By Ken Hissner, Doghouse Boxing. -
You can tell a lot from talking to a
person even if it’s via the telephone. I felt the love of the sport
through the words of Melissa “Huracan” Hernandez in a recent
interview. She has fought in title bouts in 8 of her 20 fights. Her
record is 4-1-3 in those matches. She has gone from super bantam to
super feather to lightweight in title bouts. She is the current WIBA
Hernandez had a good if not short
amateur career. Unlike men’s boxing there are just not enough
female boxers to get a lot of experience with in the amateurs or
professionals. She was 23 when she started boxing at the Webster PAL
in the New York Bronx. She has won tournaments in NY, FL, GA, and on
a National level to go 14-2. In 2004 she won the National PAL, the
NY GG and the National GG in 2005 amongst her best achievements. Her
trainer from her third amateur bout until her last 2 professional
fights was Belinda Laracuente.
The “Huracan” turned professional
at 25 defeating a Chinese amateur champion, Zhang Mao Mao, 1-0, at
the Hilton Hotel, in New York by a 4 round decision, in October of
2005. In her next bout in 2006 she scored a stoppage in less than a
minute over Jennifer Johnson, 0-1, in SC. Several months later she
would defeat debuting Merced Nunez in the state of WA.
After but 3 bout and 9 rounds Hernandez
was put in with the IFBA International Boxers Association
featherweight champion Kelsey Jeffries, 33-9., in OR. It was the
fourth defense of Jeffries title and she was coming off a WBC super
bantam title loss in Mexico. With an advantage of 42 fights to 3,
Jeffries was looking for an easy rebound fight. She got anything but
A slip, ruled as a knockdown in the
eighth round is the only reason Hernandez didn’t walk away with the
title. She scored a knockdown of her own in the tenth and final
round. The final decision was a draw after 10 rounds. That’s 20
minutes of boxing instead of the 8 minutes she had experienced in 2
of her other fights. This was quite an accomplishment and a
confidence builder for her early in her career. In 2 of her last 4
fights Jeffries, from CA, had fought in OR, which was for the third
time. “I fought a legend to a draw in my fourth fight,” said
After a 6 round win and a third round
stoppage, Hernandez again found herself fighting for a title, the
vacant WIBA (World International Boxing Association) super
bantamweight title, in Alberta, CAN, against Lisa Brown, 12-2-3, of
CAN. Brown, originally from Trinidad, had been in 5 title bouts and
a win over then Jackie Chavez, 9-0, for the same WIBA title which she
would lose and draw for. Hernandez dropped from 130 to 119 in just
over 2 months since her last fight to make weight. The pace was so
terrific with the speed of Hernandez gaining her the edge that “I
didn’t know if I was ahead or not at the end,” said Hernandez.
The scores were in her favor by 96-94 twice and 98-92 for her first
world title at the super bantamweight limit.
In 2007 Hernandez opened with the most
experienced boxer she has fought to this day in Layla McCarter,
22-12-5, for the Global Boxing Union lightweight title. Her weight
jumped from 119 to 134 in just 3 months to accommodate McCarter.
Hernandez retired at the end of the eighth round. “I injured my
right hand,” said Hernandez. McCarter had defeated Belinda
Laracuente for the Global title. She defeated Donna Biggers, 18-3-1,
in her previous fight.
It would be 2 ½ months later when
Hernandez and McCarter re-matched. The rematch was also in Las
Vegas, NV. Though Hernandez came in at 130, she was still able to
defeat the heavier McCarter this time by majority decision, 78-74,
77-75 and 76-76, for the Global Boxing Union lightweight title. This
match was over 8 rounds but for 3 minutes each. The previous fight
was 12 rounds and 2 minutes each. This would be her second world
title victory. “I was happy to revenge my loss,” said Hernandez.
It would be 8 months before Hernandez
would fight again and take on tough Chevelle Hallback, 26-5-1, for
the vacant IFBA International Boxers Association lightweight title.
Hallback had a pair of wins over McCarter and one over Mellisa Del
Valle, 27-2-1, at the time. Her only loss by stoppage was against
future world champion Lucia Rijker, in her second fight. Though in
overall points Hernandez would have an edge, 94-97, 95-95, 97-93, the
bout was declared a draw after 10 rounds. “She was a hard hitter,”
In her next fight Hernandez was up
against the NABF super featherweight champion Melissa Fiorentino,
17-1, whose only loss was a title bout in Japan in 2004. Both
fighters were just over the super featherweight limit. Hernandez
would stop Fiorentino when referee Danny Schiavone called a halt due
to right eye cut in favor of Hernandez. That was in June of 2008 and
Fiorentino hasn’t fought since.
