Jessica Camara Puts on the Performance of Her Life in a Career-Best Win
Heather Hardy v Jessica Camara takes place at the Embassy Suites in Nashville, Tennessee, in an eight-round lightweight contest. For Hardy, this is her first fight as a lightweight. In the lead-up, she has openly contemplated retirement. She is facing Jessica Camara, a relative unknown. Camara has declared that her preparation has been on point and said she is confident of scoring what would be considered an upset win.
Heather “The Heat” Hardy is one of the better and unique women’s fighters in the sport. The 39-year-old from Brooklyn made her professional boxing debut in 2012 at age 30, which is late for any fighter. However, she became a fan-favorite as she racked up victories in the New York Club fighting scene. She gained the interest of noted promoter Lou DiBella. In October of 2018, Hardy defeated Shelly Vincent to capture the vacant WBO Women’s World Featherweight title on HBO Boxing.
Then in September of 2019, the Brooklynite stepped into the ring to face Amanda Serrano. Unfortunately, Hardy was out-boxed, outfought, and overpowered as Serrano dominated en route to an unanimous decision win. Hardy has not been in the ring since. During her career, she has dipped her toe into MMA. She has also openly voiced her frustration about the lack of money in women’s boxing. Because of that, Hardy has talked about walking away from the sport.
For Camara’s part, the biggest name on her resume is former two-time women’s world title challenger Melissa St. Vil. Camara lost to St. Vil by a ten-round unanimous decision in February of 2020.
SOMETHING WAS BREWING EARLY
The fight got off to a strange start. Twenty seconds into the opening round, Heather Hardy (22-2, 4 KOs) was credited with a knockdown. Although from this observer’s eyes, Jessica Camara (8-2, 0 KOs) seemed to go down from a slip. The Canadian was doing the better work.
One of Hardy’s best attributes is her high work-rate. She averages 75 punches per round. Yet, her noted volume-punching was non-existent in this fight.
SMOOTH LIKE BUTTER
Camara was the taller woman with better footwork. For someone relatively unknown, her boxing was very smooth throughout. She did an excellent job of using the jab to keep Hardy at bay. The straight-lead right was also effective.
Hardy’s problem was she was stepping straight and did a poor job of cutting off the ring. In round five, she tried switching up tactics and began fighting more on the back foot. However, she could not avoid the jab and right hand.
The focus and precision of Camara lasted all night long. While this was Hardy’s debut at lightweight, this fight was not a matter of weight. The bottom line was, Camara was just a better fighter all-around. As the rounds piled on, Hardy was not only losing, she was getting schooled and beaten up.
In the end, the underdog cruised to a unanimous decision (79-73, 77-74, 78-73). After the fight, Heather Hardy was shocked by the scores and stormed out of the ring, thinking she had done enough to earn the win. In all honesty, it was a wipeout performance as Camara had it her way from beginning to end.
By: Michael Wilson Jr.