It’s rare that we have a super fight in women’s boxing. It is even more rare that we have one that lives up to the billing.
The build up to this contest was tremendous. Both were undefeated and possessed Middleweight titles. They both put it all on the line with Shields walking away victorious.
The buzz was electric as both women made their way to the ring. From the opening bell, Hammer tried to impose her height-and-reach advantage against the smaller Shields.
She kept a long jab in the face of her opponent, but had little success actually connecting. Shields had a great defensive game plan as she made Hammer miss most of her shots. She also did a very good job of being patient and countering her bigger opponent.
It was a nip-and-tuck affair early on, but Shields seemed to be edging the rounds. Round 3 saw Hammer have her most success as she was able to keep Shields on the end of her long jab.
That round however, was really the only long term success she had.
Shields began to impose her will on the fight. She began to move forward and land the more eye-catching shots. Several times she snapped the head back of Hammer and had her visibly uncomfortable.
That momentum continued into the eighth round as Shields had her best round of the night. Shields had Hammer hurt and back pedaling the entire round.
Shields let off an impressive combination and Hammer seemed to crumple under the pressure. Somehow, some way she managed to survive the round.
For the rest of the contest Shields continued to put on a boxing clinic and it was smooth sailing to a decision victory as one judge scored the bout 98-92, with the remaining two judges scoring it 98-91.
After the contest Shields was in disbelief at what she accomplished.
“It’s almost surreal to me,” said Shields. “I knew I was the greatest but I think this confirms it. I am the greatest woman of all time and I’m only 24. I have a lot left to do.”
As for what’s next for the unified Middleweight champion she has a few people in mind.
“Give me Cecilia Brækhus at 154 pounds,” said Shields. “That’s who I want next. Either her or Savannah Marshall.”
Brækhus is widely considered the best pound-for-pound fighter in the world, but a fight between the two will require Shields to move down a weight class and Brækhus to move up one.
Marshall on the other hand is an intriguing potential opponent as she is the only woman to defeat Shields–an amateur bout that happened before the 2012 Olympics.
Whatever Shields does next–boxing fans will be watching.