One of the top female fighters of the early 2000’s, Laila Ali was a boxer ahead of her time. Claressa Shields is currently one of the best female fighters of the 2010’s, making history left and right. For years, the idea of those two facing off was just fantasy booking.
Now, a dream may end up becoming a reality.
The daughter of the late Muhammad Ali is considering coming out of retirement for a bout against the current the middleweight queen. Ali (24-0) is a former IBA, WIBA and WBC Super-Middleweight Champion.
Both Ali and Shields (10-0) have been trading barbs with one another on social media for years. Speaking on ESPN’s First Take prior to the rematch between Deontay Wilder and Tyson Fury, Ali discussed the potential of a Shields matchup. Being away from the sport for a while, a number of factors could result in her returning to the ring.
“She’s been calling me out,” Ali stated in regards to Shields. “She’s taken offense to some things I’ve said in the past that had nothing to do with her. And people are asking me: Would you come back? Well, I have to be inspired by the opponent. I have to be inspired by the purse, because I have multiple things going on, multiple streams of income. I don’t need to do it. I have to want to do it.”
Inspiration is key, especially for a fighter who hasn’t fought in 13 years. The 42-year-old started her career in 1999 and has 21 wins via knockout. Her last fight was a TKO win over Gwendolyn O’Neil in 2007. Ali retired before a match against Ann Wolfe came into fruition. She did face Christy Martin in 2003, beating her via fourth-round KO.
“I love boxing, I always have,” Ali continued. “Boxing has inspired by Laila Ali lifestyle brand. I’ve been outside of the boxing gym but in the gym ever since I left. I got nutrition products, I got spice blends. I’m all about health and wellness, so I’m very healthy. So, have I been sitting around thinking about boxing? No, but lately there’s been a lot of chatter.
Shields has been knocking on Ali’s door for years. Following a misunderstanding a few years back, Shields has been ramping up the chatter. The 24-year-old believes she will easily knock out Ali, no matter what people will say about the fight.
“When I beat her, they’re going to say that I fought an old Laila Ali,” Shields stated to TMZ Sports, via International Business Times. “They’re not going to say that I beat Laila Ali when she was at her best. But overall, the way she’s talking if she’s like she’s going to knock me out, please …my defense is too good for her.”
— ClaressaT-rexShields (@Claressashields) February 21, 2020
Mark Taffet, Shields’ manager, has since talked to Ali’s team about a fight that could land up to the millions in profit.
Shields recently beat Ivana Habazin back in January for the WBC and WBO Light-Middleweight Titles. Along with Ali, Shields is looking into bouts against Cecilia Braekhus and Katie Taylor. The latter might be busy with a bout against Amanda Serrano while Braekhus is waiting for her next fight.
Would do you think would win between Shields and Ali?