Her performance only underscored the star quality she exuded during her four-year run at the summit of women's amateur boxing, but nothing less than a total promotional commitment will see Shields' dream blossom.
Tonight we are going to see two top-notch amateur female boxers, Claressa Shields, two-time Olympic gold medal boxing champion, and top female amateur boxer Franchon Crews both make their pro debuts on a major boxing card in Las Vegas, Nevada.
"Expect to see a really good fight, a very skilled fight from me, this Saturday", said Shields, of Flint, Mich.
Crews responded almost blow-for-blow but a strong left hook upstairs from Shields got her attention and backed her up toward the center of the ring. "She's coming into this fight fully prepared and I've been training for a KO".
Shields came charging out of her corner and landed a lovely right but an immediate response saw her old rival Crews, known as the "Hard Hitting Diva" pin her on the ropes and land seven overhand rights that all found their target. "If a girl could withstand me for 12 rounds, that would be a good fight".
"I believe 150 percent in my boxing ability", she said before the fight.
"It's not what I wanted but to be called on, last minute, for a fight of this magnitude", Shields said.
Here's the full fight card for the night, along with all the information you need to watch the undercard and catch the pay-per-view via HBO.
The fighter nicknamed T-Rex has yet to sign with a promoter and made Saturday's debut on a one-fight deal with Roc Nation Sports, which backs Ward. "I know I'm a great fighter".
"I am thrilled to take the next big step in my career, fighting professionally and leading the rise of women's boxing worldwide", Shields said in a statement.
Shields said she'd seek to fight again by February. She went through the ringer of press demands for the first time, and her pro debut now is in the books. "I can't control what she does, I just have to let myself go".
She impressed with speed and power, and seemed well beyond her 21 years. Crews demonstrated a tremendous chin but not much else as Shields slammed a thunderous overhand right that clearly buzzed her opponent.
Her charisma is part of the appeal, and she impressively answered some September criticism from Kovalev, who said he didn't like women's boxing and said women should be "home".