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Dmitriy Salita: I don’t know that Laila Ali really wants to fight Claressa Shields

Shields’ promoter says Ali is more interested in drumming up attention than actually fighting.

In this chat with Fight Hub TV, promoter Dmitriy Salita gives an update on the back-and-forth between Claressa Shields and Laila Ali and discusses whether or not that fight has any real chance of coming together. Check out some excerpts below...

Salita on if there’s a possibility of a Shields-Ali fight happening:

“...A lot of people have been talking to me about it and it’s been in the news. Claressa wants to fight the best so she would sign the contract today. The bigger question is Laila Ali. I know Laila has gone on TV and on the radio and has been talking the talk, but there has been very little material discussions. I mean, I hope that she’ll do it but I don’t think so.

“Kind of similar to Cecilia Braekhus because at some point, a couple of months ago, Cecilia was talking about fighting Claressa and we reached out to her and there was radio silence.”

On if they have made a formal offer to Ali for the fight:

“Well we’ve reached out and discussed some business terms generally, so there has been some discussions but not enough for me to say that I feel strongly that it’s gonna happen. There has been some discussions and, you know, it’s really up to Laila.

“She was on The Breakfast Club and she got excited shadowboxing and talking about what she would do to Claressa, which if she believes it is great. But really the ball is in her court. And if she wants to do it, obviously within reason, I think there’s definitely ways to make it happen but she has to want to do it, like really want to do it. And there’s only one way to say ‘yes’ and a million ways to say ‘no.’ So if she really wants to do it, and she’s been in the boxing business for a long time, she knows what’s available and what could be available and maybe she can get even a little more than that.

“If she wants to do it then we can really explore the possibilities in a real way. But that would be a big, big fight.”

On if he has the impression that Ali isn’t genuinely interested in the fight when it comes down to it:

“I think that Laila’s interested in being relevant, I think she’s interested in using this possibility to get in the news and to talk about it and it’s exciting, but I don’t know that she really wants to fight Claressa. And if she really does then she’s a real, real fighter. But I haven’t seen it yet.”

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