(This story first appeared at BoxingJunkie.com.)
Claressa Shields might want to compete exclusively in mixed martial arts if she cares about challenges. No one in boxing can touch her.
Shields made previously unbeaten Marie-Eve Dicaire look as if she had no business in the ring with her, dominating almost every second of every round to win a shutout decision in a 10-round junior middleweight bout Friday in her hometown of Flint, Mich.
In the process, the two-time Olympic champion also became the first fighter of either gender to become undisputed champion in two divisions in the four-belt era.
Shields’ only disappointment was that she was unable to stop Dicaire, which can be attributed in part to the two-minute rounds forced upon women boxers and the Canadian’s reluctance to trade punches.
“I was trying for the knockout,” Shields said. “That’s what I wanted. And I almost had it a couple of times. … At the end of the day, I’m the new undisputed champion at 154 pounds – the first boxer to do it in history. And I did it here in Flint, Mich.”
Shields (11-0, 2 KOs) is no stranger to making history.
She became a three-division titleholder in 10 bouts, faster than any other fighter. And she made additional history before she stepped into the ring Friday, becoming the first woman to headline an all-woman pay-per-view card.
The fight itself was almost anticlimactic given Shields’ utter dominance.
Dicaire, who entered the fight as the IBF beltholder, had no desire to mix it up with Shields. And who could blame her? Every time she did, she was greeted with hard, accurate punches that won round after round for Shields.
And when Dicaire (17-1, 0 KOs) did let her hands go, she rarely found the target. One element of Shields’ game that might underrated is her defense.
Dicaire landed 31 of 263 punches thrown, which is an 11.8 percent connect rate, according to CompuBox. That’s a paltry average of 3.1 punches landed per round. Shields landed 128 or 409 (28.4 percent).
The only thing Dicaire did well was survive, which she did by holding incessantly and using rough tactics in close quarters. She gave herself almost no chance to win the fight.
Almost. Dicaire did pick up the pace in the final two rounds in a desperate attempt to get something done. However, even then, it was Shields’ who landed the cleaner, eye-catching shots.
The official scoring was no surprise: All three judges had it the same, a 100-90 shutout. Boxing Junkie also scored it 100-90.
Shields retained her WBC and WBO titles, took the IBF belt from Dicaire and captured the recently instituted WBA title.
“I’m just happy to be able to do it here,” Shields said. “I started boxing here at the Dort [Federal] Event Center when I was 11 years old. Never in a million years did I think I’d be on pay-per-view and then be undisputed twice and just be one of the biggest boxing stars in the world.
“I just wanted to win an Olympic gold medal, that’s all I wanted. I won two of them. I got, I think, 12 championships now. I’m undisputed twice. It’s weird to say undisputed twice. It’s weird.”
Shields, who recently signed with the Professional Fighters League, has said she plans to alternately box and compete in mixed martial arts. She said after the fight Friday that she expects to make her debut in the middle of June, although that evidently hasn’t been finalized.
That doesn’t leave her much time to enjoy her victory.
“My birthday is March 17,” said Shields, who turns 26. “Then it’s right back to the gym.”