On Saturday night, Oct. 27, Heather Hardy will be doing something that she knows she can look back on, in ten, twenty, as many years as she has left on this planet.
She will be doing what she was born to do, fight, but this scrap, it’s more than a little bit different.
That’s because, as you may have heard, Hardy, the 36 year old Brooklyn-bred fighter, will be fighting Shelly Vincent at the Madison Square Garden Theater, and her battle will screen on HBO.
Hardy owns a 21-0 record in boxing, and also does MMA. And she also trains regular Joes and Janes in boxing, to supplement the income she makes from fighting. And yes, she is still doing that work, on the side, because Con Ed doesn’t accept endorsements from fans and media in lieu of paying the electric bill.
But that bill, and yeah, maybe the cable charge too will get paid in timely fashion this week, because of a gesture from someone who didn’t have to do what he did. HBO boxing boss Peter Nelson reached into his own pocket, Hardy told me, and wrote a check to Heather and also Shelly.
Not from the HBO budget, the money came from his personal account. And Hardy is exceedingly grateful for the act.
“That the fight is on HBO doesn’t make it any more of a must win for me,” the fighter told me. “Whether it’s on HBO, or in the MSG Theater, or the theater at LIU, every fight is a must win for me. But ten years from now, I can look back on everything that I fought so hard for and know that it all came true.
“And Peter’s action is meaningful to me. Here is an executive, a guy with nothing to lose or gain, paying at his own expense. That’s bravery. Last broadcast or not, this is a situation where a powerful person, who people listen to, insisted on change. Someone in power speaking up for change. Feminism needs strong men,” Hardy said, in summation.
My three cents: Hardy sees this move by Nelson within the bigger picture. As we see the #MeToo movement playing out in real time, and people taking sides, some with the President who publicly mocked the woman who went public with the allegation that the man nominated to fill a Supreme Court vacancy sexually assaulted her in 1982, Hardy notes that people with platforms and megaphones need to be vocal. Amen, I say; anyone reading this probably knows that I blur the lines and often talk politics on my Twitter account, and sometimes in my stories. And that isn’t a universally popular move. Now and again, I hear from someone who asks me to stay in my lane. “Stick to boxing, baldy.” And I try to listen to all voices and consider respectfully well meaning persons. But I stand with Hardy—I have a bit of a platform and megaphone and so I try to use them wisely and kindly. That means sticking up for the Have Nots, calling out the exploitative and immoral power brokers who seek to enrich themselves at the expense of the less powerful…and yes, maybe turning off some potential readers or listeners who don’t wish to listen to that material while seeking boxing news and opinion.