Women's Sport: Claressa Shields says she'd win a fight with Laila Ali

Claressa Shields has said she would be open to facing former champion Laila Ali if she came out of retirement.

Shields, the WBC and WBO light-middleweight champion, told the BBC that she would win if she did face the 42-year-old daughter of Muhammed Ali.

Ali had an unbeaten professional record, winning all 24 of her fights and the WBC, WIBA, IWBF and IBA super-middleweight belts. She retired in 2007.

Talk of a super-fight between the two women first came up in recent interviews and now, Shields, 24, said to BBC Sport: “It started when they asked her if she’d ever come out of retirement, and she said no because no girl is good enough to give her a challenge. Like it would be too easy for her.

“That was disrespectful to me. If you think I’m easy for you to just come out of retirement and just beat me, then you’re strangely mistaken.”

Shields also has an unbeaten professional record winning all ten of her fights, becoming the fastest boxer ever to win titles in different three weight classes. She is a two-time Olympic champion. 

Ultimately Shields said that she thinks Ali would underestimate her and that boxing has changed since Ali retired: “She fought soccer moms. I’ve fought former world champions. I compared my first 10 fights with her last 10 and if you look at their records you will see that she fought against people with majority losses.

Shields added: “She’s going to come in thinking that because she’s bigger, and she’s Muhammad Ali’s daughter, and she was 24-0 back in the day, that the skill level of fighters is still the same as back then.”

One detail that has made headlines is the money it would take to make the fight happen with Ali claiming $5 million would be enough to tempt her to return to the sport. Shields is on board with this: “The money is there.

“She may have all that stuff going on but she isn’t making $10m in 20 minutes, that’s for sure. Or five. The winner gets $10m, that’ll be me. She’ll get five.”

Shields also told the broadcaster she would like to venture into MMA: “I just have a hunger to be great. I want to be the best combat woman athlete ever. And that’s being a great boxer and being a great fighter in MMA.”

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