Female Boxer Heather Hardy Is One Tough Mother

Categories: Boxing, Photos

All photos by Dave Gershgorn
Heather Hardy, center, with her ten-year-old daughter, Annie, on the left and her corner-man, on the right, just before her bout in October
Boxer Heather Hardy's reputation in the ring is that she's tenacious and unrelenting. It's not undeserved: She holds a 12-0 record in professional fights. But outside the ring, Hardy, a native of Gerritsen Beach, Brooklyn, is a single mother of a ten-year-old daughter, Annie. By day, she's a trainer at Gleason's Gym. Back in October, Hardy, nicknamed "The Heat," won the WBC International female super bantamweight title, defeating Crystal Hoy in a fight held at B.B. King Blues Club & Grill in midtown.

The below photo essay follows Hardy everywhere during the weeks before that title bout.

Hardy's next fight is this Saturday against Renata Domsodi at the Barclays Center. They are the only two females on the card, headlined by Ryan Burnett fighting Stephon McIntyre. Hardy was one of the first two females to fight at the Barclays Center, doing so in June 2014. She hopes that her continued presence, and ticket sales, will sway Barclays to bring on more female fighters.

"[Gleason's Gym president] Bruce Silverglade used to say that when he goes to the bank and gives them the money, they don't ask him if it came from a man or a woman," Hardy told Team LeftJab Boxing Radio in March.

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Sergio Martinez Credits Miguel Cotto, and Not Bad Knee, For Lopsided Loss at MSG

Albert Samaha
Miguel Cotto entered the ring without music or lights.
After the fight, after Miguel Cotto dominated Sergio Martinez for nine rounds at Madison Square Garden, a man in a suit stood behind a podium to tell the gathered media that Martinez would not be attending the press conference because he had to go to the hospital for a precautionary check-up. Martinez, the man added, did want to pass along a message, though.

"The one thing he wanted me to tell you was there is no excuse," the man said. "There was no problem with his knee. There was no problem with his hand. He got caught with a great punch in the first round and he never recovered. He wanted everybody to know this was Miguel Cotto's night, this was Miguel Cotto's victory. Miguel Cotto is a great champion."

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Luis Collazo Falls to Amir Khan in One-Sided Unanimous Decision

Khan controlled the fight from the start, handing Collazo his sixth loss.

There was a moment late in the fight when it looked like Luis Collazo had a shot. By the eighth round he knew he could only win by knock out so he let his hands go and caught Amir Khan with a left hook that staggered him.

As the ninth began, Khan was on the defensive, avoiding the exchanges as Collazo stalked him around the ring. Khan had been masterful for the first seven rounds, aggressive but precise, landing power punches with ease and gliding away before Collazo could return fire. But now Khan seemed winded, or satisfied, or perhaps just very cautious.

Then in the tenth round, Khan knocked Collazo down twice. The fight went all 12 rounds and Khan won in a one-sided unanimous decision.

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Luis Collazo Rose From a Dark Place Before Fighting His Way to Amir Khan Bout

Collazo at a weigh-in before his fight with Victor Ortiz (Watch video).
On October 15, 2011, Luis Collazo lost to Freddy Hernandez in a unanimous decision. At this point, his once-promising boxing career was in shatters. He'd become WBA World Welterweight Champion in 2005, at age 24, only to lose four of his next nine fights.

And the loss to Hernandez wasn't even the worst of it. He had torn ligaments in his shoulder during the fight and he would not be able to box for at least another six month. He fell into a depression.

This is when the drinking problems began.

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Luis Collazo Will Fight Amir Khan on Mayweather-Maidana Undercard

Golden Boy Promotions
Luis Collazo is months from the biggest fight of his career.
Luis Collazo last fought in Las Vegas in 2007. He fought Shane Mosely. The WBC welterweight title was at stake and it was Collazo's first chance at a championship since he lost his WBA welterweight title to Ricky Hatton several months before.

Mosely schooled him, winning a one-sided unanimous decision. The loss knocked Collazo from the division's circle of serious contenders. For most of the next seven years, Collazo hovered just outside, winning enough to keep higher prospects alive but losing enough to keep them still out of reach.

Then, at the Barclays Center in January, the Brooklyn-native knocked out Victor Ortiz in the second round. Now he is back in the circle. He will fight in Las Vegas next, against Amir Khan on the undercard of the Floyd Mayweather-Marcos Maidana pay-per-view on May 3.

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Luis Collazo Drops Victor Ortiz in Stunning Round-Two Knockout

Categories: Boxing

Golden Boy Promotions
Late in the second round of the fight, Victor Ortiz let loose a wild right hook and Luis Collazo could see it coming. He dodged it and struck back with his own right, tight and quick. The punch caught Ortiz on the jaw and he tumbled to the canvas.

The 8,000 or so in the Barclays Center stands erupted, roaring for their homeborough prizefighter as the referee began his count.

One ... two ...

