Claressa Shields-Savannah Marshall: “I Would Really Compare It To Sugar Ray Leonard versus Tommy Hearns”

By James Slater - 01/25/2022 - Comments

2022 could turn out to be the biggest year ever in the history of women’s boxing. We have the potential classic that is Katie Taylor versus Amanda Serrano, potentially set for April in New York, and this year should also see the grudge-match between Claressa Shields and Savannah Marshal take place. Both fights are big, and they will be big, if they go ahead as we hope they will; and both fights could be seen as 50-50 match-ups.

Shields, who claims to be the greatest female boxer of all-time and who has won so many titles to back up her boast, has only lost one boxing match in her life; this to Shields back in the amateur days. These two have seemingly been going back and forth on social media ever since. In February, Shields, 11-0(2) will have her UK debut when she will fight Ema Kozin in Cardiff, Wales. After this fight – which will see 26 year old Shields defend her WBA/WBC/IBF middleweight titles – the woman from Flint may well get it on with Marshall.

Shields’ promoter Dmitry Salita has gone as far as to compare a Shields-Marshall fight as a “modern day Sugar Ray Leonard Vs. Thomas Hearns.” Now we all know that 1981 classic was ultra-special, so plenty of fans will no doubt think Salita has gone too far. Nevertheless, there is much to look forward to in a Shields-Marshall showdown.

“I’m sure Savannah is going to be ringside (on Feb. 5), so I’m sure Claressa will want to send a statement to her and to the British fans to let them know that she is the GWOAT and that she’s coming with mean intentions to avenge her only loss in her boxing life,” Salita said to Vegas Insider. “Boxing needs super fights to make it mainstream. Shields Vs. Marshall belongs on pay-per-view. They are both elite fighters at their peak. I would really compare it to Sugar Ray Leonard Vs. Tommy Hearns. Sugar Ray was an Olympic gold medallist, a young flamboyant superstar. And Hearns was this mean, underachiever as an amateur, trying to make his way in the pros. So a lot of the stories with Sugar Ray and Hearns, and Claressa and Savannah, align in some ways.”

Shields should of course be flattered to be compared to the great Sugar Ray Leonard, as should Marshall be flattered at being likened to “The Hitman.” But even if this is going too far, this fight IS a potential classic and it is worthy of being a pay-per-view offering. But who wins? That decision victory scored by Hartlepool’s Marshall was a long, long time ago now and it may not mean too much at all. But Marshall, the WBO middleweight champion, has really looked good in her recent fights, when working with Peter Fury.

And there is no doubt about it, these two do not like one another. There is bad blood here and this fight needs to happen. Look for Shields to call out Marshall providing she wins next month. Marshall, 11-0(9) will surely oblige.