her opponent had been and how hurtful her jab was.

This would lead one to believe that all the trash-talk and aggression we had seen before the fight was merely to bring in the more casual fans who would perhaps be otherwise unmoved by watching women's boxing.  

Claressa Shields v Christina Hammer

However, since her victory, which led to her becoming only the second undisputed champion in women's boxing at the moment, alongside Colombian-Norwegian world welterweight champion, Cecilia Braekhus, Shields has been at it again. The Detroit fighter is keen to be known as the GWOAT (greatest woman of all time).

But despite winning her two gold medals, Claressa is as yet only 9-0 in the pro game (2 kos). Considering that the aforementioned Braekhus has held three of her four championship belts at welterweight for nine years, and all four for almost five years, Shields has some way to go before she can even say she is the greatest woman of today.

Further bizarre comments were made by Shields this week when she suggested that she could beat some of the top male boxers of the day. She name-checked WBA welterweight champion, Keith Thurman, saying she believes she could "beat him up". She even said that on her day she could give former world middleweight champion Gennady Golovkin "a run for his money". 

Cecilia Braekhus v Aleksandra Magdziak-Lopes

These comments are certainly keeping Shields in the public eye, but frankly, they are quite ridiculous. The reality is that in her nine professional fights to date, she has not even scored a knockdown against any of those opponents. Does she seriously think that she could compete with some of the very best male boxers active today?

The physiological differences between male and female already dictate that the governing bodies in boxing only allow women to compete for their titles over 10 x 2-minute rounds rather than 12 x 3-minute rounds for the men. The safety aspect is paramount in the sport and this ruling is not going to change in the foreseeable future.

Shields is a very talented boxer and may, in time, become the greatest female in the history of the game. But she needs to settle down and defend her belts and forget about challenging the men. With these most recent comments, she is either being very clever or otherwise completely deluded. Only time will tell which of these it is.

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