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September 06, 2018

By G. Leon

"I guess she's going to be carried out of the ring then!"

How has everything been going in preparation for your October 27th WBO featherweight title fight versus Heather Hardy? It's going great so far. Pete (Manfredo Sr) is working me extra hard, my weight is lower than it usually is because I kind of had an idea this was coming so I just stayed in the gym. I'm excited and I'm ready to go.

GL: I know you're not going to give me too much of your game plan, but based on your first dance with Heather, what are some of the adjustments you need to make in order to win the fight convincingly?

Shelly Vincent: "I'm definitely not going to be on my front leg. I was sparring short girls last time, but everything is different this time. I'm doing the necessary things that I have to do with my body, my diet, with everything. If the uppercut isn't going to be there I'm not going to be leaning on my front leg. I hope she brings something else because what she brought the first time isn't going to work for her."

GL: You and Heather don't agree on much, but one thing I'm sure you're in total agreement on is your disappointment that this fight isn't being shown on HBO TV or stream, which is counter productive to your pockets.

SV: "It's really disappointing and it's something that I've been always trying to fight for. I told Heather today that I'm with the whole fighting for equality and stuff, but right now the only thing I'm focused on is winning. This fight means more to me than money, but it does suck. I've got people coming in from California, Texas, Atlanta, Virginia, and it's a shame that these people can't sit at home and watch it. I think it's going to change, I just don't think it's going to change in our time."

GL: What did you think about her doing MMA for a year?

SV: "Truthfully I felt like she did that because she didn't want the rematch. I was promised a rematch within six months, it was supposed to be an immediate rematch and she went in another direction with the MMA. Maybe there is more money over there, but I just felt she didn't want the rematch and that's all I'm going to say for that."

GL: Whatever her reasons were for fighting in the MMA, she certainly put some mileage on her body with that venture. Does that give you an advantage?

SV: "Not really, because I feel like boxing for her is going to be easy, like a break almost. Yeah it took a toll on her body and her face, that was one of the worst beatings I've ever seen anybody take. I actually felt bad for her because her kid had to see that. When I got a little head butt my step daughter was crying so when that happened to her the first thing that popped into my head was oh my God, her daughter must be bugging. I think it took a toll on her, but boxing is a break because now she doesn't have to focus on feet, grappling and wrestling. Did a take a toll on her? Yes. Has she had enough time to recover? Probably, but I can't really call it."

GL: How do you feel you've improved as a boxer since your first encounter with her?

SV: "I think I'm improving every day and I think I'm going look better than I ever have for this fight. Pete has been putting in a lot of time with me and I'm doing everything right. There's no distractions and I"m focused. This is how things should have been the first time, but everything was rushed because of the situation and the desperation to get women on television so neither of us could say no. She's going to see a whole different beast, she' going to see the old Shelito and that's going to be bad for her."

GL: And the new WBO featherweight champion. You hear those words, what does that mean to you?

SV: "Everything. I came from hell, I dug myself out the grave. This is for my mother, for USA boxing that was looking out for me as a kid. It just means everything, I can't put it into words because there's no better place to accomplish this than Madison Square Garden. I know I'm leaving with that belt, I just know it, and when I win the belt I automatically want to fight Heather again so we can settle the score once and for all."

GL: I spoke to Heather recently and she feels the same way. She told me that she's going to have to be carried out of the ring to not leave with the belt.

SV: "I guess she's going to be getting carried out of the ring then. She didn't beat me the first time, it was a close fight, but I'm not going to let them taking it away from me again. I won that first fight and clearly to me, I thought I won 6 of the rounds, I definitely give her two of them, then I gave two more close ones, but that's it. At worst that should have been a draw, but she's not leaving with my strap."

GL: Will you and your team be more on top of the judges this time around?

SV: "Absolutely my manager (Mike Criscio) and promoter (DiBella) are going to be on top of that and make sure we have the right people in place who know what they're doing and have experience judging world title fights."

GL: Closing thoughts.

SV: "I'm going to her house and I'm going to beat her again. I want a fair shake this time, but they're not going to be able to take it away from me again. Make sure you're in the building for this because there's going to be fireworks."

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