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Do Heather Hardy and Shelly Vincent still hate each other?

Heather Hardy (white/blue) lands a left hand against Shelly Vincent at Coney Island's Ford Amphitheater in the Brooklyn borough of New York City on August 21, 2016. Hardy would win by majority decision. Photo by Edward Diller/Getty Images

The best way to hype a fight is to show the fans that bad blood exists between its combatants.

When hatred is evinced, violence is promised.

When two people obviously dislike each other and are publicly willing to advertise that fact, it doesn’t guarantee a fight will be a classic but it’s a good start. Anger breeds passion and passion can transform regular people into supernatural versions of themselves.

Two years ago, Shelly Vincent (23-1, 1 knockout) and Heather Hardy did a good job convincing fans that there was no love lost between them. Now I think it’s fair to say that more of the ire bubbled up from Vincent’s side; after all, she showed up a time or two at Hardy fights and talked trash to the Brooklyn-based hitter. Hardy was mostly bemused but her Irish blood reached a boil before reducing to a healthy simmer, going into their August 2016 face-off at Coney Island, on a card put together by Lou DiBella, portions of which ran on NBC cable.

That card, topped by current IBF welterweight titlist Errol Spence Jr., did a superb number and so, naturally, some observers like this writer brought up a most natural plan of attack moving forward: How about a Vincent vs. Hardy rematch?

After some twists, turns and detours, here we are.

However Hardy says this time is different. That is because she and Vincent did something that brought them closer together. No, they didn’t bury the hatchet with a sitdown…they fought it out. Ten rounds, they did, and so they are bonded in a strange way that we on the outside can never know.

Hardy (21-0, 4 KOs), 36, has been bouncing back and forth between the mixed martial arts world and boxing’s squared circle. She recalled that Vincent hated her, “She genuinely did,” in the lead-up to the first fight, which saw Hardy emerge with a majority decision. This time, they will collide on October 27, for the vacant WBO female featherweight title, at the Madison Square Garden Theater, on a card topped by Danny Jacobs vs. Sergey Derevyanchenko. “When you do 10 rounds with someone, 10 rounds the way her and I did 10 rounds, our souls came out,” Hardy said. “Our souls came out in that ring. I don’t care; she can go in front of a thousand cameras and she can say she hates me. She’ll never lie to my eyes, when she looks at me. She respects me – she can’t not respect me, not after that fight. I respect her…I don’t really like her that much but I respect her. And it’s a different thing. You can’t do 10 rounds like that and not have something.”

My three cents: No one should think, because these two cemented a bond, that it won’t be rumble time in NYC, October 27. To the contrary, I’m still hopeful that our friends at HBO do the right thing and continue the theme they began when they put Cecilia Breakhus on their air. No reason, in my mind, not to let the masses see Hardy and Vincent glove up and again show that women are equipped for combat and can deliver superb bang for the buck.




Follow Michael Woods on Twitter @Woodsy1069.




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