Melissa Hernandez: One on One With a World Champ

Boxing isn’t dead.

It’s shacking up with MMA and Krav Maga and living quite comfortably in south Florida, where pro fighters from around the world train for big fights in multipurpose gyms from Fort Lauderdale to Kendall.

How do I know?

Because, contrary to what I told you guys in my last post, I couldn’t resist doing a little work on my Miami vacation, convincing myself that work isn’t really work when its a labour of love.

So less than an hour after checking into the Marriott South Beach I had already wandered over to the legendary 5th St. Gym in Miami Beach. I went there looking for Glen “The Road Warrior” Johnson, cult favourite among my boxing-watching crew and one of 5th Street’s roster of coaches.

Instead, I found Melissa “Huracan” Hernandez, the WBC Women’s featherweight champ and leader of some of the most intense cardio boxing classes on the planet. And even though she hasn’t fought since winning the WBC title from Edmonton’s Jelena Mrdjenovich in September, she remains one of the busiest characters on Miami’s vibrant boxing scene.


The morning we sat down for an interview she had just finished teaching at 5th Street, and would enjoy a few hours of downtime before a five-mile bike ride to Fight Club, home of Cuban defector, 50-Cent Protege and Biogenesis customer Yuriorkis Gamboa. After teaching class there she rides back to Miami Beach to head another group training session at 5th St.

The kid is busy.

But despite her hectic schedule Hernandez took a few minutes to talk to us about the evolution of women’s boxing as a sport and as a business, along with her plans for 2013.

Video of the interview is below. Email subscribers, click on the screenshot and the video will open in a new window.

As for the Miami area’s other pros… I stopped by Fight Club in search of Gamboa and got Polkarooed. When I arrived at the club the manager told me “El Ciclon” had just left and couldn’t be sure when he’d return.

I track down the gym where Guillermo Rigondeaux will train for his late-winter showdown with Nonito Donaire, but couldn’t find El Chacal.

I did, however, manage to catch up with Johnson, who will outline his plans for yet another comeback in an interview that will appear on this blog later this week.

Yes, I did a horrible job of not working while on vacation, but ask me if I regret it.


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