Shields’ brother takes plea deal in trainer attack
Artis Mack, the older brother of undisputed women’s middleweight and unified junior middleweight world champion Claressa Shields, reached a plea deal on Monday in the shocking weigh-in attack on James Ali Bashir, the trainer of a Shields opponent.
Mack, 28, pleaded guilty to one count of misdemeanor aggravated assault in the 67th District Court of Genesee County of Michigan, a court representative confirmed to ESPN. Mack faces a March 10 sentencing of one year in county jail and/or a $1,000 fine, the spokesperson said.
Shields was scheduled to fight Ivana Habazin for two vacant women’s junior middleweight world titles in a Showtime-televised main event on Oct. 5 at the Dort Federal Event Center in Shields’ hometown of Flint, Michigan. However, at the weigh-in on Oct. 4, Mack attacked the 68-year-old Bashir and seriously injured him.
With Bashir hospitalized with head and facial injuries — and unable to be in Habazin’s corner — the fight was called off.
Mack was later arrested and charged with one count of assault with intent to do great bodily harm less than murder. Mack eventually pleaded guilty to the lesser charge on Monday.
“It was bad for the city, bad for his sister and certainly bad for everybody involved. Hopefully this will put an end to it,” Mack’s attorney Frank Manley told MLive.com.
Bashir attorney Brent Leder told ESPN he and his client were not happy with the plea deal.
“On behalf of Mr. Bashir, to say that he is shocked at the leniency shown to Artis Mack is an understatement,” Leder said. “Mr. Bashir suffered serious injuries and is still dealing with ongoing trauma from the assault by Artis Mack. A 28-year-old violent criminal, who had no business being a representative of Claressa Shields at this event, attacked a man 40 years his senior. There is no excuse for those actions. Mr. Bashir is appalled at the prosecutor’s office [for] offering a plea deal without even bothering to conduct a preliminary examination where Mr. Bashir would have had an opportunity to put his testimony on the record.”
Shields’ fight with Habazin was rescheduled for Jan. 10 in Atlantic City, New Jersey, and Shields handily outpointed her by near-shutout decision to win the two vacant 154-pound belts. Bashir, who is still recovering from injuries suffered in the attack, was on site and wrapped Habazin’s hands but was unable to train her for the fight and did not work her corner, leaving that instead to former pro welterweight Steve Upsher Chambers.
While the criminal case against Mack may be over, Bashir still has a civil lawsuit pending against him and others in Michigan’s Wayne County Circuit Court. He is suing Mack, Shields, T-Rex Promotions, Salita Promotions and promoter Dmitriy Salita’s other companies, according to Leder.
ESPN’s Steve Kim contributed to this report.