Laila Ali wants to step in the ring with Claressa Shields if the money is right.
Appearing on Friday’s episode of ESPN’s First Take, Ali stated she’d consider coming out of retirement.
“Well, I will tell you this: I love boxing I always have and boxing has inspired my Laila Ali lifestyle brand,” she said.
“I have been outside the boxing gym, but I have been in the gym ever since I left I got nutrition products, spice blends. I am all about health and wellness I’m very healthy and have I been sitting around thinking about boxing no, but lately, there has been a little chatter.”
When pressed by Max Kellerman if in fact she was referring to Claressa Shields, Ali put all of her cards on the table. “Yes, which is amazing,” said Ali.
“And I love that because we want to see women grow and continue to inspire other people, right? And she has been calling me out, and she has taken offense to some things that I have said in the past that had nothing to do with her. And people have asked 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 and multiple streams of income I don’t need to do it and I have to want to do it.”
Show host Stephen A. Smith indicated that Claressa Shields has a ‘mouth’ and asked Ali if she was motivated. Ali told Smith that she’s been fighting for thirteen years but that she’s open to the possibility of fighting Shields.
“I’m saying that there is definitely a possibility and I’m open to that possibility if the money is right,” said Ali.
Claressa Shields saw the clip and weighed in on Twitter by stating: “The tuned has changed mama Rolling on the floor laughing you and I know the money is there.
Shields concluded her tweet by stating: “Let’s make it happen.”
Shields has been on top of the boxing world for a while. 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.
Last month, Shields beat Ivana Habazin in a unanimous decision to win the WBC and WBO junior middleweight championships.
For those keeping score at home: Shields, the self-proclaimed “GWOAT” became the fastest fighter in history – male or female – to win world championships in three weight divisions.
Last month, Shields told me she wants to step into the ring with Ali with the winner getting $10 million and the loser getting $5 million.
Why she thinks Laila Ali 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 like Ali 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 month.
“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.”