June 23, 2021

Salita: McCaskill May Be More Serious About Facing Claressa Shields Than All These Fighters

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Jessica McCaskill has yet to compete at the welterweight limit of 147 pounds.

Dmitriy Salita still sees ambition in McCaskill that leads Claressa Shields’ promoter to believe McCaskill will want to fight Shields if she wins her immediate rematch with Cecilia Braekhus on Saturday night in Dallas. Chicago’s McCaskill (9-2, 3 KOs) will defend the IBF, IBO, WBA, WBC and WBO welterweight titles she won from Braekhus (36-1, 9 KOs) in their 10-round rematch at American Airlines Center (DAZN).

“I think McCaskill, from what I understand, she may be more serious about facing Claressa than all these other fighters,” Salita told BoxingScene.com. “And I think that if she wins the rematch, I think she would take the challenge and probably would fight Claressa. She has a tough fight ahead of her, but if she wins, it’s certainly a possibility that we would explore.”

The 36-year-old McCaskill upset Brakehus by majority decision in their 10-round welterweight title fight August 15 in Tulsa, Oklahoma.

McCaskill weighed in at 144¼ pounds for the Braekhus bout, which was contested at a catch weight of 145 pounds. She hadn’t boxed above the junior welterweight limit before she beat Braekhus in her welterweight debut six months ago.

“Just listening to her story,” Salita said, “seeing what she’s come through and what she’s accomplished, she seems to be the type of fighter who wants to test the odds and test herself, and wants to take a chance. That’s just based on her career. We haven’t had any real discussions with her camp about staging the fight.”

Shields (11-0, 2 KOs) mentioned moving down to 147 pounds to fight undisputed lightweight champ Katie Taylor (17-0, 6 KOs) in the immediate aftermath of her relatively easy, unanimous-decision victory over Marie-Eve Dicaire (17-1, 0 KOs) in their 10-round, 154-pound title unification fight Friday night in Flint, Michigan. The three-division champion and two-time Olympic gold medalist didn’t discuss the possibility of facing the McCaskill-Braekhus winner during her post-fight interview.

Salita is less optimistic about Shields possibly boxing Braekhus, who was an 8-1 favorite and boxing’s longest-reigning champion prior to McCaskill’s upset.

“Claressa said she’d come down to ’47 if it’s the right, big fight,” Salita said. “Cecilia Braekhus, she’s a great champion and she did a lot of incredible things. But really, when we talked about business beyond Tweeting about fighting one another, she’s never responded. And there’s never been any meaningful feedback from her about the fight taking place.”

Keith Idec is a senior writer/columnist for BoxingScene.com. He can be reached on Twitter @Idecboxing.