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Errol Spence would advise Claressa Shields to ditch boxing for UFC

Fighters Network

Claressa Shields with Andre Ward. Photo by: Stacey Verbeek

If Errol Spence Jr. was managing the career of amateur star Claressa Shields, he would advise her to ditch the pros and join the UFC where she can make a lot more money.

“I think she would be a superstar if she transitions into the UFC,” Spence told on Thursday before a press conference for his Coney Island title eliminator on Sunday against Leonard Bundu. “She’s physically strong. She has fast hands. She just has to learn the ground game and stuff like that. There’s way more money (in the UFC). She’ll probably be a two-time gold medalist now. There’s no money in women’s boxing,” he added.

It’s not known if Shields has any interest in the UFC and Spence has never talked to her about the idea but it makes sense. Purses for female fighters are meager compared to what the men make in pro boxing, and the UFC has had a lot more success marketing and paying the women than in boxing.

“She’d be a huge, huge star,” said Spence, who was on the 2012 U.S. Olympic team with Shields in London when Shields struck gold. “I’ll bring it up to her (next time we talk). She has some power, too. With those little gloves, she’ll knock a lot of people out. She can hit.”

Spence said he sparred with Shields in 2012 before he turned pro. “She can punch for a girl,” he said. “Once she gets the experience in the ground game and learns it — it might take a year — she’ll be something to reckon with. Chuck Liddell was on top of that sport and all he had was a one-two and he was knocking everyone out. He had zero ground game.” Shields is currently in Rio trying to repeat as middleweight Olympic champion. She easily won her quarterfinal match on Wednesday to vault her into Friday’s semifinals.