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Savannah Marshall: “If I can’t get through Franchon Crews, what am I doing in the sport?”  | Boxing News

“This could be the last time,” sang the Rolling Stones in their pomp.

Could this be the last time too for Savannah Marshall despite her, seemingly, being at her peak?

Her desire has been called into questioned by the defending super-middleweight champion she faces across the ring at the Manchester Arena on Saturday, Franchon Crews-Dezurn.

The American had claimed in a very lively build-up to the showdown that the Hartlepool boxer “doesn’t want to fight”.

You, of course, assume that means her not wanting to fight full stop, rather than inferring she won’t engage inside the ropes.

“I don’t know where all that’s come from,” said Marshall who has come through a strenuous training camp under coach Peter Fury.

“Nobody knows me and how hard I’m training and what I go through.

“If I didn’t want to be here I wouldn’t be here, that’s the way I am.”

However, she was frank enough to admit that if she can’t get the better of the 36-year-old, from Baltimore, and leaves empty handed on Saturday night that may well be it.

“Maybe yeah, maybe,” she conceded.

“If I can’t get through Franchon Crews, what am I doing in the sport?

“There’s not that many women compete at this higher level. I got beat by Claressa so if I got beaten by Franchon, where else is there for me to go?”

The pressure is therefore very much on the 32-year-old shoulders of the champion.

And her promoter, Ben Shalom, told Boxing News that he is confident his leading female star will not fluff her lines in a role he describes as a “must-win.”.

“I think she’ll cope a huge amount better than she did in October,” said Boxxer’s CEO.

“She’s ready for this, there is more on this fight than there was against Claressa.

“When she lost to Claressa I think we all knew Shields was considered to be the best female on the planet.

“Defeat would not mean the end of her career, don’t get me wrong, but to stay at the elite level of the sport, this is a must-win fight.”

Shalom gave something of a politician’s answer when asked by BN about the length of Marshall’s stay with Boxxer.

“I think she’ll retire with us, I’m pretty confident of that.

“With Savannah I think she is far from the end of her career but she needs to win on Saturday night. I think she will win.”

The two main protagonists were involved in a boisterous exchange on stage after the weigh-in at New Century Hall.

In contrast, it was peace and love between Natasha Jonas and Kandi Wyatt and there is not a thought of retirement in the mind of Liverpool’s boxer of the year, who will attempt to become a two-weight world champion on the show.

The IBF title is on the line in the GB v Canada contest in what could be a prelude for a Jonas v Katie Taylor re-match or a clash with her old GB team-mate, Chantelle Cameron.

Jonas is a couple of weeks into her 40th year, but is loving the late flourish to her career.

“I’m going to ride this car until the wheels fall off,” she laughed.

Not the last time for Jonas then, but for Marshall she must find the necessary drive.

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