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Boxing

Jessica McCaskill’s Victory Only Opens More GWOAT Questions

Claressa Shields is still the boogeyman but McCaskill presents a pivot

Image Credit: Ed Mulholland/Matchroom Boxing

On Saturday night, Jessica McCaskill shocked the world handing welterweight juggernaut Cecilia Brækhus her first professional loss.

The Norwegian boxing trailblazer, Brækhus (36-1, 9 KOs) lost her WBA, WBC, IBF and WBO welterweight titles via majority decision in Tulsa, Oklahoma.

The 38-year-old has dominated her division since turning pro in 2007.

However, McCaskill (9-2, 3 KOs), completed her Cinderella story with the victory. She went from a 33-year-old investment banker Chicagoan, that was homeless as a child, to dethroning the unbeatable Brækhus.

McCaskill employed a Pacquiao-esque volume style performance and the judges saw it 97-94, 97-93 and 95-95 in her favor.

“This is for the fourth-grade homeless Jessica,” McCaskill said. “This is for the little girl that just didn’t care what people thought about her and learned to love herself even though she was really weird.”

Going into the fight, Brækhus’ resume challenged the boastful GWOAT (Greatest Woman Of All Time) claims by two-time Olympic gold medalist, Claressa Shields.

Now, McCaskill has toppled the myth of Brækhus and new questions need to be answered.

Tale of The Tape

Since Lucia Rijker, Ann Wolfe, Laila Ali and more, the question of who is the best female boxer has swirled but never been answered.

Claressa Shields took a forward approach and simply claimed the title of GWOAT sans polling or Boxing Writer’s Association of America verdict.

Her ring resume is impressive enough to be in the conversation even if she hasn’t herself been a pro for long.

She has held multiple world championships in three weight classes. She has reigned as the undisputed female middleweight champion of the world since 2019, and the unified WBC and WBO light middleweight champ since January 2020.

Previously she was the unified WBC, and IBF female super middleweight champ from 2017 to 2018. Shields currently holds the record for becoming a two and three-weight world champion in the fewest professional fights.

Take that Lomachenko!

However, until Saturday, Brækhus looked like the only one who could pose a solid challenge to Shields’ claim. She still can with a solid resume that spans being undefeated for thirteen years!

But as a one-weight class titlist, formerly undefeated or not, it bolsters Shields claim to be the best as a multiple weight class world champion.

Still, a fight between Brækhus and Shields would be must see TV. The fight would probably happen at the supper welterweight / light middleweight level where Shields still reigns supreme.

With McCaskill spoiling the GWOAT party she holds the key to Shields proving her dominance almost as much as Brækhus now since she humanized the Norwegian.

After the loss, Braekhus hinted that she may hang up her gloves.

“I’m proud and happy to pass the torch to her [McCaskill],” Braekhus said in the post-fight interview. “I have to say, I don’t know what’s going to happen right now, but I’m incredibly proud to be a part of women’s boxing right now.

“If this is my last fight, I can leave women’s boxing and say I was a part of this. I was a part of taking women’s boxing to this level, and that will be my biggest achievement of all.”

However, before the fight, during a Zoom conference call, Brækhus discussed the need for a fight with Claressa Shields for her fighting legacy.

“Yeah, I think everybody needs that,” Brækhus said. “I’ve had a couple of good fights coming up in my career, but maybe for the American audience, (myself vs. Shields) would be needed for them.

“I like when Claressa Shields says that (GWOAT). She huffs and puffs and makes good commercial for herself. She also draws attention to women’s boxing, but that’s it. Right now, nobody is really in a position to call themselves the GWOAT (laughs). We just have to see what’s happening now because the pool of talent is so big.”

New Jack City

Jessica McCaskill stopped Braekhus from passing Joe Louis’ 72 year record of 25 straight successful World championship defenses.

She is one of the names that both diehard and casual fans have on their radar’s now in the women’s ranks.

Other than McCaskill, Katie Taylor is on the spectrum of New Jacks looking to be in the conversation.

The Irish boxer is a two-weight world champion and the current undisputed lightweight champion. She’s held the WBA title since 2017, the IBF title since 2018 and the WBC, WBO, and Ring magazine titles since 2019.

In addition, she’s had the WBO junior-welterweight title in 2019. This weekend, Taylor rematches he rmost controversial opponent Delfine Persoon.

Taylor beat Persoon via a debatable decision in a June 2019 war and the two are set for a rematch this coming Saturday, Aug. 22, streaming live on DAZN.

For the 34-year-old Taylor (15-0, 6 KO), it’s an opportunity to put to rest any doubts about how she sizes up against Persoon (44-2, 18 KO) after that first bout.

However, the winner gets McCaskill. It would give McCaskill a chance to avenge a 2017 unanimous decision loss to Taylor if the Irish woman is successful.

With McCaskill now the current women’s giant killer, Katie Taylor on the verge of solidifying her name, and Claressa sitting atop a self-made throne, the women’s game is keeping boxing interesting during quarantine.

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