Claressa Shields is running boxing right now. Last Friday, Shields won her fight in a unanimous decision over Ivana Habazin in Atlantic City, New Jersey, to win the WBC and WBO junior middleweight championships.
The self-proclaimed “GWOAT” became the fastest fighter in history – male or female – to win world championships in three weight divisions.
On a recent episode of Sway In The Morning, Laila Ali, daughter of the late legendary heavyweight champion Muhammad Ali, didn’t have the kindest things to say about Shields. “First of all, she could never beat me,” she told Sway Calloway.
“Let me get that really straight right now. Not simply because she’s not strong enough, because I would definitely knock her out, because she’s not talented enough.”
Ali didn’t end there. Nope. She said more: “You’re talented,” she said of Shields.
“You can box. You can throw those hard punches. But there’s a sweet science to boxing. The reason you have not been able to knock out the opponents that you have faced, I can totally see it.”
I asked Shields via text message: Why do you think she can’t kick your ass?
“Ain’t no thinking I know,” she told me.
“Her skills were not there. She may be undefeated but look at the girls she boxed against. Soccer moms. I’m no soccer mom. She would have my respect but she ducked Anne Wolfe and now she’s hating on me because I’m a better fighter than her.”
Shields then told me all she wants to do is step in the ring with Ali. “Loser gets $5 million,” she told me.
“And the winner gets $10 million. Make it happen!”
Claressa Shields has been vocal about growing women’s boxing. “I want to grow women’s boxing,” Shields told Showtime‘s Jim Gray after her fight last Friday. “I want to have equal pay, equal opportunity. I would love to share a card with Deontay Walter, Errol Spence. I just want to become a better fighter.”
For those keeping score at home: With a record of 10-0 with two knockouts, Claressa Shields won gold medals in the women’s middleweight division at the 2012 and 2016 Olympics. That made her the first American boxer—female or male—to win consecutive Olympic medals. Shields, 24, is currently ranked as the world’s best active female light middleweight by BoxRec.
Laila Ali, 42, is the eighth of Muhammad Ali‘s nine children. During her career, from which she retired undefeated, she held the WBC, WIBA, IWBF and IBA female super middleweight titles, and the IWBF light heavyweight title. Ali has a record of 24-0 and has 21 wins by knockout.