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Heather Hardy talks May 14 return, potential retirement

Former champion also revisits loss to Amanda Serrano and discusses barriers for women in boxing

Photo by Bilgin S. Sasmaz/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images

In an interview with Cynthia Conte ahead of her May 14 return to the ring, former super-bantam and featherweight champion Heather Hardy broke down her last fight against Amanda Serrano and reflected on the income gap for women in boxing.

On loss to Amanda Serrano and why she’s not thinking about a rematch

“I knew that was going to be a very difficult fight for me to win, but I still thought I could do it. ‘I’m gonna do it, I’m gonna shock the world, I’m strong enough I’m tough enough,’ but technique prevailed, and she showed why she is who she is, a seven-division world champion.

“I don’t think I deserve a rematch, but it’s in her court. We don’t have the fans asking for it. I would love a rematch at 135 where I feel a little bit more comfortable, but I know I don’t ‘deserve’ one, to be calling her out for one right now.”

On illness and postponement of Broadway Boxing Presents: Ladies Fight from April 23 to May 14

“Nobody really knew what was wrong with me. I Covid tested negative five different times, but I was so sick for almost two weeks; fever, couldn’t get in the gym, couldn’t get out of bed, couldn’t go to work. I was completely out of it.”

On her opponent Jessica Camara and cutting weight at 135

“She’s a very technical fighter, and she’s a natural lightweight. So this will be my first time going up against someone with that kind of weight behind them. Right now I feel really strong. I’m only a pound and a half off weight, usually I wake up weigh-in morning a pound and a half off. I could make weight tomorrow.”

On potential retirement

“You gotta love it (boxing) and wanna do it. I told myself I’m not gonna make a decision till after the fight. There’s nothing like walking into a ring and going toe-to-toe with someone. If I don’t feel that passion through it, then it just don’t make sense to me.”

On gender inequality in boxing

“There’s a blueprint for making a boxer successful, and women are not brought up on that blueprint. There’s sexism built into the sport of boxing that prevents women from being marketed, from being publicly seen, and from being paid as much as men. And then that system is being used against us: ‘Well you’re not marketable, well you don’t do this, don’t do that...’ But the truth is we’re not being brought up the same way.

“If you have a male fighter, there’s two ways he can go: he can be a cash cow, or he’s gonna be a B-side fighter. Either one of those guys has a blueprint. If he’s a B-side fighter, keep him in the little fights, let him build up his record. If he’s a money fighter, we’re gonna bring him up nice and slow. Introduce him to the public on small shows, then we’re gonna put him on the undercard of a big show, then we’re gonna put him on the main event as the first opener. Start letting people see talent, match him up right.

“They don’t do that with girls. You got girls becoming undisputed champions on Thursday nights, or the undercard of someone else’s show. Until they start treating girls coming out of the amateurs in the same fashion they do with men, then we’re always gonna be like this. We gotta look pretty, or ‘have a story.’ They don’t ask that of these guys, they just put their boxing on display when they know it needs to be seen. It’s built into the sport.”