Floyd Mayweather, you have some competition. Nah, not in the ring. I'm talking outside, in the hype sphere, in putting material out there that is deliberately provocative, that is certain to gain attention and draw clicks.
Ladies and gentlemen, Claressa Shields‘ boxing game is strong, and I do believe her hype-game might be even a notch higher. She's been getting people to talk about her with her aggressive proclamations that she's the greatest female fighter of all time, after just 8 pro fights. Now, she's gone a step further, and gotten TMZ‘s attention—and I must iterate and re-iterate just how important that is–by saying that she's good enough to hang with A grade males.
Cue the howls…cue the social media chatter…cue the critiques. Cue up more attention paid to the Michigan based boxer.
Masterful, I offer….
“I spar with men. I drop men. I bust [men's noses]. I beat men up all the time,” Shields said to TMZ, less than a week after dominating Christina Hammer, who some folks thought would prove to be a stern test for the two time Olympic gold medalist. “I think I can beat up Keith Thurman … I really do.” WBA 147 champ Thurman is undefeated with a 29-0-1 record; I will reach out to see what he thinks about this Shields announcement.
“They may be stronger than me, but their boxing ability isn't like mine. GGG, he's older now, but I could give GGG a run for his money. Power for power isn't a question because what is boxing? Boxing is the sweet science. It's not about strength … because people were saying Christina Hammer was stronger than me. They were saying all these girls were stronger than me, but did you not see the head movement that I had during the fight? See the defense? The offense? The traps I set!? If I were to get in there with a man, I would do a lot more of that. And, I do have some power. I'm not gonna say I'm stronger than them, but if I set up the right shots with the right timing.”
Masterful! She pushes buttons really well. I was thinking about this as I heard her in the post-fight presser. She has a Mayweather way. One second she's praising Hammer for being a good citizen, then ten minutes later she's hammering at the German resident for this and that. Shields zigs, then swerves and zags. It keeps you on your toes. For about twenty minutes she told the assembled how stellar she is. Ali style…and you recall how Ali had haters galore…but all of them tuned in to watch him..to see him get his butt kicked.
Now, have at it if you wish…you saw and ate the bait…but I also gently want to urge you to understand the age we are in…I think many of us don't fully get it, that social media and ease of spreading message far and wide, without having to get things fact checked or put through a publisher's sifter has changed all the games, radically. Politics, entertainment, sports, all of it. The people who understand how to use social media, and I put TMZ under the heading of “social media,” basically, will elevate themselves more than those that don't get it.
Hear potential Shields foe Alicia Napoleon on Everlast podcast.