Claressa Shields says she’d be willing to go down in weight one more time in order to face undisputed welterweight champion Jessica McCaskill, opening up the another possibility for Shields’ boxing career.
Shields (11-0, 2 KO) is currently undisputed champion at junior middleweight, having already won world titles at super middleweight, then moving down to middleweight and going undisputed there, before doing so at 154. The 25-year-old’s career has been a series of moves down in weight, contrary to what usually happens for fighters, and she has dominated at each class.
McCaskill (10-2, 3 KO) beat Cecilia Braekhus a second time on Saturday in Dallas, retaining the undisputed welterweight championship she won from Braekhus last year. Shields most recently fought on March 5, dominating Marie-Eve Dicaire to unify all four belts at 154.
Most of the focus for the 36-year-old McCaskill has been on getting a rematch with Katie Taylor, who is currently undisputed at lightweight, and beat McCaskill back in 2017. Taylor-McCaskill holds some intrigue because McCaskill has gotten better since then, while Taylor has at best stayed as good as she was.
But while Eddie Hearn, Taylor’s promoter, has talked the Irish star up for possible welterweight championship fights against both Braekhus and now McCaskill, Taylor herself has seemed slightly reluctant when interviewed (which is rare, she’s not a big press person). Mainly, Taylor doesn’t think she should fight at a full 147-pound limit; the one time she fought at 140, she won, but she wasn’t at her very best, and it’s said she walks around in the low 140s.
“If Katie Taylor’s the next one, let’s go,” McCaskill said on Saturday, then pivoted to Shields. “If Claressa wants to come down to 147 and see if she can make the weight — we’ve got a lot of options.”
Shields saw that on Instagram and replied, “Lol she don’t mean that. But where this is smoke I bring fire. I’m happy to go to 147 and take the titles.”
We’ve talked recently about how Shields is sincerely running out of fights to make in boxing. She’s already been preparing to make her MMA debut — supposedly in June for PFL — and may need to make the move full-time sooner or later.
But she does still plan to box. Savannah Marshall would be a good grudge match back at 160, but the idea of going undisputed in three weight divisions would intrigue any fighter, especially one as goal-driven as Shields.
Shields did express some concerns about moving down in weight again after the Dicaire fight, when the idea of her fighting Katie Taylor at welterweight came up.
“They gotta pay me a lot of money for me to lose my butt to go down to 147,” she said. “At the end of the day, I’m a woman, and that’s something I love about my body. I don’t have no big breasts but I got a nice butt, and I would lose that going to 147. They need to come with that dough, at least with a million. Talk to me nice.”
Is there enough money in Shields-McCaskill to get Shields to lose her butt and chase further glory in the squared circle? That remains to be seen. But she’s willing to hear offers.