Jake Paul has caused a stir within the boxing world and beyond. He already wasn’t on women’s champion Claressa Shields’ good side, and now more fuel has been added to the fire between the two.
USA Today Sports+ this week published excerpts of leaked emails from Shields’ manager, Mark Taffet, and promoter, Dmitry Salita, to Paul and promoter Nakisa Bidarian, dating to Paul’s fight on Triller against former NBA star Nate Robinson. Paul knocked out Robinson in the second round in November 2020 on a card that featured Mike Tyson vs. Roy Jones Jr. Paul has attempted to work with Shields, and it appears Shields’ team reached out to Paul at some point about being on that card.
“Claressa is obviously one of the best female boxers of all time, but the numbers (of viewers) she has didn’t make sense for us in terms of what Mark was hoping to achieve for her (in purse money), so I didn’t think it added to the Tyson-Jones pay-per-view, which ended up being the eighth largest in history,” Bidarian, who assisted Triller with the event, told USA Today Sports+ as to why the sides could not reach an agreement.
Taffet then sent an email on March 15 pitching Shields’ potential involvement in an April 17 fight card for Triller. That card featured Paul knocking out former MMA champion Ben Askren. On March 5, Shields — already the undisputed middleweight champion — beat Marie-Eve Dicaire to win the IBF, WBA, and The Ring light middleweight titles to go with the WBC and WBO belts.
“Claressa had a historic win . . . to become the first man or woman in the four-belt era to win an undisputed world title in two weight divisions. We are now beginning a plan for our next few fights, and would love to discuss out plan with you to see if Triller is interested in being the video platform of the world’s greatest female fighter. We would love to participate on your April 17 card if you have a slot available,” Taffet wrote.
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Bidarian told USA Today Sports+ that there wasn’t a business need for Shields to be on the card as the focus was on Paul. Meanwhile, Paul has been teaming up with seven-division women’s champion Amanda Serrano.
On July 14, Salita offered his services to Bidarian regarding logistics and events following a move to Showtime. During this time, however, Shields became one of many fighters to criticize Paul for taking attention away from boxers.
Shields, who at one point threatened to sue Paul for defamation, has responded to the USA Today Sports+ report. She said she was never involved in the emails and that she was never supposed to fight on the Paul cards.
Taffet made his own statement, in response to the Daily Mirror of London’s roundup of the drama. “I solicit opportunities and [Shields] decides if she wants them or not . . . exactly the way a manager/athlete relationship should be. She doesn’t solicit opportunities,” he wrote on Twitter.
Such poor journalism…I always say “I’m not Claressa, and she’s not me”…this is simple: I solicit opportunities and she decides if she wants them or not…exactly the way a manager/athlete relationship should be. She doesn’t solicit opportunities. https://t.co/cOpdVKbGRN
— Mark Taffet (@MarkTaffetMedia) January 7, 2022
Shields said that she will be ready to discuss the matter after her middleweight title defense next month against Ema Kozin.
“I’m focused on one thing, looking spectacular Feb. 5 when I defend my World titles! After that I’ll speak about these lies floating around,” Shields wrote on Twitter.
I’m focused on one thing, looking spectacular Feb 5th when I defend my World titles ! After that I’ll speak about these lies floating around 🤫
— Claressa Gwoat Shields (@Claressashields) January 7, 2022
The last year-plus has been busy for Shields, who also competed in MMA for the Professional Fighters League, going 1-1 in two fights.
Paul, who has attempted to become an advocate for women’s boxing by teaming up with Serrano, also responded to the USA Today Sports+ report. “Let’s put this behind us and work together to continue to build women’s boxing,” he wrote on Twitter.
Shields briefly responded, saying that all she cares about is her upcoming fight.
Besides Shields, Paul is in a battle with UFC president Dana White. Paul has offered to retire from boxing and join the UFC to fight Jorge Masvidal, in exchange for better fighter pay.