Claressa Shields may call herself the Greatest Woman Of All Time, but she has no problem conceding that the biggest fight in women’s boxing currently does not include her participation.
The three-weight class champion and two-time Olympic gold medalist recently said that her potential fight with Savannah Marshall, presumably the only fighter that has ever defeated her in the amateurs or in the professional ranks, is nowhere near the magnitude as the lightweight unification bout between Amanda Serrano and Katie Taylor.
Taylor-Serrano is being planned for April at Madison Square Garden in New York City, as previously reported by BoxingScene.com.
Shields (11-0, 2 KOs), who currently owns the IBF, WBA, and WBC middleweight titles, signed a deal with the UK network Sky last year, and part of that arrangement includes a showdown with Marshall at some point later this year. The two have traded plenty of words over the years and anticipation for their bout has been ramping up ever since Shields entered the Sky deal. But Shields thinks the media has hyped up the grudge match more than it deserves. Part of her thinking is that Marshall has nowhere near the level of credentials to be part of a legacy-defining fight, the way Taylor and Serrano both do.
“Amanda Serrano versus Katie Taylor,” Shields said in response to a question about the biggest fight in women’s boxing during a press conference in Las Vegas. “People keep asking me why I say that. Once again, I ain’t no hater. Y’all giving Savannah Marshall too much credit. She’s a one-time champion. One. And she fought for my vacant belt."
Shields' comments may strike some as surprising given her feud with Jake Paul, who is close friends and business partners with Serrano and is working with Taylor's promoter, Eddie Hearn, to make Taylor-Serrano a reality.
“See, I won all these belts at 160 already," Shields said. "I beat Christina Hammer for these belts. I had to vacate these belts to become undisputed at 154. Or they wouldn’t let me become undisputed and I wouldn’t be in the Guinness world record in 2022. I wanted to make history, so I vacated.
"[Marshall] fought for this [WBO] belt [against Hannah Rankin ], she won it. She’s a one-time champion. I’m a 12-time champion. That’s why I’m saying Amanda Serrano-Katie Taylor is bigger. She’s a seven-time division world champion, Amanda Serrano, versus two-time Olympic gold medalist Katie Taylor, two-time division world champion Katie Taylor, undisputed world champion Katie Taylor.”
The 26-year-old Shields is preparing for a fight against undefeated Slovenian southpaw Ema Kozin (21-0-1, 11 KOs) at the Motorpoint Arena in Cardiff, Wales on Feb. 5 on the Chris Eubank-Liam Williams undercard. In October, she suffered a defeat in her second MMA debut, getting outpointed by Abigail Montes.
Hartlepool, England's Marshall (11-0, 9 KOs) last fought in October, a second-round knockout of Lolita Muzeya.
Shields, a native of Flint, Michigan, says her loss to Marshall in the amateurs had to do with the fact that she was fighting outside the United States for the first time.
“If you look at those stats, when you look at me versus Savannah Marshall, I just feel like I have the achievements,” Shields said. “Marshall don't have them. All she got is bark. She is from the UK, she fought in the amateurs. That’s all she’s got.
“The thing is, she did beat me. But she beat me when I was 17. It was my first time ever traveling outside the country. And, she barely won! That’s the thing. Everybody giving her too much credit.”
“Right now, Amanda Serrano versus Katie Taylor is bigger than Savannah Marshall versus me,” Shields continued. “I just feel like Savannah Marshall hasn’t really earned it. She’s been fighting last minute replacements and getting big knockouts – congrats.”
“Katie has been taking big challenges in Delfine Persoon, Jessica McCaskill. She’s fighting some tough fights. Here you have Marshall fighting girls that come from 154 and 147, at week’s notice, and knocking them out. Congrats, but she ain't accomplished nothing.”