Heather “The Heat” Hardy (22-0, 4 KOs) has long carried the torch for women’s boxing.
Before Claressa Shields splashed on the scene and before anyone cared who pound-for-pound great Cecilia Braekhus was, there was Heather Hardy–perhaps not globally, but definitely in the United States.
Hardy has dabbled in MMA, going 2-1 in her first three fights with Bellator. But, Hardy is at a point where she knows she only has a year and some change left in her tank and she’s contemplating whether she should make the full-time switch from boxing to MMA.
In a recent interview with Bloody Elbow, Hardy admitted that she can’t be her best at MMA or boxing without fully committing to one or the other.
“The biggest challenge is bouncing back-and-forth. To have to readjust to boxing and readjust back to MMA,” said Hardy. “I can’t expect to go very far with either sport bouncing back-and-forth.”
While Hardy has been on some of boxing’s biggest stages–including televised fights on the Premier Boxing Champions and HBO platforms–boxing has all but turned its back on the former First Lady of DiBella Entertainment.
“I’m not really promoted in boxing right now and it’s a dangerous sport to be in when you’re not protected” said Hardy. “It’s been on my mind heavy. Do I just want to sink in. If Bellator is going to invest in me, do I want to sink in the last year-and-a-half or so seeing how far I can get. Not just doing one fight here and there, but actually moving up the ranks. It’s a decision I’ll have to sit down with my team and think about after this fight.”
Hardy also seems tired of fighting through the politics of boxing.
“The truth of the matter is if Ruiz didn’t knock out Joshua, he wasn’t winning the fight. I think everyone knows that. He could’ve knocked him down eight times, but if that fight went to a decision, Joshua was leaving with those belts. Boxing is a business before it’s a sport,” she argued. “No business is run as dirty as boxing.
Regardless of whether Hardy decides to hang up the boxing gloves or not, she’ll always be remembered as a pioneer of the sport around these parts.