- Outpointed Sugar Ray Leonard to win the 1973 National AAU Light Welterweight Championship.
- Lost to Sugar Ray Leonard by a ten-round unanimous decision on October 6, 1978.
- Challenged Pipino Cuevas for the WBA Welterweight Championship on July 30, 1979, and lost by a fifteen-round unanimous decision. Shields lost by just one point on two of the three official scorecards. He was the only fighter to go the distance with Cuevas in eleven successful title defenses.
- Won the vacant NABF Welterweight Championship in 1980.
- Challenged Thomas Hearns for the WBA Welterweight Championship on April 25, 1981, and was stopped on cuts after twelve rounds.
- Inducted into the California Boxing Hall of Fame in 2006.