By: Hans Themistode
When you play sports, there is a winner and a loser. There is simply no way around it.
Sure you can have rare instances where the game ends in a tie, but even then, there is a winner and a loser. It doesn’t matter if that contest was close or just a blow out. Someone has to feel the pain of losing.
Former WBO Featherweight champion Heather Hardy entered the ring on Friday September 13th, against Amanda Serrano as an underdog. A big one. Serrano was a seven division world champion and arguably the best female fighter around.
For as good as Hardy has been in her career, she was never thought to be on that level.
When the two signed on the dotted line to face each other, many were wondering out loud, just what round would Hardy get knocked out in? Thoughts of her pulling off the victory were non existent.
After building up their fight for quite sometime, the night finally arrived.
Many who watched Hardy walk to the ring couldn’t help but feel sorry for the 37 year old. She was walking straight into an ass kicking. When the opening bell rang, it was exactly what happened.
Hardy, who is normally a slick boxer and avoids major shots, was hit with everything in that opening round. Serrano, knocked her around the ring and made it apparent that Hardy was not in her league. Hardy did her best to fight back but the onslaught was too much. She spent the majority of that round with her hands up simply trying to stay up right as she staggered across the ring. A cut opened up on her right hairline, a bad one. You could hear screams from the crowd asking the referee to stop the fight.
Some how Hardy made it out of the round, but no one at that point thought the fight would last much longer.
Fighters understand when they are outclassed in the ring and often times accept defeat. Hardy could have easily bowed out gracefully and realized that she wasn’t going to win that fight.
Maybe that’s what you would do, but not Heather Hardy.
Round two was a whole different story. Hardy got more comfortable and confident in the ring. She landed a few nice shots and got back to slipping punches. She had clearly found her rhythm. The screams from the crowd that were asking the referee to stop the fight, turned into cheers for Hardy and her efforts.
Current WBA Super Middleweight champion Alicia Napoleon couldn’t stay in her seat. She constantly paced back and forth in media row cheering her friend Heather on.
Based on how the first round went, it was amazing to see that Hardy made so many adjustments in the ring. She no longer wanted to sit back and let Serrano bring the fight to her. Instead, much like her nickname, she brought the “Heat” all night long.
Serrano looked some what exasperated. How could a woman who seemingly had nothing to offer in the first round be so invigorated as the contest went on? That’s just how Heather Hardy is.
When the final bell rang, everyone knew that Serrano won that contest. She was the better fighter and she showed as much on fight night, but Hardy showed that she belonged.
The end result of the contest resulted in Hardy losing her Featherweight title. Something she had worked her whole career to obtain. She also lost her undefeated record as well.
It may have been a loss on paper but Hardy has already won.
Throughout the entire career of Hardy she has fought for all women and equality. Before Hardy came along, women’s boxing was often times cast aside. Now? It has earned the respect of many. Women have such as Claressa Shields and Katie Taylor have headlined shows on major networks, you think that is a coincidence? Not at all. It’s because of Hardy.
Women’s boxing may not and most likely will not ever get the same fame and adulation as the men do, but thanks to Hardy they are getting more and more opportunities.
Hardy could have sat back with her title and faced a lesser opponent. She could have milked her title and walked around with her championship for years to come, but that isn’t what she wanted.
“Risk over Regret.” Are the words that Hardy wrote on her Instagram post. Those are words that we should all live by.
Her title might be gone and her precious 0 in the loss column is also, but Hardy is forever a winner.
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