Yes, Shields is the evening’s protagonist, and the hometown hero looking to unify the 154-pound titles before a partisan crowd in Flint, Mich.
But the best pay-per-view events require a B-side fighter with a solid chance to win. Enter Marie-Eve Dicaire, an undefeated 34-year-old fighter from Quebec.
She doesn’t boast Shields’ amateur pedigree — Shields went 68-1 as an amateur, while Dicaire failed to qualify for the 2016 Olympics. But Dicaire is 17-0 as a professional, and her signature win was in November 2019, when she outclassed Venezuelan veteran Ogleidis Suárez to win the International Boxing Federation title.
I’m going to embrace this moment today because it really only comes once in a lifetime! What I’m setting out to do today has never been done! In not just one way! 1. It’s an All women’s PPV card 2. I’m the first fighter fighting for a chance to be Undi2puted 2 weights! GWOAT
— Claressa Gwoat Shields (@Claressashields) March 5, 2021
A biopic about Shields is in the works, titled “Flint Strong,” written by Barry Jenkins and co-starring Ice Cube. But Shields has already appeared in a feature film, the 2016 documentary “T-Rex.”
That documentary details the period between Olympic Games, from the euphoric few weeks after Shields won the 2012 gold medal, when Shields picked up sponsors and visited late-night talk shows, to a low period midway through the Olympic cycle, when she faded from the public’s radar.
Here, Shields flirts with turning professional, before ultimately committing to qualifying for the Rio de Janeiro Olympics, where she ultimately won gold again.
Shields is 10-0 as a professional and 68-1 as an amateur. That lone amateur loss for Shields came in 2012, during a pre-Olympic tournament to British middleweight Savannah Marshall. The bout set the stage for a dramatic clash at the London Olympics, but Marshall suffered an upset loss in her opening-round bout.
Shields and Marshall managed not to square off in the intervening four years, but both landed in the middleweight tournament at the Rio Games in 2016, before another surprise Marshall loss derailed the rematch again.
Marshall is 9-0 as a professional and scheduled to fight in England next month. She has vowed to end Shields’s reign as champion. Shields has told Marshall to stop living in the past. Wins for both this spring might clear the path to a rematch.