US boxing star Claressa Shields has compared herself to perhaps the greatest fighter of all time, Muhammad Ali – saying she is second only to him and claiming that “98 percent of men in the world” would be unable to beat her.
The first US boxer to claim gold at two consecutive Olympic Games is set to fight Marie-Eve Dicaire on Friday, when she can unify all four super welterweight championship belts.
Shields insists that people routinely overlook her bold pronouncements about her talent but believes that talking about herself alongside luminaries such as Ali is the only way to make viewers appreciate her.
“I don’t box for a hobby,” Shields said. “It’s not a hobby. It’s my career, and I feel like people underestimate me when I speak about how great I am,”
“But if I didn’t say how great I am, no-one in this room would have ever called me great because they don’t recognize it.
“Only the greats know that they’re great. Like Muhammad Ali. Nobody called him the greatest of all time.
“They actually called him the ‘Louisville Lip’ because he talked too much.
Muhammad Ali is first and Claressa Shields is second.
“I am the greatest woman of all time, and 98 percent of men in the world can’t beat me.”
The 25-year-old can also claim the undisputed junior middleweight championship title and the vacant WBA belt on Friday, as well as defending her WBC and WBO straps.
Shields is the holder of nine championships and the fastest person to ever grab titles across three divisions in boxing.