Claressa Shields Edges Savannah Marshall to Avenge Sole Defeat!
Honestly speaking, in the Claressa “T-Rex” Shields (13-0, 2 KO’s) versus Savannah “The Silent Assassin” Marshall (12-1, 10 KO’s) prizefight, there wasn’t much not on the table. To begin, it was a match to determine undisputed status, which is in and of itself a big deal. The two fighters also had the honor of headlining an unprecedented, high-profile, all-women’s card. Not to mention they finally were able to put a cap on their rivalry, which began ten years ago in the amateurs.
Marshall, who entered as the WBO middleweight champion, was naturally viewed as the heavy-handed puncher in the fight. This is due to stopping all but two of her professional foes. One of those opponents was Hanna Rankin, who Marshall stopped to take possession of the vacant WBO middleweight title. Interestingly, it was Shields who vacated the belt, making it available in the first place. Since that fight, on October 31, 2020, Marshall, 31, has made three successful title defenses.
Naturally, Shields came to the ring with the belief that she was the much better fighter. It was a sentiment that she vocalized throughout the build-up to this match. It’s not without good reason, though. T-Rex, 27, is a two-time Olympic gold medalist, two-time undisputed champion and entered this affair toting the IBF, WBA and WBC middleweight titles.
The first round would see Marshall charge over to Shields’ corner where she did little outside of throw pitty-pat, range finding shots. During the second half of the period, T-Rex pounded The Silent Assassin with a bevy of hard headshots. The Olympic gold medalist was also very dedicated to attacking the body. This dedication was maintained over the next few rounds as well. Marshall kept coming forward and landing decent punches but there was a distinct difference in hand speed that was troubling Marshall greatly.
Despite being quite frustrating, Shields was determined to keep her own back plastered to the ropes or in the corner during the sixth and seventh round. Why she adopted his tactic is anyone’s guess as she was doing her best work center-ring. By corralling herself against the ring straps, she only gave Marshall a smorgasbord of chances she would not have otherwise had.
In mind-boggling fashion, T-Rex would spend all the remaining rounds backing to the ropes and making the match much more competitive than it had to be. Due to this, the match ended in neck-and-neck fashion with both fighters firing furiously. Yet there was no clear ring general. When the scorecards were read, Claressa Shields prevailed by way of unanimous decision to the tune of 96-94 and 97-93 (twice). During the post-fight interview, Shields made it very clear that she would rematch Marshall in the States.
By: Bakari Simpson