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Big Stage Scuffle: Heather Hardy on NBCSN Aug 21

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Big Stage Scuffle: Heather Hardy on NBCSN Aug 21

The fighting pride of Gerritsen Beach, Brooklyn, Heather Hardy, is booked into the most high profile scrap of her professional career, as she'll tangle with Rhode Island rumbler Shelly Vincent on Aug 21, in Coney Island, the summer season hotspot.

Hardy, fighting out of Gleason's Gym in DUMBO, is going to scrap with Vincent, in a faceoff of unbeaten pugilists.

They'd been eyeing each other for a couple years, and both fight under the Lou Dibella promotional umbrella.

The Aug 21 event is a PBC/Dibella formulation, and will unfold at the Ford Amphitheater, which is a new facility, and part of the Barclays Center family of buildings. An Errol Spence exhibition tops the card; the Texan seeks to dismantle Leonard Bundu in a more decisive fashion than fellow welter ace Keith Thurman did in 2014.

Hardy (17-0) told NYF how she views this assignment. “I won't say this is the fight of my life, because there's still so much I want to do in this sport. This is a step forward for me, a step up and over just like my last 17 fights. I will give it no less than the 110% I've given every other girl I step in there with.”

The hitter has drawn accolades with her sharp rise in prominence and the ferocious advocacy she's engaged in to gain generous stages for female fights. She's noted that the MMA world has taken to female fighting, bigtime, and regularly, women headline UFC events and draw copious eyeballs.

This clash has been in the formative stage since well over a year ago. Vincent (18-0) has talked trash, attended Hardy fights, promised to KO her. The Gleason's boxer, who is currently appearing in a DOVE soap campaign, has basically shrugged off the yapping and stayed classy. I asked her about the Vincent method of barking like a lady Trump. “Trash talk just hypes it up,” Hardy said. “I don't know why she doesn't like me but I really don't give a fuck. She can hate me, or hang my fucking posters above her bed, I'm still about to beat that ass.”

My take: I expect this fight, to screen on NBC Sports Network, to open the doors to a new era of pronounce for female boxing in the US. With Claressa Shields expected to be a standout performer at the Rio Olympics, with power hitter Amanda Serrano also getting it done on the Dibella roster, with Hardy's compelling back story and status as a role model to girls and women who weren't born in third base thinking they've hit a triple, the time is now, and it's the right time for this push.

Editor/publisher Michael Woods got addicted to boxing in 1990, when Buster Douglas shocked the world with his demolition of the thought to be impregnable Mike Tyson. The Brooklyn-based journalist Woods has covered the sport since then, for ESPN The Magazine, ESPN.com, ESPN New York, RING, and he was editor of TheSweetScience.com from 2007-2015. Woods is also an accomplished blow by blow and color man, having done work for Top Rank, DiBella Entertainment, EPIX, and for Facebook Fightnight Live since 2017. He now does work for PROBOX TV, the first truly global boxing network.