The 41-year-old Nelson (17-1-3, 1 KO), who won a middleweight world title in 2011 but had only fought twice since June 2015, lost for the first time in her career.
All three judges scored the fight 100-90 for Shields, the 22-year-old two-time Olympic champion.
Each of the three judges scored the fight 100-90 for Shields (5-0, 2 KOs), of Flint, Michigan, who was almost 20 years younger than her opponent.
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Shields' victory was televised on Showtime, with the MI fighter becoming the first woman to headline a fight card on premium cable, having done so in March and again in August 2017. Showtime (live stream) will broadcast this much-anticipated bout live from the Turning Stone Resort Casino in Verona, New York. She's also the only American, male or female, to win a boxing gold medal since Andre Ward captured one at Athens in 2004.
While not inept by any means, she simply couldn't match Shields for speed, accuracy, power, endurance and pure skill. Nelson signaled "no big deal" with a dismissive shake of her head.
Shields continued to land against Nelson during the sixth round, but couldn't hurt her older, slower opponent. "I can't wait to show the fans who Christina Hammer is". Hammer told Showtime's Steve Farhood during a pre-fight interview that she expects to fight on Shields' undercard in April and hopes to defend her titles against Shields in her following fight if they both win. The difference in class was evident as Shields did as she pleased in style. "She definitely did what I thought she was going to do, be aggressive, try to pin me against the ropes".