Next up for Hernandez would be Ela
Nunez, 8-3, for the vacant WIBA International Boxing Association
super featherweight title. All 3 judges had it 97-93 in favor of
Hernandez. In May of 2009 she would take on Jeri Sitzes, 14-8-1, in
Las Vegas, NV, taking a 60-54 and 59-55 (twice) decision over 6
rounds. “She was a competitive kick boxer and could take a punch.
Hernandez would travel to Panama City,
PAN, stopped Ambar Fajardo, 6-0, of Panama in the fifth round of an
8. “She had a built up record,” said Brian Cohen. “I came
right from the airport to press conference,” said Hernandez. She
was slated to meet southpaw Holly Holm, 25-1-3, in her home state of
NM, moving up 3 weight classes. She would also be giving up at least
5” in height and came in a pound over weight. This would be her
first time with Brian Cohen who is now her manager.
“When we got there Holm already had
her hands taped without any of us being presence. That is against
the rules. With all that has been going on in boxing at the time
they should have known better. They had all kinds of excuses about
being out of tape and gauze so we offered to supply them with it and
they refused, so we refused to fight,” said Cohen. Within 10
minutes a substitute boxer was produced. Strange? Hernandez was
suspended and had a hearing a month later time and was taken off
In February of 2010 she would have a
rematch with Nunez, now 9-5-1, in Aston, PA. She would take a 60-54
and 59-55 (twice) decision over 6 rounds. The contract was for 128
but Nunez came in at 134 to the 126 of Hernandez. Her manager
allowed it and it worked to her advantage.
In the main event at Evansville, IND,
Hernandez was upset by Lindsay Garbatt, 4-3, by majority decision
over 8 rounds. “I was out of shape and it was a rude awakening. I
learned I cannot get comfortable,” said Hernandez.
Aiming to get a fight with Hollly Holm,
Hernandez went to NM, and defeated Victoria Cisneros, 5-9-2, for the
interim WIBA International Boxing Association lightweight title, over
8 rounds. “I wish I had a tape of this fight. They started
throwing punches from the opening bell to the end. Cisneros is a
beautiful woman who looked like Frankenstein when it was over,”
In October of 2010 a rematch with
Lindsay Garbatt, 5-3, in NM, for the vacant Global Boxing Union and
WIBA International Boxing Association super featherweight titles over
10 rounds. Both boxers were at 131 in their previous fight so no
title was at stake. This time Hernandez was 128 and Garbatt 129. At
the end of the contest Hernandez got the first judge’s score 98-92.
It looked like she finally got the best of Garbatt. The other 2
scores came in at 95-95 to the surprise of everyone. Was it because
of the turmoil with Holm? “I thought I won this fight,” said
Just over a month later a “keep busy”
fight in Charlotte, NC, produced an easy fourth round stoppage of DJ
Morrison, 2-7, for Hernandez, in January of 2011. This was her first
fight under new trainer Matt Baramonte.
On 24 hours notice in June she would
travel to Edmonton, Alberta, CAN, to take on Jelena Mrdjenovich,
24-7-1, whom Hernandez once trained years before. Each boxer
received a 77-75 score in their favor. The third judge was also
77-75 for Hernandez improving her record to 15-2-3, with 5 knockouts.
“A lot of people do not agree with
female boxing. They should get paid the same as male boxers. They
come in shape and are usually the fight of the night. They should
get the respect they deserve. She is one of the hardest workers male
or female I have ever seen. I had her in training camp in New
Mexico, prior to the Cisneros fight and she was amazing,” said
“I am trained by Matt Baramonte and
managed by Brian Cohen. We don’t have time to be like men boxers,”
said Hernandez. She turned 31 in February and is willing to fight
anyone. “She should fight in Trinidad on July 29th or
August 13th in Lima, Peru,” said Cohen. It has been 5
years since Kelsey Jeffries stated “she will be champion someday”!
Not only was that fulfilled but she has won 4 world titles. “The
Huracan” was born in Puerto Rico and now training at Angelo
Dundee’s Fifth Street Gym is looking forward to a fifth world
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