If you ask a boy for his top five fighters he shouldn't name all men.
March 9, 2017 11:38 AM   Subscribe

On Friday night Claressa Shields (previously), the first American boxer to win gold medals at back-to-back Olympics, will become the first woman to headline a boxing card on American premium cable.

Shields will face Hungarian Szilvia Szabados in her second fight as a professional (her first against Franchon Crews can be viewed on Youtube). She went 77-1 in her amateur career with her only loss back in 2012.

If you want to learn more about Shields before the fight there are numerous print and video interviews and profiles available, including with The Fight Game. She was also the subject of the documentary T-Rex, and Moonlight director Barry Jenkins is penning the script for a film based on Shields' life.
posted by edeezy (18 comments total) 12 users marked this as a favorite
I love Claressa Shields and my ears perk up whenever I hear news about her. She never apologizes for who she is. This is my favorite selection from an NPR piece last year before the Rio Olympics:

A few months after the London Games, Claressa was back on the amateur circuit. At her first tournament, Claressa and her coach met with USA Boxing officials about a PR strategy. The officials had one suggestion: Claressa should stop talking about how she likes to beat people up.

"You want me to stop saying that?" Claressa asked the boxing officials. "Why?"

Julie Goldsticker, a USA Boxing PR consultant at the meeting, offered some advice on attracting endorsements.

"I box," said Claressa.

"I understand that," Goldsticker replied.

"It's an image thing," Jason Cruthchfield, Claressa's coach, explained. "Just tone it down a little bit."

Claressa wouldn't budge.

"Their definition of a woman — you can be tough, but not too tough," she told me when we spoke recently. "If I want to get in there and kick a girl's ass, I'm going to kick her ass. That's it. You might as well have told me to start punching my opponents a little softer so girls won't feel so threatened."

She still has not been featured on a box of Wheaties and I'm a little miffed about that.
posted by Alison at 12:22 PM on March 9, 2017 [7 favorites]

"If you ask a boy for his top five fighters he shouldn't name all men."

Why shouldn't he? Should it not be the boys personal preference who his favourites are?
posted by Effigy2000 at 12:51 PM on March 9, 2017 [2 favorites]

Added to my little list of "women doing 'man' things" for my daughter. Came in useful last week, when son said "you can't be a knight, girls aren't knights" and I could counter with Joan of Arc. Now I have a hard-as-nails boxer who happens to be a woman, so she can be a boxer!

Except she can't because we don't want either of them to be boxers because brain damage, but THAT'S NOT THE POINT.
posted by alasdair at 12:54 PM on March 9, 2017 [2 favorites]

I dunno, I think she's maybe misconstruing general boxing PR-endorsement advice as gendered here. They usually dilute the ass-kicking boasts with a bunch of wholesome boy-from-the-mean-streets-does-good schtick.
posted by thelonius at 12:54 PM on March 9, 2017

"If you ask a boy for his top five fighters he shouldn't name all men."

okay but if you need to know a child's top five fighters -- for what obscure reason I cannot imagine, like perhaps you are charged with gathering an army but are under a geas commanding you to choose your soldiers only by their reputation among children, and also you can only hire five of them? this is a hard scenario to figure -- you shouldn't only ask a boy.
posted by queenofbithynia at 12:56 PM on March 9, 2017 [5 favorites]

"If you ask a boy for his top five fighters he should" back away slowly, while calmly looking around for other adults.
posted by gurple at 12:58 PM on March 9, 2017 [25 favorites]

although as everyone knows, if you ask a little girl who her top five fighters are she will just fold her fingers into a fist and brandish it under your nose while inviting you to say hello to her five little friends. so perhaps it is only prudent to ask boys.
posted by queenofbithynia at 12:59 PM on March 9, 2017 [14 favorites]

If you ask a boy for his top five fighters he shouldn't name all men.

It would be my hope that any random boy couldn't name one fighter (outside of maybe Ali) let alone five.
posted by Thorzdad at 1:00 PM on March 9, 2017 [8 favorites]

It's Clay. It's always been Clay.
posted by Sphinx at 1:03 PM on March 9, 2017 [1 favorite]

The title is a mangled-to-fit-the-character-limit Shields quote from the above-the-fold video. Maybe it was a bad choice of framing but I don't think it's too crazy of a sentiment.
posted by edeezy at 1:03 PM on March 9, 2017 [3 favorites]

[Folks, maybe let's move beyond the title, and let's not bog down into "boxing shouldn't exist"; if you don't want to read about this boxing story, that's fine, just skip the thread.]
posted by LobsterMitten (staff) at 1:10 PM on March 9, 2017 [1 favorite]

Hopefully without trying to put words in her mouth, I think the intent of the "top five fighters" comment was that she would like to see female fighters receiving the recognition and fame of male fighters?

The thing that struck me was watching this is the difference between the UFC and boxing. The UFC seems to have moved beyond boxing in this regard. Many UFC fans could easily name 5 famous female fighters. Despite the UFC boss swearing that there would never be females in his sport, the organisation has come a long was in a very short time. But boxing... ?
posted by greenhornet at 1:20 AM on March 10, 2017 [1 favorite]

If I were asked as a boy to pick the five best fighters I doubt that any of the five would even have been real humans. I bet it would go something like this (in no particular order):

1. Superman
2. Darth Vader
3. Voltron
4. Ninja from GIJoe
5. He-Man
extra bonus fighter: zorro

Ali? he doesn't even have a weapon he wouldn't win anything. What is he going to do punch superman? Slap voltrons toe? Even Zorro would just carve little z's into his gloves and he would give up.
posted by koolkat at 1:38 AM on March 10, 2017 [1 favorite]

koolkat..that happened
posted by judson at 7:53 AM on March 10, 2017

The F-16, the P-47, the ME-262, the Fokker triplane and the Zero.
posted by justsomebodythatyouusedtoknow at 7:59 AM on March 10, 2017 [1 favorite]

Superman vs. Muhammad Ali
posted by porpoise at 11:51 AM on March 10, 2017

FWIW, a little anecdote from the intersection of gender and boxing:

On December 30, I went to a poker game with ~25 other people. Lots of working class guys there, and in a very red part of a very red state. Picture a garage with "This property insured by Smith and Wesson" on the walls and you're on the right track. There probably weren't three Hillary Clinton voters in the group.

There was a big UFC match that evening and it was up on the TVs the guy had around his garage. People looked up whenever the fight action got interesting, but...

When the Ronda Rousey fight came on, the poker game was paused and everybody gathered around the TVs up to really watch the fight; this was the only fight for which anything like that happened.
posted by Hatashran at 3:50 PM on March 10, 2017 [2 favorites]

Unsurprisingly Shields dominated in her biggest showcase to date. I'm looking forward to her future fights (and her facing better opponents).
posted by edeezy at 3:46 PM on March 11, 2017

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