ATLANTIC CITY – Ivana Habazin has now gone 10 rounds apiece with Cecilia Braekhus and Claressa Shields.
The Croatian contender considers Braekhus the harder puncher and the better boxer overall. Shields wants a chance to show she’s better than Braekhus, but it doesn’t appear as if Braekhus is interested in facing the undefeated three-division champion at a weight higher than 147 pounds.
If Shields and Braekhus were to fight, particularly within the welterweight division in which Braekhus has been a champion for nearly 11 years, Habazin believes Braekhus would defeat Shields.
Habazin compared Braekhus and Shields after losing a one-sided, 10-round unanimous decision to Shields on Friday night at Ocean Resort Casino’s Ovation Hall.
“When I fought Cecilia, I was at the beginning [of my career],” Habazin said during the post-fight press conference. “I only trained four years, you know? So, right now I’m gonna give more credit to Cecilia, definitely. And I know that this [Shields-Braekhus] fight is not gonna happen, a hundred percent. But if they fought, for example, at 147, Cecilia definitely is gonna win this fight.”
The 24-year-old Shields (10-0, 2 KOs), a two-time Olympic gold medalist from Flint, Michigan, cannot squeeze down to the welterweight limit of 147 pounds to battle Braekhus for her IBF, WBA, WBC and WBO welterweight titles. Norway’s Braekhus (36-0, 9 KOs), who’s 38, doesn’t want to move up in weight to face a fighter who has won world titles at 168, 160 and 154 pounds.
Braekhus began her career as a junior welterweight in January 2007, but she has competed at welterweight for the past 11 years. She won the WBA and WBC welterweight titles in March 2009 and beat Habazin by unanimous decision in September 2014.
Habazin considers Braekhus the best fighter, pound-for-pound, in women’s boxing. She also thinks Ann Wolfe and Laila Ali would’ve beaten Shields, the self-professed “Greatest Woman Of All Time” and women’s boxing’s undisputed middleweight champion.
“For me, like I said, she’s not the GWOAT,” Habazin said. “Right now, she’s good. But if [she fought] Ann Wolfe, I’m sure she’s gonna beat her ass. You know? But like I said, [Shields is] constantly punching and this is what is her advantage.”
Shields dominated Habazin (20-4, 7 KOs) in their 10-round fight for the vacant WBC and WBO 154-pound titles. She knocked down Habazin with a body shot in the sixth round and won by wide distances on all three scorecards (100-89, 100-90, 99-89).
Keith Idec is a senior writer/columnist for BoxingScene.com. He can be reached on Twitter @Idecboxing.