THE outcome of the Claressa Shields–Ivana Habazin bout was practically preordained. The poster for the fight read: “Her Story On The Boardwalk,” and it didn’t mean Habazin. It was, therefore, no surprise when united middleweight title-holder Shields dropped down to super-welterweight to garner the vacant WBC and WBO belts with a 10-round unanimous decision over outclassedHabazin at the Ocean Casino Resort (Salita Promotions).
Shields was scheduled to face Habazin on October 5 in Claressa’s hometown of Flint, Michigan. The match was cancelled after Habazin’s trainer, 68-year-old James Ali Bashir, was sucker-punched at the weigh-in by Shields’ brother, 28-year-old Artis Mack. He was arrested and is awaiting trial on the charge of assault with intent to do great bodily harm less than murder.
Although Shields dominated and won by wide scores of 99-98, 100-90 and 100-89, the rescheduled bout was not a particularly inspiring one. It was a sloppy affair marred by an abundance of mauling, pushing and clinching.