Boxing star Claressa Shields is back for historic card – and she’s fighting a Canadian
This is an excerpt from The Buzzer, which is CBC Sports’ daily email newsletter. Stay up to date with what’s happening in sport by subscribing here.
Canadian fights one of the best boxers in the world
American Claressa Shields rose to stardom at the 2012 Olympics, where she won middleweight gold at the age of 17. She repeated as an Olympic champion in 2016 and also won two boxing world championship middleweight titles during her stellar amateur career.
Since turning pro at the end of 2016, Shields has won all of her 10 fights and won titles in three different weight classes. In addition to being the current undisputed middleweight champion (160 pounds), the 25-year-old also holds the WBC and WBO women’s lightweight middleweight belts (154 pounds). ESPN and The ring the magazine ranks her as the second best pound-for-pound female boxer in the world.
Friday night in his hometown of Flint, Michigan, Shields will step into the ring for the first time in 14 months. Her opponent is 34-year-old Canadian Marie-Eve Dicaire, who is 17-0 as a pro and currently holds the IBF light middleweight title. The fight will unify the different light middleweight belts of the two fighters, and the WBAs and The ring titles are also up for grabs.
Shields also shows up. She and her manager personally created the Friday Night Card, which is billed as the very first all-female pay-per-view event. The Shields-Dicaire main event is the first female fight to headline a boxing pay-per-view since Laila Ali (Muhammad Ali’s daughter) fought Jacqui Frazier-Lyde (Joe Frazier’s daughter) in 2001.
As this story from ESPN’s Michael Rothstein explains, Shields decided to go the DIY route after growing frustrated with his broadcast partner Showtime. She felt that the cable network did not offer her the same opportunities as some of her famous male boxers.
At the same time, she noticed that mixed martial arts did a better job of showcasing its female stars (example: the main co-event on this Saturday’s UFC 259 card is a female featherweight title fight between star champion Amanda Nunes and challenger Megan Anderson). Shields therefore becomes a two-sport athlete. She recently signed a deal with the Professional Fighters League that will see her do two MMA fights this year, and she also plans to fight twice in the boxing ring. The fight everyone would love to see is Shields vs. Ireland Katie Taylor – the undisputed reigning lightweight champion and the world’s No. 1 pound-for-pound female boxer. It’s a bit tricky, though, as Shields would have to drop a bit of weight to fight.
As for Dicaire’s chances of ruining Shields’ big night with an upset, well, they don’t look great. The Canadian is a good fighter (The ring the No. 2 class in the world behind Shields in the light middleweight division) and his 17-0 record looks impressive. But she’s never fought outside of her home province of Quebec and now she’s going straight into the backyard of a nine-year-old younger and more talented opponent.
As CBC Sports Resident Fighting Expert, Cole Shelton (follow him on Twitter here) noted when we talked about this game, passing Shields over 10 rounds is a tall order for Dicaire. A surprise knockout is therefore probably the best way to victory for the Canadian. Unfortunately, she doesn’t seem to have that kind of stopping power. His 17 professional fights have gone the distance. As a result, current betting odds imply that Dicaire only has a 13% chance of beating Shields. But winning, losing or drawing, just having the opportunity to fight in the main event of this historic map – and succeeding in doing so against one of the best in the world – is a big deal for Dicaire and for the United States. Canadian boxing.
The Raptors will be seriously shorthanded tonight. Five players from Toronto – starters Fred VanVleet, Pascal Siakam and OG Anunoby; reserve Patrick McCaw and Malachi Flynn – along with head coach Nick Nurse and five of his assistants will miss tonight’s game against Detroit under NBA health and safety protocols. This is just the latest of the Raptors’ coronavirus issues, which began last week when Siakam, the nurse and five coaching assistants missed Friday’s game against Houston. Sunday’s game against Chicago has been postponed, and Tuesday’s game against Detroit has been postponed until tonight due to what the league said were “positive test results and continued contact tracing within the. organization of the Raptors “. Thankfully, tomorrow night’s game in Boston is Toronto’s last before the all-star break, which lasts a full week. Learn more about the Raptors’ issues here.
Trivial question: Which NHL team has the record for most goals scored in a game?
I must be part of the ’80s Oilers squad, right? Maybe Lemieux’s early ’90s penguins? Or the legendary Canadians from 1976 to 1977?
No, it was actually the 1919-2020 Canadiens, who on that date 101 years ago beat the Quebec Bulldogs 16-3 to set a single-game goal record that has never been matched (point from hat to CBC News Morning Brief for this factoid). Forward Newsy Lalonde and defenseman Harry Cameron each scored four times, and forwards Odie Cleghorn and Didier Pitre also had hat tricks. Legendary Georges Vezina was in the net for the Canadiens that night. Quebec star Joe Malone, who about a month earlier had scored seven goals in a game to set an NHL record that still stands, was held to just one goal.
You might be surprised to learn that 1919-2020 was the most successful season in NHL history in terms of average goals per game. Montreal also scored 14 and 12 in separate competitions that year, and teams averaged 4.79 goals per game (for comparison, last season it was 3.02). It might also surprise you to hear that the most successful four seasons in NHL history to date have been always the first four – 1917-18 to 1920-21.
Upcoming from CBC Sports
Snowboard cross: Watch the first of two World Cup men’s and women’s race series in Georgia Thursday from 2 to 3:30 a.m. ET on CBCSports.ca and the CBC Sports app. The second set takes place at the same time on Friday. Canada’s Eliot Grondin is second in the men’s season standings with just one World Cup stop after this one.
Nordic Skiing World Championships: Watch the Women’s Cross Country 4x5K Relay Thursday at 7:15 a.m.ET on CBCSports.ca and the CBC Sports app.
You are aware. Get The Buzzer delivered to your inbox every day of the week by subscribing below.