Shields: I Had To Learn How To Be A Pro

In all but two of Claressa Shields professional fights, the two-time Olympic gold medalist has gone the distance.

Shields has not stopped an opponent in her last five fights, which many have criticized the Flint native about. Addressing the press on Tuesday, Shields explained that it has more to do with the quality of her opponents and not the power of her punches.

“When you talking about getting knockouts,” Shields said, “and then being faced against the opponents that I’m faced with, if you would’ve gave me tomato cans to fight up on Showtime, I would have nine knockouts on Showtime. If you look at who I fought, Hanna Gabriels. Who she been knocked out by? OK. Then you talk about Tori Nelson – 17-0 when I fought against her. Who knocked her out? Nobody. I beat her. We talk about Christina Hammer, 24-0, 11 knockouts. Who beat her? She was undefeated. So, when people put the pressure, ‘Oh, you supposed to be knocking girls out,’ no I’m not. I’m supposed to go in there and beat ‘em.

“And technically, I woulda got the knockout on Christina Hammer, but she kept holding me. It’s not my job to be the ref. That’s the ref job. And that ref [Sparkle Lee] also apologized to me about not doing her job correctly. So, when you talk about getting knockouts, you’ve gotta put the facts in there and who I’ve been fighting. I was 3-0 fighting against a girl 15-6. What kind of athlete do you see doing that? So, when you talk about knockouts, no, I had to learn how to be a professional fighter.”

“Me and my coach have been working on me making sure that I place my punches, land ‘em and not just throw ‘em with speed,” Shields said of her work with trainer John David Jackson. “Because when I first turned pro, they was saying that I was throwing over 150 punches in two minutes. They was saying that if I was to be a male fighter and I was to box three minutes, I would be throwing over 125 punches [per round]. So, with that, we slowed the punch count down. We’re gonna aim our shots, we’re gonna take our time and now I’m just more comfortable without fighting in the headgear. In the Olympics, the women have to fight with headgear in the amateurs, when the boys don’t. So, I was never used to, first off, getting head-butted, getting elbowed, all that, without the headgear.

“So, now that I’ve learned that it will be a knockout. That’s why I got close to knocking out Hammer. And I’ve stung every girl that I’ve fought, every girl. … But if I was to box three minutes, you can add four or five more knockouts that I would have. We’ve only got two minutes to do work. So, with the two minutes, I go in there and do what I can. But all my fights have been dominant. I haven’t even had a split or a majority decision. So, knockouts don’t matter. What matter is a ‘W.’ But this fight, I’m gonna Deontay Wilder her for sure. Call me a bully now, because I’m about to f*ck her up.”

Even though Shields plans to channel the Bronze Bomber on Friday night in Atlantic City, her opponent Ivana Habazin has only been stopped once in her career, when she took a third-round TKO loss against Mikaela Lauren in April 2016.


Report: Boxing Scene

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