Claressa Shields rolls her eyes when she examines Savannah Marshall’s record.
The three-division champion cannot understand why Marshall is considered a knockout artist, when it is clear to Shields that Marshall has feasted on smaller, inferior opponents. Shields, who will meet Marshall in a middleweight title unification fight September 10 at O2 Arena in London, dissected Marshall’s unblemished record (12-0, 10 KOs) during an interview with BoxingScene.com.
“It’s good matchmaking,” Shields said. “That’s it. She’s been gifted a whole lot of tomato cans. And, I mean, I’m not wrong. If I go to [boxrec.com] and read you off her opponents’ records, you’re gonna see that, ‘OK, she knocked out this girl on three days’ notice, but look at her record. She fought her on a week’s notice. Look who she knocked out, you know, look at this girl’s record, 4-25.’ Her and April Hunter have similar opponents. How, when April Hunter is a 140-pounder? Or is she 135? How does a 168-pounder and a 175-pounder have a similar opponent with a 140-pounder? She’s knocking out smaller girls with losing records.”
Marshall has knocked out 83 percent of her professional opponents, whereas Shields (12-0, 2 KOs) has only a 17 percent knockout ratio.
They have three common opponents – Femke Hermans (13-4, 5 KOs), Sydney LeBlanc (4-5-1, 0 KOs) and Hannah Rankin (12-5, 3 KOs). Marshall (four rounds) and Shields (eight rounds) went the distance with LeBlanc, but Marshall defeated Hermans and Rankin by knockout and technical knockout, respectively, while Shields defeated Hermans and Rankin by unanimous decision in a pair of 10-rounders.
Shields, however, has defeated a much more formidable group of opponents, including eventual undisputed super middleweight champ Franchon Crews (8-1, 2 KOs) in Shields’ pro debut nearly six years ago. The 12 boxers Marshall has beaten entered the ring with a combined record of 97-116-13 before facing her.
“I mean, there’s somebody up on her record with like an 11-67 record, 4-25,” Shields said. “Those are not opponents who you knock out and you say, ‘Oh, that was a tough fight. That was a hard knockout.’ It’s like, ‘No, her best knockout was against Hannah Rankin.’ And Hannah Rankin, it was a lot that played into that fight and I’m gonna hold that because when I watched the film, it all made sense. So, we’re gonna have to wait until the fight gets a little bit closer until we actually speak on it.”
Shields, a two-time Olympic gold medalist who has lost only to Marshall as an amateur or pro, and Marshall will headline a Sky Sports broadcast in the United Kingdom and Ireland. ESPN+ will stream their 10-round, 160-pound championship match in the United States.
Keith Idec is a senior writer/columnist for BoxingScene.com. He can be reached on Twitter @Idecboxing.