They started out just like they finished in their first rumble at Coney Island, in the main event for many of the fans in the Hulu Theater at MSG in NYC.
Heather Hardy and Shelly Vincent renewed acquaintances in frenzied fashion, but it was Hardy’s smart boxing, better ring generalship and stamina edge late which helped her get the love from the judges after ten rounds of high-volume battling.
By scores of 97-93, 97-93 and 98-91, Hardy had her hand raised to the delight of her rooting crew from Gerritsen Beach, Brooklyn.
The two, who engaged in some fairly vicious trash talk before their 2016 tango, which morphed into grudging respect leading into this one, hugged it out after this waltz.
Hardy came in to vie for the vacant WBO featherweight crown with a 21-0 mark, while Vincent was 23-1, the lone loss to Hardy.
In the first, Shelly had luck with the left hook up high, while Hardy’s volume perhaps got the judge love. It was high energy from the get go. Shelly was moving smartly, and trying t get off and get out.
In the second, Hardy looked to pump the jab. And Shelly kept seeking a home for the left hook to the head.
In the third, Hardy planted her feet and looked to land with authority. She started using her feet more, and again, there wasn’t much room between the two from a judges’ standpoint.
In the fourth, Shelly sought to crowd Hardy early. They were grappling and brawling, in tight and nasty. Hardy landed a right underneath to end the round. The judges had to be paying attention, the pace was frenetic.
In the fifth, Hardy heard advice from trainer Devon Cormac and nodded. She did good body work and Vincent crowded her and wanted to land that hook. The mouse on Hardy’s right eye was getting more pronounced.
In the sixth, it was the same as before, an ultra tight affair.
In the seventh, Hardy was smart boxing, her conditioning was serving her well. Then her left eye cut open, on the brow. Replay showed a head butt.
In the eighth, Hardy again was smartly getting angles. She was using feints, turning Shelly, pivoting. That was Hardy’s clearest round.
In the ninth, Hardy seemed the fresher fighter. She was moving and slipping and taking the round. To round ten; Hardy’s movement made her the better ring general, and bang, a right hand to the body slammed home. We’d go to the cards…