It's going to be a huge party in Detroit, Michigan on Saturday night, as Claressa “GWOAT” Shields makes her long-awaited homecoming to defend her undisputed middleweight world titles against Maricela Cornejo.
The undisputed queen of the middleweight division is set to make her return to the Motor City, where she is the overwhelming favourite to run through late replacement Cornejo. Read below to find our official prediction for this fight!
Claressa Shields: Undisputed champ powering through the gears
It's hard to find many more superlatives to describe Claressa Shields. She describes herself as the “GWOAT” (Greatest Woman of All Time), and the truth is, it's becoming harder to argue that title. Two-time Olympic gold medalist? Check. The first person in boxing history to hold undisputed status in two weight classes? Check.
Truthfully, there is not a whole lot that Claressa Shields hasn't achieved. She is a serial winner with a titanic taste for championship gold. In fact, she has been the undisputed queen at middleweight for nearly FOUR years.
What makes Claressa Shields so great is her utter relentlessness in the pursuit of legacy and greatness. Even after defeating Savannah Marshall in London in dominant fashion last time out, she still wasn't satisfied. Some people tend to misinterpret her supreme confidence for arrogance, but when you are able to boast 64 amateur wins as part of your resumé, as well as a perfect 13-0 professional record, you can start to see why.
Maricela Cornejo: Hoping to cause the mother of all upsets
Maricela Cornejo is a +1600 underdog in this fight. Claressa Shields is a -8000 favourite (per Dazn). That tells you all you need to know about the scale of the task in front of Maricela Cornejo.
I don't know of a single person who is even giving Maricela Cornejo a prayer in this fight. In all fairness, this isn't solely due to Cornejo's ability. She has a very respectable 16-5 professional record. But, there are two things to consider in this fight. Firstly, she is facing, in many people's eyes, the greatest female boxer ever, with a devastating taste for putting the hurt on her opponents. Secondly, she is taking said fight against said best ever on one week's notice. ONE WEEK. As if this fight wasn't difficult enough already for Cornejo…
Maricela Cornejo deserves a lot of credit for saving this fight, though. Claressa was meant to fight Hanna Gabriels this weekend, but she failed a drugs test. Hence Maricela stepping up to the plate to take a swing (or several of them) at the undisputed queen of the division.
Path to victory: Claressa Shields – Boxing IQ and raw speed
The blueprint for Claressa Shields winning this fight is a very well-known one, but it is still one that is very hard to stop.
Like every other fight she has fought, Claressa is going to utilise her very advanced fight IQ with her phenomenal boxing ability and awesome hand speed. Mix all three of these elements together, and you have an opponent that is near impossible to get to grips with. If Claressa gets a good start to this fight and is able to dictate the rhythm from the outset, then she will be near impossible to stop. If Cornejo gets herself into a position of having to chase Shields, then she puts herself in even more difficulty.
Truth be told, it is very hard to see how Claressa Shields doesn't emerge victorious from this fight.
Path to victory: Maricela Cornejo – Use natural size advantage
The one thing that Maricela Cornejo does have on her side is size – she has a 2″ height advantage, and a 4″ reach advantage. If she is able to take advantage of this, and implement them from the get-go against Shields, then she might actually have a chance in this fight; Savannah Marshall already proved that standing and trading with Shields is NOT a good idea at all. Truthfully, Cornejo only has one real path to winning in this fight, and using reach and stance effectively is it. Will that succeed? Time will only tell.
Official prediction – Queen Claressa to dominantly retain middleweight throne
Taking into consideration all the relevant factors coming into this fight, as well as the fact that Claressa Shields is such a vast betting favourite, it's probably no real shock that we anticipate Claressa Shields winning this fight dominantly. Even considering the height and reach advantages enjoyed by Maricela Cornejo, it's likely just not going to be anywhere near enough. Expect a boxing masterclass from Claressa, with a dominant decision on the cards.
Official prediction: Claressa Shields to win via dominant unanimous decision.