Claressa Shields takes time out to send a message to team Habazin!
In the lead up to their scheduled October 5 prizefight, there was a lot on the line. Claressa “T-rex” Shields (9-0, 2 KO’s) was dropping down from her middleweight stronghold to super welterweight to face Ivana Habazin (20-3, 7KO) for the vacant WBC and WBO titles.
Shields, who is the undisputed middleweight champion, was dipping in weight in an effort to chase a fight with welterweight undisputed champion Cecilia “First Lady” Braekhus (35-0, 9 KO’s).
T-rex’s intention was to meet Braekhus in the middle. Before a this super fight could take place, however, T-rex had to first get past the two-time, two-division former champion in Habazin.
The Croatian was eager for the opportunity to tangle with one of the biggest faces of women’s boxing.
During training camp there was no love lost between the Flint, Michigan native and her Croatian rival.
They traded insults and threats back and forth with equal gusto. Both women had a point to prove and their desire to bust the other one up was heartfelt.
After an initial fight postponement, due to a knee injury that Shields suffered in training camp, it appeared as if the fight was finally here. All obligations had been completed except for the fighters making weight.
Unfortunately, the two teams would never make it past this stage.
While at the event Habazin’s trainer, James Bashir Ali, got into a heated verbal shouting match with Shields’ sister. The older man barked insults, repeatedly put his hand in her face and threatened to rough the woman up.
After a small clip of the time the two were separated and Ali went to sit down. Out of the blue, someone in the audience sucker punched the chief second from behind, thereby knocking him out and causing significant facial fractures.
As a result of cowardly sneak attack, Bashir was rushed to the hospital and the fight was ultimately canceled. This was a disaster for all involved.
Obviously, there is the trauma to Team Habazin and the literal physical healing that Coach Bashir must undergo. There was a lot of disappointment for T-rex as well.
The October 5 bout was meant to serve as the first prizefight that Shields has fought at home since turning professional. Not only this, Shields was looking to snag a $1 million dollar payday for her performance.
That would have stood as the highest payday for a female boxer to date. Yet, with one sneak attack it all disappeared in smoke.
Directly after the incident, Shields went live on social media to explain her side of the story.
Since that time, the middleweight kingpin issued a follow up message via her InstaGram account. In the lengthy passage the Flint, Michigan ambassador extended her genuine concern and love for all those affected by the dastardly act.
To begin, Shields expressed nothing but concern and compassion for Coach Bashir, Habazin and their entire team.
After condemning the dreadful actions that lead to this chaotic scene, Shields prayed that they arrive at the most positive possible outcome. The middleweight champ would go on to pay respects to the fans, SHOWTIME staff and the residents of Flint.
More importantly, the all-inclusive entry never came off as sounding sappy or disingenuous.
The time for taking shots had passed! Now Shields, the female boxing ambassador was displaying the unwritten code of conduct that is expected of these gladiators.
What happens next is a complete mystery.
How will Ali recover?
Will he still coach after this?
What will happen with Habazin in the meantime?
Will Shields remain at 154? Will Shields and Habazin reschedule?
Will it be harder for female fighters to want to do business with Shields? Especially in her hometown?
What is clear, is the middleweight champ understood the level of calamity at hand and did a tasteful job of addressing the losing hand that everyone was holding.
While she acknowledged her own sadness and disappointment, she did not make it about herself or draw undue attention to the milestones that she herself had just lost. Instead, she did what was the classy thing to do and upheld her opponent and the sport itself.
In a situation this messy, Shields has tried her best to re-establish a bit of order.
3kingsboxing will continue to cover this unfolding story.
By: Bakari Simpson