Jazzing with Melissa Hernandez…
There is really no other way to describe WBC Female Featherweight Champion Melissa “HuracanShark” Hernandez in the ring than to say she is pure jazz.
Her fighting style is the essence of improvisation: bending the canon of what is possible in boxing with her left and deconstructing her opponents with each of her pounding rights.
The boxing maxim “kill the body and the head dies” is nothing more than a sophomoric adage as Hernandez dips and twirls her fists in a perfect prose of confusion and mind-numbing brilliance–so much so that watching her is the visual equivalent of the best mash-up that jazz could ever offer.
Supremely confident in her repertoire of boxing movements, she is pure poetry in motion: a swirling, stunning, harming, mugging, hilarious mixture of impossible postures, feints and straight-no-chaser jab, jab, jab, straight right, left hook to the body devastation.
Melissa Hernandez v. Jelena Mrdjenovich, WBC Title Fight, 9/14/2012 (highlights)
I had the opportunity to see her in action recently at Gleason’s Gym. She was sparring, working three rounds with one fighter before the next fighter would move on into the ring. I didn’t get a chance to speak with her so I never did find out why she was in town–but it didn’t really matter. She was so at home, so assured that the years she’s been in Miami seemed to peel away.
The “Huracan” at work, Credit: Mischa Merz
The thing about her as a fighter is she is comfortable in her own skin; so comfortable that she can take as many risks as she needs because there is never any hesitation. It’s as if her prowess in the ring is programmed into her DNA. That is how sure she is.
Sue TL Fox of WBAN had a recent interview with Hernandez worth checking out (link here). Hernandez is waiting for another chance to fight and has otherwise publicly challenged Argentina’s Alejandra Oliveras to put up or shut up when it comes to wanting a WBC title. Time will tell on that one, and meanwhile, Hernandez trains at the 5th Street Gym in Miami, while acting as a trainer to a group of young fighters. With any luck, we’ll get to see her in action soon.
Melissa Hernandez v. Jelena Mrdjenovich, 6/24/2011 (complete fight)