Monday, May 29, 2023  |


Role model Heather Hardy fighting for parity

Fighters Network
Photo credit: Ed Diller/DiBella Entertainment

Photo credit: Ed Diller/DiBella Entertainment

To most, the Sunday slot on NBC Sports Network is but another production from the “free boxing” folks at Premier Boxing Champions, the Al Haymon-formed entity, which has been placing boxing on platforms here, there and everywhere for a year-and-a-half.

This Sunday slot is a goosebumps moment, though, for one of the headlining participants of the show (9 p.m. ET/ 6 p.m. PT), 34-year-old Brooklyner Heather Hardy, the evening‘s fight against Shelly Vincent (18-0, 1 knockout) represents a triumph, no matter the outcome, which promises validation.

She won’t traffic in that line of thinking publicly, so much, because, of course, there is a fight to win. Also, zero offense to NBCSN but Hardy, who turned pro in August 2012, is coveting grander stages.

Basically, she’s a breathing example of the stat that shows women earn 77 cents or so for every dollar a man “earns,” for doing the same task.

NBCSN is fab; a “ShoBox” slot would be an honor, but Hardy is aiming and gunning for parity. In prominence of quality of card, of payday, the whole nine.

Achieving that will demand results to aid in convincing the boxing suits what the MMA honchos learned, after starting from a similarly stubborn stance, that women won’t draw. Gina Carano and then Ronda Rousey poked holes in that theory and Hardy is now leading the way in the US to do the same.

She’s been diligent – no, scratch that, wickedly dogged – at snagging mainstream media and sponsors, as you see her face and story regularly in the New York Post and New York Daily News and, right now, she’s featured in a Dove soap campaign. She’s not waiting for an opening, assuming that wisdom and fairness and all that will win out; she’s rabid at dragging ’em to the finish line. She has a 12-year-old daughter for whom she has college hopes. If not Hardy, whom? When?

In the interest of full disclosure, Heather Hardy is seen in my household as a model of perseverance. My nine-year-old daughter Bella throws a vicious right hook, which Hardy taught to her at the famed and fabled Gleason’s Gym in Brooklyn. So, my objectivity can be called into question but my admiration for this fistic feminist cannot.

I checked in with the fighter, who holds a 17-0 (4 KOs) mark, three days out from her violent waltz on the Lou DiBella-promoted event.

“I respectfully ask that all of you reading this on the RING website come out to see me fight on Sunday, which features a full card of solid fights,” Hardy said. “My opponent wants to kick my ass but I WILL be kicking her butt back to Rhode Island. This will be a Brooklyn beatdown. If you haven’t been to a live boxing event, I promise it’s awesome. This event is historic so you have to say you were there. Women’s boxing, back on a big stage. Where we belong.”

Follow Woods on Twitter @Woodsy1069 and check out his Everlast podcast, TALKBOX, on iTunes and Android.