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Can Claressa Shields Lure Laila Ali Out of Retirement?

Gettyimages | Mitchell Leff
By Shadress Denise

For the past few weeks, undisputed middleweight champion, Claressa Shields, 24,—has been trading snide comments back and forth with undefeated champ, Laila Ali—attempting to lure her out of retirement. Ali, 42, who has been retired over a decade left the boxing world with a 24-0 record, with 21 of them being knockouts, and several world titles. Ali was even named one of the greatest female boxers before retiring.

Which is why one must ask, is this a fight Shields truly wants to start?

Apparently so, seeing as though Shields has made several posts on Instagram with both her and the champ’s stats side-by-side as to insinuate, she is more than a worthy opponent. Though the boxing legacy hasn’t professionally boxed in twelve years, she’s stated she is still very much in shape and at this rate, she just may have to put the gloves back on and meet Shields in the ring. In an interview with ESPN’s First Take, the retired champ stated she would come back if the money was right.

Where Did This Beef Originate From?

Gettyimages | Ed Mulholland

The alleged tiff began after Shields took offense to comments Ali made in the past that were not directed towards her. In 2018, Ali appeared on the Breakfast Club to discuss a variety of things. During the 36-minute interview, the question arose if the boxer would come out of retirement for fun. Ali openly stated there was no one to challenge her if she decided to come out of retirement. Therefore, it would be no point. Her comments were in no way directed towards Shields even though she was mentioned in the interview.

"You got Claressa Shields now who is an Olympic champion. She's a young, black girl came out of Flint, Michigan; lived a hard life, went through a lot; she went to the Olympics; won twice. Women's boxing wasn't in the Olympics, when I fought,” Ali told Charlemagne Tha God.

Gettyimages | Mark Brown

She then moved on to comment on Shields and her decision to go a different direction from Shields when it came to boxing.

“She actually fights in the weight class I fought in. And she's doing great. It's still not what I would have wanted. I would have wanted more because I have a big picture in my mind, but for her, that's great. I think that women's boxing is getting some good attention, so it's wonderful," she continued.

Shields was instantly notified of the comments and responded with she felt the comment made about was her was disrespectful in a tweet then challenged Ali.

“So everybody was texting and tweeting me about @TheRealLailaAli giving me a shoutout on @breakfastclubam so I decided to go and give it a listen! And honestly to me it was some disrespect, and shade, and my thing is it only takes a phone call to rumble…” Shields tweeted.

Will Ali Come Out of Retirement?

Wikimedia | https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Laila_Ali_(33484378146).jpg

From there the feud ensued and continued to play out in the media and on social media. Since her ESPN interview, Ali has made mention she would indeed return but only if the price was right. The undefeated champion admitted that she has multiple streams of income, several projects in the works, along with the undefeated title; therefore, she doesn’t need to come out of retirement.

Ali stated, “Well, I have to be inspired by the opponent. I’d have to be inspired by the purse because I have multiple things going on, multiple streams of income. I don’t have to do it. I have to want to do it.”

When asked if Shields was a worthy opponent for the daughter of Muhammad Ali to come out for retirement for, Ali simply responded,

“Of course, absolutely, especially that mouth because when it’s personal that starts a fire.”

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