The squeaky wheel got the grease and yes, the old adage holds true.
Heather Hardy played the part of the “squeaky wheel,” and the Brooklyn-based hitter was exultant on Wednesday, when she learned that her October 27 rematch with Shelly Vincent would be shown on HBO, as part of a triple, not double header.
Hardy lobbied HBO boxing boss Peter Nelson, following up with her promoter, Lou DiBella, who has been asking Nelson for months to place the Hardy vs Vincent, NYC vs Rhode Island tango, on the cabler.
So, how’d this development play out?
“I did it, Mike Woods,” Hardy messaged me when it came out that her fight would make air. “Lou called me and just said, ‘Congratulations.’
“And Lou said, ‘Did you contact Peter Nelson (the HBO sports boss)? And I thought I was in trouble! But I took a shot, man.”
And I wouldn’t put it past her to steal the show, her and Vincent.
“I will make sure I do and settle for nothing less,” Hardy declared.
DiBella fleshed out his feelings on this reversal from the HBO gang.
“I’m very happy Peter was so responsive to her communication,” the promoter told me. “We know it was great fight the first time, it was the female fight of the year for RING in 2016. If Amanda Serrano and the girls of her ilk are pound-for-pound in the women’s boxing world then Heather and Shelly are fighting in the Gatti-Ward vein.
“They threw down the first time, it attracted a crowd and they deserve to have it televised. It’s admirable on the way out HBO reversed course. The purses aren’t going up appreciably but because HBO is televising it they will get a sponsorship money bump because it will be on HBO. More importantly, it’s a competitive, fun female fight showcased on premium cable. A lot of these ladies out there, Heather is a perfect example, Alicia Napoleon is another example, there are a load of women beating the drums, saying ‘give us an opportunity, this is the 21st century, let’s create platforms for women.’
“You’ve got to take joy in the small victories…this isn’t changing the economic lives for them…but the winner gets more opportunities, and if it’s a great fight the loser lives on to fight again, because it was seen on HBO… this is good for women’s boxing, if this turns out to be an entertaining fight, it helps the genre. I do understand that, say, an Amanda Serrano is frustrated, but she’s about to get (a larger opportunity), you have to work at it, work at it with optimism, take joys in the small victory. Hardy on HBO, women’s boxing can continue to be able to build on this.”
Not to mention, Cindy Serrano on October 20 gets her career high payday, in fighting Katie Taylor on a DAZN card in Boston, so the Hardy-Vincent ness isn’t an isolated occurrence — this is part of a push.
“It’s a nice gesture for the ladies and important for two women in particular,” DiBella said, “both survivors who’ve surpassed a lot of obstacles in life.”
For the record, after Hardy shared how DiBella broke her the news, she then messaged me this:
My three cents: There’s lots of effed up news out and about, if you follow that stuff. The Dr. Ford testimony, the President then publicly mocking the woman who bravely sat and shared her tale of terror and sadness, that stuff has been triggering many, many, many women these past couple weeks. Women you know are holding in deep seated feelings of shame and anger and sadness, because they’ve been assaulted and don’t care to share, or have shared and then see people in power mock other survivors. Hardy has been public with her ordeal and the continuing lingering pain that sticks with people who’ve been assaulted. This news, this win, it comes at a good time. And people who look up to Hardy can take a measure of satisfaction as well, because she is proving yet again that if you persist, you can defy the odds and rise above trauma and ebbs in your life.
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