Marie-Eve Dicaire hasn’t knocked out a single opponent in 17 professional fights.
The IBF junior middleweight champion is undefeated, though, and has successfully defended her title three times. The 34-year-old Quebec native also is the first southpaw Claressa Shields has agreed to fight since she advanced to 10-round championship matches 3½ years ago.
Dmitriy Salita, Shields’ promoter, believes Dicaire’s style could complicate their 154-pound title unification fight Friday night in Flint, Michigan, Shields’ hometown. Oddsmakers have installed Shields as a 10-1 favorite, but Salita anticipates a more competitive fight than that for the two-time Olympic gold medalist.
“This may be one of Claressa’s toughest fights,” Salita told BoxingScene.com. “Marie Dicaire moves around really well, she has long arms, and she’s a big girl for the weight. And you talk about a fighter with determination. She signed a contract [early last spring], when the fight was supposed to originally happen [last May 9]. And she had so many opportunities to legally pull out and not do the fight, but she didn’t. She stayed with it up until the very end.
“And there were variations to the deal, so I’ve gotta commend her and Yvon Michel, her promoter, on really wanting to make this event happen. I would say her mental state going into the fight is very good, and she’s a dangerous fighter. She’s very skilled and I think, stylistically, will present Claressa challenges that Claressa has never dealt with before.”
Salita still anticipates that the 25-year-old Shields will become a fully unified champion in a third weight class, just 11 fights into her pro career. Shields (10-0, 2 KOs) and Dicaire (17-0, 0 KOs) will fight for Shields’ WBC and WBO, Dicaire’s IBF and the vacant WBA “super” 154-pound crowns.
“I was in training camp with Claressa last week, and she’s extremely sharp,” Salita said. “So, I think it’s gonna be guns blazing, maybe skill-wise, the best women’s fight of all time. Because we have two really world-class athletes, in tip-top shape, knowing that the performance they put on is not only for themselves, but for the sport of women’s boxing and really for women’s sports and women’s progression. I think they’re both focused on doing the best they can to put on a great show and a great fight for the fans.”
Shields-Dicaire will headline an all-women’s pay-per-view show Friday night from Dort Federal Credit Union Event Center ($29.99; 9 p.m. EST). The five-fight card can be purchased by visiting www.FITE.tv or through most major cable and satellite providers.
Keith Idec is a senior writer/columnist for BoxingScene.com. He can be reached on Twitter @Idecboxing.