Melissa “Huracan Shark” Hernandez fought this past Friday in Edmonton, Alberta for the fourth time in her professional career and it is a place that she wouldn’t mind fighting in again. Edmonton is like a second home to her because she always gets treated well by the people here everytime she has visited and fought here. She has been here so many times she even has her preferred gym to train out of, the West Edmonton Knight’s Boxing Club, which is run by Stuart and Sonia McGrandle. I asked Melissa what made her choose that gym out of all the gyms in the city, after all Edmonton is big in Western Canada’s boxing scene. “Sonia had come up to me at the end of my last fight and was so excited to meet me and invited me over and shake out in the gym. Great gym by the way. I’ll always train there for my fights while in Canada.” And she is right. I used to train at the gym.
Melissa is good friends with Jelena Mrdjenovich with whom she had faced for the third time last week in which she lost a close technical decision due to a bad cut on Jelena’s forehead going into the seventh round. The head butt was bound to happen because both fighters were eager to attack each other. Jelena felt she won their first fight and admitted she lost the second one and was looking for a clear victory the third time around. “Well Jelena is a great fighter and I tip my hat to her but ….winning fights, nope. As her buddy I can say I won those fights hands down. This 3rd fight was headed the same way. I’m a crafty boxer and I knew the keys to victory again. Not taken anything away from her,” said Melissa who also suffered her very first career knockdown which seemed to be more of a slip in the corner of her opponent which contained a tremendous amount of blood from in-between rounds. “The knockdown was a huge slip. I don’t think she even touched me. I believe that was awarded to give her the fight. That’s the part that has me pissed. She didn’t knock me down. It needed to have instant replay. That was the fight there on a bad call. A very bad call. I don’t mind losing if I really lose but not like that. It’s very depressing.”
Could the fight have been stopped due to the fact that Jelena was losing a lot of blood and was visibly slowing down while Melissa seemed to be getting the better of her as the fight wore on? “I believe that exactly what happened. I was landing big shots. I was out boxing her. This is what makes me different from all the other girls, I get better in the end,” said Melissa. But it wasn’t easy for Melissa to continue hitting her bloodied friend. “It had to be the worst thing I’ve ever seen. Very stupid on the part of the ringside doctor. I’m very upset with the way the whole thing went down. Yes, it way too much blood and then I’m hitting someone that can’t see. I have no words for it.”
After the fight I asked Melissa if she would like to do an interview about what transpired and she seemed eager. Jelena did technically win the fight but Melissa feels foul play was part of it. “I got f*cked.” But she holds no hard feelings towards Jelena. “I respect Jelena as a fighter and a buddy. I’ll always be in her corner.”
Looking on to the future, she has her options but it is narrowed down. Melissa would love a fourth fight with Jelena. Actually she feels it is a must. Aside from fighting Jelena again the fighters at the top of the list are Ina Menzer, Cecilia Breakus, Jackie Nava and Alejandra Olivera, but there is a dream fight that she has in mind. “Cristy Martin. (laughs) All time great vs. me, the new great.”
Melissa is viewed highly in the world of female boxing. Fellow Puerto Rican fighters Amanda and Cindy Serrano views Melissa as the Floyd Mayweather/Manny Pacquiao of women’s boxing. How does that make her feel? Great. ” I love that they said that. I feel I bring the sport o a different level. If feels amazing to be respected like that by other top women in the sport. I just feel I have the problem shoving skills that any great fighter has. Cindy and Amanda are great fighters and Puerto Rican too. So it shows that our island produces champions male and female. Wepa!”
But there is something missing for Melissa. As many other females who box and reside in America, recognition. “I love fighting outside (the country) and winning cause it’s shows that I’m a real champion. But I’d love to be able to fight at home and be respected like the male fighters.”