Laila Ali hints at potential comeback for Claressa Shields fight, three-division world champion responds


It’s possible boxing fans may eventually receive a definitive answer to the best-of-all-time debate within the realm of women’s boxing. Claressa Shields, who has won world titles in three weight classes, has made a strong case for the greatest female boxer ever with her dominant run in recent years. Still, the one name consistently brought up that keeps her from truly locking up the title is the now-retired Laila Ali.

Ali (24-0, 21 KOs), daughter of the legendary Muhammad Ali, has been linked to a fight with Shields in the past, though mostly through media chatter or side notes in interviews. Now, though, she has confirmed that the chatter has her thinking that Shields’ mouth has led her to an obvious opponent should the 42-year-old end her retirement.

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“She’s been calling me out. She’s taken offense to some things I’ve said in the past that had nothing to do with her,” Ali told ESPN. “And people are asking me: Would you come back? Well, I have to be inspired by the opponent. I have to be inspired by the purse, because I have multiple things going on, multiple streams of income. I don’t need to do it. I have to want to do it.”

“Of course, especially (because of) that mouth,” Ali continued. “When it’s personal that starts a fire, right? And when the money’s right and it makes sense then why not?”

After the interview aired on ESPN, Shields, who won the unified light middleweight championship in her most recent fight to become a world champion in a third weight division, responded to fellow champion Franchón Crews-Dezurn on social media discussing the interview.

“On God sis!” Shields tweeted. “Cause i’m gonna walk thru Laila Ali! I’m gonna hurt her! I’m tired of the talking and her hating! FIGHT ME! I’m gonna show her why they call me the GWOAT ! Let’s go!”





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