She has a boxer's story: a troubled childhood, a brother in prison, a father who took up the sport to stay out of trouble yet couldn't watch her fight at the Olympics because of a criminal record of his own.
Claressa Shields walked into the gym around the corner from her house in Flint. Mich., six short years ago, trying to cope with more heartache than an 11-year-old should. As she stood in the corridor of an arena half-a-world away, beads of sweat glistened between her braids, her smile every bit as bright as the gold medal dangling from her neck. The words poured out in torrents.
''I haven't been home a lot. I know I must have a lot of publicity. I might go in history books,'' she began. ''People are going to look at me as an inspiration. ... I'll be able to help my family out. And then I got a gold medal I can wear every day.''
''Probably the first year,'' she replied, pinching it between her fingers to be certain it was still there. ''You know, there might be som...