“You play to win the game!” That’s what we were told, emphatically. Sometimes, though, it’s not just about the win. Those with a self-confidence that’s through the roof have a different set of parameters. For them it’s also about how. Did I show character? Was my mettle tested? What was the impression left? Will they pay to see me again? Did I look good doing it? Those are the boxes that need a passing grade of at least an A, especially when you expect to get the win. When pugilist Clarissa Shields peacock-strutted down to the ring to a capacity crowd inside the Adrian Phillips Theater at the Boardwalk Hall in Atlantic City, N.J., and with millions watching the Showtime “Boxing: Special Edition” triple header which aired live this past Saturday, April 13, her swagger indicated that leaving victorious was beyond doubt. What was surprising was that her opponent wasn’t from the bum of the month club, tomato-can variety. Her opponent was the undefeated (24-0, 11 Knockouts) WBO Middleweight Champion Christina Hammer. Shields herself was bringing to the table an 8-0, 2 KO record along with the IBF, WBC and WBA Championship belts. Two of the best boxers in the game getting together for a winner-take-all affair.
By nights end, Shields was crowned the undisputed middleweight champion of the world. The 24-year-old Flint, Mich. native delivered the best performance of her career, with a virtuoso unanimous decision over Germany’s Hammer. During her victory, Shields took all of her opponent’s strengths and did them better. Her defense, boxing acumen and jab were all a step ahead. Hammer, on the other hand, had no answer for the speed and power of Shields. It was arguably the most significant women’s boxing match in history. The judges scored the fight 98-92 and 98-91 twice. The two-time Olympic gold-medalist Shields now joins Terrence Crawford, Jermain Taylor, Bernard Hopkins, Oleksandr Usyk and women’s welterweight Cecilia Braekhus as the only fighters to have unified all four major world titles in any weight class.
Speaking to “Hall of Fame” analyst Steve Farhood after the final bell, the outspoken and emotional Shields held nothing back. “She didn’t win a single round. I almost knocked her out. The ref should have stopped it. Her eyes were rolling in her head and she held a lot. They gotta give me my credit.” She continued by laying groundwork for her next few fights. “Women’s boxing, we’re on fire. I cannot wait to see the next super fight. Give me Cecilia Braekhus at 154 pounds. That’s who I want next. Either her or Savannah Marshall.”
Shields has been referring to herself as the GWOAT, meaning the Greatest Woman Of All Time. Slow down sis. At the tender age of 24, you’re still adding chapters to the book. Let time and history dictate where you fall in terms of history. Granted at your age and your accomplishments, you make a strong case. Let’s strap in for the ride.
Over and out. Holla next week. Til then, enjoy the nightlife.