The self-styled ‘GWOAT’, Claressa Shields can’t be accused of lacking confidence and a deep-rooted faith in her fighting abilities.
Ahead of her historic attempt to become a four-belt undisputed champion in a second weight class against IBF 154lbs title holder Marie Eve Dicaire at the Dort Federal Event Center in Flint, Michigan, on Friday, Shields has declared herself the second greatest fighter of all-time behind the original ‘Greatest’ Muhammad Ali.
Her achievements are considerable. A double Olympic Gold medallist, two-time World Amateur champion and three-weight world pro champion, the Flint, Michigan star has only lost once since lacing gloves, a points decision to Savannah Marshall in the 2012 World Amateur championships when she was still a teenager.
Shields, remarkably only 25, ended her amateur career with a reported 77-1, 18 KOs slate and currently stands at 10-0, 2 KOs as a pro. Her resume is undoubtedly phenomenal though her lack of a filter and relatable humility may not be to everyone’s taste.
Currently the WBC, WBA and IBF middleweight champion (old rival Marshall holds the WBO crown) and reigning WBC and WBO title-holder at 154lbs, Shields will attempt to add the IBF and vacant WBA super-welterweight titles to her considerable belt collection against unbeaten Canadian Dicaire (17-0, 0 KOs) on Friday. Never one to sell herself short, Shields firmly believes she is the second greatest pugilist of all-time.
“I feel like people underestimate me when I speak about how great I am. But if I didn’t say how great I am, no one in this room would have ever called me great because they just don’t recognise it. Only the greats know that they’re great,” said Shields at the final press conference before her latest title bid.
“Like Muhammad Ali. Nobody called him the greatest of all time. They actually called him the ‘Louisville Lip’ because he talked too much. If he had never said he was the greatest of all time, he would have never been considered the greatest of all time. No matter what boxer comes along, nobody can get in front of Muhammad Ali. That’s how I feel about myself.
“Muhammad Ali is the greatest of all time and Claressa Shields is second. I am the greatest woman of all-time and 98% of men in the world can’t beat me.”