The big stage had punished Collazo with disappointment after disappointment. He'd seemed trapped on the sport's middle rungs, resigned to watching opponents of equal talent soar passed, toward the riches and name recognition reserved for few boxers. He'd accumulated enough missed opportunities, lost enough main events, to get slapped with that dreaded label: journeyman.

And now here was this journeyman from Brooklyn, seconds away from the biggest victory of his career.

Three ... four ...

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Brooklyn's Luis Collazo Has Big Opportunity Against Victor Ortiz at Barclays Tonight

Categories: Boxing

Luis Collazo grew up in Williamsburg and learned to box he was 10. At 13, his family moved to East New York, so he trained at the Starrett City Boxing Club, the legendary gym that produced Shannon Briggs and Zab Judah, among other talents.

Over the next two decades, Collazo blossomed into a solid professional fighter, with a gritty, tough, subdued approach good enough to win him the WBA Welterweight world title in 2005 and keep him in contention since.

His record is modest at first glance: five losses and just 17 knockouts in 39 professional fights. But a second, longer look shows that three of those losses came against Andre Berto, Ricky Hatton, and Shane Mosley--popular names who have spent time within sport's elite ranks. And many who watched will tell you that Collazo actually beat Berto and Hatton.

Tonight Collazo fights in Brooklyn for the fourth time in three years, for a special Thursday-night boxing card at Barclays, broadcast on Fox Sports 1. He easily won the three previous home-borough bouts, but this next opponent is Victor Ortiz, the hard-swinging former-rising star with, more or less, his career on the line.

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Manny Pacquiao Brings Back the Euphoria with Vintage Domination Against Brandon Rios

Categories: Boxing

There were many good reasons Manny Pacquiao waited 11 months to fight. Not among them, however, was the reason most resonant to the men sitting at the bar at Krystal's Cafe 81 in the Lower Eastside on Saturday night.

"I still don't think I'm ready to see it again," said the man in the blue hoodie.

He didn't have to explain it. To this room full of Pacquiao faithful, it was the moment the ride ended, the inevitable flipside to the years of euphoria, the night their hero fell. It was the Juan Manuel Marquez punch that knocked Pacquiao, cold, to the canvas.

Yet before the faithful could watch him enter the ring for the first time since, they knew they would have to see it again. Montages showed it every way possible -- from multiple angles, in black and white, in slow motion.

Even a year later, barely a scab had formed. The men at the bar groaned. Some looked away. Others stared, straight-faced, shaking their heads.

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Gennady Golovkin Beats Curtis Stevens: Let Us Now Praise Towel Throwers

Categories: Boxing

After the eighth round of the bout, Curtis Stevens's corner threw in the towel. Stevens had fought a solid a fight, showed a strong chin, excited his hometown Madison Square Garden crowd with a few thudding hooks that wobbled Gennady Golovkin, the middleweight champion who has now strung together 15 consecutive wins by knockout.

But while Stevens's highlights came sporadically, Golovkin maintained a steady, punishing pace, controlling the fight with his long jab, smooth footwork, and a constant barrage of combinations. Over eight rounds, Golovkin threw nearly 800 punches, landing 293, which was nearly three times as many as Stevens hit. He dropped Stevens with a left hook in the second round. Early in the eighth, he hurt him with a body shot then stung him with three more. By the waning seconds of the round, Stevens was in full retreat, opening up his defensive shell to throw just enough punches to keep the referee from stopping the fight.

Stevens, a Brownsville, Brooklyn, native, had absorbed Golovkin's punches better than any opponent had before. And with Stevens's power, there was always the chance that he could catch Golovkin with a game-changing shot. Yet when the ref walked over to Stevens's corner following the bell, his trainer Andre Rozier didn't hesitate to end it right there. It couldn't have been an easy call, particularly given the stakes, this fight being one that could alter a career's trajectory.

In boxing, though, the stakes go beyond title belts and HBO paydays. That became especially clear 30 minutes after Golovkin raised his hands in victory, when Magomed Abdusalamov, the 32-year-old heavyweight fighter who lost in the night's undercard, told his manager he had a headache. Doctors at Roosevelt Hospital discovered a blood clot. After the brain surgery, they placed Abdusalamov in a medically induced coma.

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Brownsville's Curtis Stevens Stands Between Gennady Golovkin and Boxing Stardom

Gennady Golovkin, the champion middleweight boxer from Kazakhstan, has knocked out the last 14 men he's faced. He's won all 27 of his professional fights, and in only three of them did his opponent reach the final bell still on his feet.

He's a chiseled, relentless punching machine with power in both hands and arms like pistons. Anyone who's watched him in the ring has seen the talent. But he's fought in America just three times, and he's yet to square off against a grade-A foe. In other words, he's at that step in a boxer's career where the promotional hype machine begins plow a path toward the pay-per-view mega-fights.

Now, a giant poster of his face hangs in Times Square. He's come to New York, like millions of others, to become a star. On Saturday night he headlines HBO's boxing card at Madison Square Garden.

And that's where Brownsville's Curtis Stevens comes in.

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