Claressa Shields realizes that fights against British 154-pound champions Terri Harper or Natasha Jonas are more realistic, yet she hasn’t entirely given up on the showdown she wants most.
“If Katie could ever get any bigger,” Shields told BoxingScene.com, “I think that’s the dream fight, me and Katie at 147.”
By Katie, of course, Shields referred to undisputed women’s lightweight champion Katie Taylor. Shields has an enormous amount of respect for Taylor, who would have to move up two weight classes to face Shields at the welterweight limit, which would require Shields to drop down two divisions.
Respective rematches versus Savannah Marshall and Amanda Serrano would also be big fights for Shields and Taylor, but the 27-year-old Shields considers a battle of unbeaten multi-division champions between her and Taylor to be “the best fight in boxing.” Ireland’s Taylor (21-0, 6 KOs) will defend her IBF, WBA, WBC and WBO 135-pound championships against Argentina’s Karen Elizabeth Carabajal (19-0, 2 KOs) on Saturday night at OVO Arena Wembley in London.
“I believe that Katie is a true competitor,” said Shields, who began her career at the super middleweight limit of 168 pounds. “I know that size matters in boxing. But also, when you have skills, when it’s skills versus skills, size really don’t matter and punching power doesn’t matter. I think it'd be a great chess match between me and her – who’s faster, who has the better game plan, who has the better IQ.”
Shields admitted, though, that she isn’t certain that the 36-year-old Taylor would move up to 147 pounds, though Shields also would make a significant sacrifice by getting down to that weight for the first time as a professional prizefighter. Taylor unanimously out-pointed Greece’s Christina Linardatou (then 12-1) in her only 140-pound bout to win the WBO junior welterweight title in November 2019 at Manchester Arena in Manchester, England.
“I don’t know if she would ever fancy it because I’ve heard before she can barely [get up] to 140, so she’s definitely not going to 147,” Shields said. “But that would definitely be the biggest fight in boxing – not just women’s boxing, but boxing period.”
Shields (13-0, 2 KOs), a three-division champion from Flint, Michigan, is fresh off avenging her only loss in a boxing ring. The two-time Olympic gold medalist withstood the power of England’s Marshall (12-1, 10 KOs) and out-pointed her rival unanimously in their 10-round middleweight championship match October 15 at a sold-out O2 Arena in London.
Taylor, meanwhile, is listed by most sportsbooks as at least a 25-1 favorite over the comparatively untested Carabajal. DAZN will stream Taylor-Carabajal worldwide as the main event of an eight-bout card Saturday (7 p.m. BST; 2 p.m. ET).
Keith Idec is a senior writer/columnist for BoxingScene.com. He can be reached on Twitter @Idecboxing.