Undefeated undisputed women’s middleweight Claressa Shields (14-0, 2 KOs) put on a masterclass performance beating voluntary challenger Maricela Cornejo (16-6, 6 KOs) by a terribly one-sided ten-round unanimous decision on Saturday night at the Little Caesars Arena in Detroit, Michigan.
Cornejo was in survival mode the entire 10 round contest, circling and trying to keep from getting clubbed by Claressa’s wide hooks. In each round, Shields landed huge shots that would snap the head back of Cornejo. The scores: 100-89, 100-90, 100-90
Surprisingly, Cornejo took the punches well and continued moving around the ring to foil Shield’s attempts at knocking her out. In the fourth round, Cornejo connected with a nice right hand that caught Shields cleanly while she was throwing a punch.
That was easily the best punch of the fight for Cornejo, as she threw mostly jabs and fought off her back foot, which reduced the power of her punches.
Shields tried hard to score a knockout over the 36-year-old Cornejo, loading up on looping power shots in the early rounds. However, the accuracy of Shields’ shots was way off, as she missed repeatedly due to her loading up so much.
In the seventh round, Shields went for broke, attacking Cornejo in an all out blitz, hitting her to the head and body, putting everything she had in each punch. Somehow, Cornejo made it out of the ring without going down because she took a lot of punishment from Shields.
Shields took a breather in the eighth, boxing smart behind her jab and showing Olympic talent. Claressa couldn’t miss her shots in the rounds, and the reason why is that she stopped loading up as much.
In the 20 seconds of the round, Shields went after Cornejo, trapping her against the ropes and landing several huge punches that snapped her head back.
Shields looked tired in rounds nine and ten, losing some steam on her shots and enabling Cornejo to survive. She still landed some nice shots on Cornejo, but not as many as she’d connected with earlier when she was still fresh.
All in all, it was a good performance from Shields against an opponent that was completely out of her class talent-wise.
It’s a moral victory for Cornejo that she was able to survive the full 10 rounds without going down once or getting knocked down. That’s more of an indication of Shields not being a huge puncher and having stamina issues. The way Shields fought tonight, she was more of an eight round fighter than a ten-rounder.
Boxing fans want to see Shields give Savannah Marshall a rematch. That’s the fight that they want to see, but it’s fair to say that Shields didn’t enjoy fighting the heavy-handed Marshall because she got hit with some big shots in her recent win over the British fighter. Even though Shields won, Marshall landed some punches that would have knocked out most in the division.