In boxing, you all the time wish to see the very best combating the very best. Sadly, showdowns between boxing’s elite are few and much between. After they do occur, they typically find yourself producing magical moments for followers of the candy science.
We noticed that in September when Canelo Alvarez and Gennady Golovkin stood toe-to-toe for 36 minutes with the Mexican star successful a slim resolution to develop into the unified middleweight champion. Final Saturday night time, WBC heavyweight titleholder Deontay Wilder and lineal champion Tyson Fury battled to an exhilarating cut up attract arguably the very best heavyweight title showdown in america in over 25 years.
This Saturday night time, the ladies will take heart stage as undisputed welterweight champion Cecilia Braekhus and unified middleweight champion Claressa Shields shall be in motion on the identical present, however in separate fights. Braekhus headlines towards Aleksandra Magdziak-Lopes whereas Shields takes on Femke Hermans (10:20 p.m. ET, HBO).
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Three weeks in the past, Shields simply dispatched Hannah Rankin by way of unanimous resolution. Two days later, it was revealed Shields could be competing on the ultimate HBO Boxing card. There was an assumption by many who having Braekhus and Shields on the identical card indicated battle between the highest two ladies’s fighters on the planet was on the horizon.
With out query, a Braekhus-Shields conflict could be one of many greatest fights within the historical past of girls’s boxing.
Braekhus (34-Zero, 9 KOs) is considered the consensus No. 1-ranked ladies’s pound-for-pound fighter on the planet. The native of Norway grew to become the WBA and WBC welterweight champion in her 11th combat in March 2009. She added the WBO belt in Might 2010 and the IBF strap in September 2014.
Shields (7-Zero, two KOs) grew to become the primary boxer in American historical past to win consecutive Olympic gold medals, on the 2012 and 2016 Summer time Video games. In her fourth professional combat, Shields captured the WBC and inaugural IBF feminine tremendous middleweight titles. Final June, the Flint, Mich., native received the vacant WBA and inaugural IBF feminine middleweight titles.
The 2 look like on a collision course and there shall be traces drawn within the sand once they try and outdo each other Saturday.
“Folks must know I’m the No. 1 ladies’s pound-for-pound fighter on the planet,” Braekhus instructed Sporting Information. “It is unanimous all throughout the game and all of the media folks. That’s fairly distinctive and one of many the explanation why I am headlining this card on HBO. The opposite motive is my file. You go take a look at my file and you will note I’ve had 34 fights and yow will discover world champions, high pound-for-pound fighters and lots of the highest names. I do know I am new to the American viewers, however I’ve been round for a really very long time.”
Shields understands the traces the boxing public try to attract between her and Braekus. She needs to make it clear to everybody that she is on the high of the meals chain and would prefer to show it to Braekhus. However Shields says she has some unfinished enterprise at 160 kilos earlier than that combat can happen.
“It’s a combat I need sooner or later,” Shields admitted to SN. “I believe it’s nice that the highest pound-for-pound fighters on the planet are combating on the identical card. Individuals are drawing their very own traces. Proper now, I’m targeted on 160 kilos. I wish to beat Christina Hammer and develop into the undisputed middleweight champion of the world. I do wish to face Cecilia, however it’s not going to occur subsequent. I shall be combating Christina Hammer within the first quarter of subsequent yr.”
Shields added: “In fact, persons are going to match us. I simply hope once they evaluate us, they are going to be saying that they may agree extra with me saying I’m the best ladies’s fighter of all time. I really feel like she is a good fighter, however I really feel like my model is best.”
When the subject of combating Shields was introduced up, Braekhus’ voice perked up. She is aware of how the large it could possibly be, however she additionally needs to taper expectations in the interim as there are obstacles.
“It’s exhausting to say proper now as a result of she is 2 weight divisions above me and that’s so much,” Braekhus mentioned. “She’s going to be going through Christina Hammer subsequent yr. I believe it is too early to begin discussing (however) me and Claressa combating could be large.”
The largest concern is the burden at which that the combat would happen. Braekhus competes two weight courses decrease than Shields. The one real looking choices could be for the showdown to be at a catchweight of 152 kilos — as we noticed for Saul “Canelo” Alvarez vs. Floyd Mayweather in September 2013 — or at 154 kilos.
Shields did not hesitate to recommend a weight at which that the combat may happen. Braekhus would not reveal whether or not she could be prepared to maneuver up, however she made it clear that Shields must transfer down.
“One (hundred) fifty-four (kilos),” Shields emphatically mentioned. “Folks assume I am this belt snatcher, however I don’t need the 147-pound belts. That’s not what I need. She looks like she’s No. 1 pound-for-pound and I say that I’m No. 1 pound-for-pound. And we’re shut sufficient in weight that we must always meet in a combat and let the fighters resolve that. I don’t need the belts. I don’t consider I could make 147 regardless that my nutritionist believes I can. I consider 154 is the bottom I can go and I might gladly field Cecilia there.”
“She would undoubtedly want to maneuver down a bit,” Braekhus mentioned.
The winner between Braekhus and Shields would little doubt be the very best on the planet and arguably the best ladies’s fighter of all time.
Laila Ali and Ann Wolfe have each been considered the best ladies’s fighters in boxing historical past. Sadly, they by no means confronted one another within the squared circle to settle it.
Braekhus and Shields have the chance to show it within the close to future. Ought to each of them proceed their successful methods, a conflict appears inevitable so long as they will agree upon a weight class.
Hopefully, Braekhus and Shields do what Ali and Wolfe by no means did.