It’s not often that a six round bout has the possibility of outshining a world title match but that’s what you have when Melissa “Hurricane” Hernandez meets Jeri “Fists of Fury” Sitzes in a featherweight contest in Las Vegas.
New York City’s Hernandez (9-1-2, 3 KOs) is a slick, pugnacious fiery boxer who meets a boxer of equally explosive quality in Missouri’s Sitzes (14-8-1, 6 KOs) at the Hard Rock Hotel and Casino on Saturday. Tickets are still available for the Gary Shaw Productions fight card.
Hernandez likes Las Vegas. Though she’s only fought there twice and both were hard fought battles against elite fighter Layla McCarter, the memory of those fights and the crowd’s cheers served as a motivator.
“I’m seeing Vegas as almost my home town,” said Hernandez whose only loss came against McCarter then won the rematch by decision. “I love the feel that Vegas brings. The fans just love boxing”
The Bronx fighter loves lacing up the gloves and has fought as a junior featherweight all the way to lightweight. All she cares about is participating in a good scrap.
“You either love me or hate me but I’ll get a---s in the seats to watch me fight,” says Hernandez who has won a featherweight, junior lightweight and lightweight world title and not in that order. “I make everyone a fan.”
In the opposite corner is an equally entertaining fighter in Sitzes whose record may not be spotless but talent wise the Missouri prizefighter packs a wallop.
“I’ve got a take no crap attitude,” says Sitzes who is also no stranger to Las Vegas. “Right now is the time to show what I can do.”
The native of Springfield, Missouri began her career as a kickboxer when she realized that she preferred boxing to the martial art.
“I have no amateur background so it would have been good to learn the fundamentals,” said Sitzes. “But since I was a professional kickboxer I couldn’t go that route. I had to learn boxing the hard way.”
One thing that can’t be taught is her toughness.
In her first pro fight it was a fighter with seven wins and no losses that handed Sitzes her first defeat. Three fights later she lost again to Mary Ortega who had 21 wins and one loss. Then, three fights later, she flew to Japan and lost by majority decision to Fujin Raika. Three fights later she was face to face with Las Vegas legend Melinda Cooper. She lost again by decision.
“She’s a great boxer. I got the utmost respect for Melinda Cooper,” says Sitzes who won the NABF title in 2006 but had to vacate the title when her mother died. “I didn’t even know boxing and I was fighting someone like Melinda. She’s just great.”
In the following fight she lost to undefeated Lisa Brown by decision. Three of those fighters became world champions.
“People look at my record and think I’m not a good fighter,” says Sitzes, 30. “Some of those decisions were all about politics. The only politics you should have is your fists.”
Sitzes knows Hernandez is a talented boxer. She participated on the same card with the Puerto Rican boxer a year ago on an all-female fight card. That night Hernandez fought against super talented Chevelle Hallback. They fought to a draw.
“All I remember from their fight was Melissa telling Chevelle to lets go in the last round and they both just threw punches,” said Sitzes who lost a close decision in a rematch that night with Lisa Brown for the world title.
“Our fight should be a title fight, but that’s ok,” Sitzes says.
Hernandez knows all about Sitzes too.
“I think Jeri is a great fighter,” Hernandez says. “You beat Jeri by being Melissa “Huracan” Hernandez.”
Both expect to light up the arena with their brand of fighting not often seen on big fight cards like the Chad Dawson and Antonio Tarver title fight.
“I love playing to the crowd and most of all kicking someone’s a—without catching a case,” says Hernandez laughing.
Sitzes has her own plans too.
“If she gets defensive on me it’s gonna hurt,” Sitzes promises. “I’m going to be patient but still throwing bombs.”