Coney Island, Brooklyn - On the same day that Flint, Michigan's Claressa Shields won her second consecutive Olympic Gold medal for the U.S., women's boxing was given another great platform as Brooklyn's Heather "The Heat" Hardy (18-0, 4 KOs) earned a majority decision over previously unbeaten Shelly "Shelito's Way" Vincent (18-1, 1 KO) in their 10-round bout.
"This is definitely a win for women's boxing," said Hardy. "We kept up a great pace throughout and the fans were invested the whole time."
The action was non-stop from the beginning, as Vincent charged in early and often looking to close the distance between her and the taller Hardy. Hardy was the more mobile fighter as she circled the ring looking to find the right distance to attack the Providence-native.
"Every time she crowded me, she would get off more punches," said Hardy. "I wanted to keep the fight on the outside and when I did that I had a lot of success."
The longtime rivals were able to live up the hype that their matchup drew. The action was non-stop and it appeared that neither woman would be able to build a big lead on the scorecards.
Hardy's movement allowed her to create more angles for her attack as she varied her offense with overhand rights, jabs and hooks. Vincent was consistent countering, especially with her left hand that yielded much success.
The punch stats reflected the exciting nature of the fight as Hardy threw 752 punches while Shelly threw 678 across 10 two-minute rounds. It was Hardy who had the advantage in punches landed as she connected on 251 punches compared to 194 for Vincent.
"I thought I won the fight pretty convincingly," said Hardy. "She only really caught me a few times the whole fight. I knew I had to be tactical to win the fight. Judging by the belt around my waist, I would rate my performance a 10."
Power punches were a key to the fight, with the two combatants combining for 955 power punches thrown. Hardy's biggest advantage came in this department as she landed over 50 percent of her power shots to 34 percent from Vincent.
In the end, the judges ruled the bout a majority decision for Hardy by scores of 99-91, 97-93 and 95-95. Vincent believed she had done enough to win the fight and expressed her displeasure with the judges scores afterwards
"I definitely thought I won the fight," said Vincent. "I was coming forward and I landed the bigger shots. Everyone saw the fight.
"I got head-butted all night long. I came here and everybody told me I'd get robbed. I'll take the rematch but I'm not playing by these rules. I want her to come up to Providence."