Claressa Shields Victory

Photo by Trapp Photos

Claressa Shields Victory Over Nelson First Step Toward Mega Stardom

By Derek Smith

Gaining momentum with each victory, the express train that is Claressa Shields rolled into the Turning Stone Resort and Casino, and came away with a one-sided unanimous decision over Tori Nelson.

Shields (5-0, 2 Kos), a two-time Olympic gold medalist from Flint Michigan, and holder of the WBC, and IBF super-middleweight belts, came into the ring undefeated, determined and confident. Her opponent Tori Nelson (17-1-3), was equally determined and confident. A former world's champion, the 41 year old Nelson, a late bloomer, was also undefeated. It was an irresistible force against an immovable object … an interesting match-up. At least until the bell rang.

Shields, after feeling out her opponent, tested Nelson's reaction to a couple of feints and then got to work. She began landing her jab, then right hands. She added her hook and by round's end she was landing right hand leads. Not a good sign for Nelson, who had mocked the champion's punching ability, "She don't have much power," scoffed the Virginia native. The former champion’s game plan was to neutralize Shields height and reach advantage by crowding her into the ropes. Nelson tried to block her punches, but Shield's quick hands were getting through. In the third round Nelson finally got Shields on the ropes and much to her chagrin she was not only out fought, and out flanked, but driven along the ropes where she got the worst of it. On another occasion Shields, who had been crowded into the ropes, tied the shorter Nelson up, walked her backwards to ring center, and then hit her with a vicious left to the ribs.

The fight became predictable after a couple of more rounds and the question was whether Nelson would be able to go the distance. Shields was landing a variety of combinations, and boxing well within herself. She controlled the ring, out punched her opponent, and never gave Nelson a moment's rest. If Nelson hadn't been active and punching back, even though she was missing, the referee could conceivably have stopped the fight.

In the 10th round Nelson came out flailing, vainly trying for the knockout. An event as unlikely to occur as someone trying to float into the ring on a hang glider. After throwing a flurry of punches at Shields, Nelson tried to catch her breath by clinching, only to be pushed off. Shields, whose punches were as crisp as they had been early on, strafed Nelson from head to toe and back again; leaving her reeling at the bell. The scores reflected the fight, with Shields winning every round on all three cards with identical scores, 100 - 90.

Game, but outgunned, Nelson had no quit in her. She didn't let skepticism about her age bother her, and she tried to minimize her liabilities. She kept her hands up and tried to get a good look at everything that came her way.

Shields, went 10 rounds for the first time, and has just about made that transition from the amateurs to the pros. She is the buzz of women's boxing.

Shields has called out all women boxers from 154 to 168 lbs, most notably Maricela Cornejo and Christina Hammer. Women's boxing, if it is going to fly PPV, will have to have that crossover appeal. Women's boxing needs that Tiger, that Serena, that can draw in people who aren't necessarily fight fans, people who will watch because they know that they're going to see a happening.

Middleweight champ Christina Hammer was at ringside, and the word on the street is that Hammer vs. Shields is a PPV match waiting to be made. That would be a start in the right direction.