Editorials

Heather Hardy and Shelly Vincent Come Face to Face as Grudge Match Looms

Vincent Domsodi RBR (14)
Photo by Marilyn Paulino/RBRBoxing

This past Wednesday, January 27, 2016, Shelly “Shelito’s Way” Vincent (16-0, 1 KO) and Heather “The Heat” Hardy (15-0, 3 KOs) came face to face after Vincent’s six-round unanimous decision victory over Renata Domsodi.

The fight was Vincent’s first as part of Lou DiBella’s DiBella Entertainment promotional outfit, the same company that promotes Hardy.

Hardy, who also beat Domsodi by decision in August of 2015, stepped into the ring to hype up the bad-blood matchup that’s been simmering for quite some time.

For the better part of three years, Vincent has been doing the majority of the talking, insisting that Hardy has been avoiding a fight. But with both women now fighting under DiBella Entertainment and a clash seemingly closer than ever, Hardy has stepped up with some choice words of her own.

“I couldn’t care less about her,” said Hardy. “From the beginning I saw exactly what she was doing and if she wants to use me to get to the spotlight, I really don’t give a shit.”

With a fan-friendly style and the ability to put butts in the seats, The Heat has garnered tons of attention as DiBella Entertainment’s “First Lady” of boxing.

The reigning UBF and WBC International Super Bantamweight champion is not short on accolades either, having won the 2011 Nationals and the 2012 Golden Gloves while also having been featured in the first women’s boxing match at Brooklyn’s Barclays Center.

But for quite some time there has been a rivalry brewing between the mainstream darling Hardy and the less-heralded Vincent.

Vincent, who has an incredible backstory, packs venues and has won titles, hasn’t enjoyed the same big-time notoriety as Hardy.

“She fights mostly 112 [pound] girls that come up to her and has been blessed with a few gifts [decisions]. Jackie Trivilino being one of the worst robberies I’ve seen. The whole crowd was booing,” said Vincent.

Hardy feels that the hostility Vincent has towards her is rooted in jealously.

“I believe her animosity stems from the fact that she’s a less recognized fighter with more fights and an equally impressive record,” said Hardy.

[otw_shortcode_quote border=”bordered” border_style=”bordered”]She doesn’t hate me, as much as she wants to be me. She’s not brave or unique. She’s trying to ride my coattail. – Heather Hardy[/otw_shortcode_quote]

Vincent–who has publicly blasted Hardy for years–feels that Hardy’s rise is partly due to typical marketing ploys.

“I think they padded her [record],” said Vincent. “That is typical boxing, they market the blue eyes and blonde hair. She’s cocky and never fought anyone.”

Vincent notes that her most recent victory over Domsodi was her first fight since suffering a back injury and that she trained less than two weeks for the match.

“I was coming off a back injury and only trained 10 days for that fight. They ain’t even see the real monster,” said Vincent. “I heard people saying in the crowd after my fight, ‘Damn, Shelito is going to kill Heather.'”

No one has ever accused Hardy or Vincent of being in a boring fight, so on top of the deep-seeded animosity that is present, the styles would make for an exciting fight.

Neither fighter is at a loss for words and each one knows just how important this grudge match is for the sport.

[otw_shortcode_quote border=”bordered” border_style=”bordered”]She is undefeated and so am I. It’s Boston vs. New York, Paz and Haugen, Game 7 of the series. It’s Ward vs. Gatti, it’s Beauty and the Beast. We both sell heavy and have made huge strides in women’s boxing. – Shelly Vincent[/otw_shortcode_quote]

Vincent Domsodi RBR (15)
Photo by Marilyn Paulino/RBRBoxing

“My career hasn’t been built around her, though I’m not sure she can say the same,” said Hardy. “I do believe it [a fight versus Vincent] is important for female boxing though. It has all the tangibles to be a great pitch for a TV fight, a way to break females back on the scene and open the door for some of the other talent that is out there.”

DiBella, who is diligently working to get the fight done, seems to be on board with the television idea as well.

“I want to see women’s boxing get on TV in 2016,” said DiBella (via WomensBoxing.com). “There are a lot of women out there who are really, really talented… So I’d like to see women’s boxing get an opportunity to be seen.”

Indeed, with the story lines and personalities involved, it seems as though this fight could really garner public interest–with the proper promotion, of course.

“You don’t have to be loved,” said DiBella (via The Wall Street Journal). “Not everybody has to love you. They have to care about you. Not everyone has to watch you to see you win. If some people want to watch you to see you lose, that sells just as many tickets.”

Both women seem up to the task and have already put on their promotional hats.

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