The fight that many believed would never happen between Badr Hari and Rico Verhoeven did happen, but the ending was perhaps bittersweet and exactly the kind of letdown that fans have grown accustomed to when it comes to the sport of kickboxing under-delivering on big promises. So while the fight was put together, the fighters ready to brawl and the arena packed full of passionate fans, the outcome was Badr Hari forfeiting thanks to an injury.
Rico Verhoeven immediately offered Badr a rematch in the ring, to which Badr Hari replied in amiable fashion to, although still denigrating his opponent. The scorecards reflected that the judges had Badr Hari winning the first round, but the fight was far from over, especially considering a strike from Verhoeven is ultimately what injured Hari and forced the stoppage. For fans a conclusion to this fight is not only desirable, but almost a necessity. In an interview with John O'Regan, Hari claimed that he was looking to plan for a rematch in May or June, although he still didn't seem to respect his opponent.
“That's why it was so sour that I had to stop. But be honest, did you see me worrying, or in trouble? Like I said in the ring [after the fight], he became a man but he needs to be more to beat me. He is still not in my league.”
Hari's punching power and explosiveness are legendary, as are his temper both in and out of the ring. Legal issues have kept him away from the ring during what could have been the prime of his career and still haunt him to this day, everything from where he can actually get a license to fight to working around court dates and the uncertainty of the future.
A rematch seems in order as long as both men are up for it and the asking prices don't fly through the roof. Right now the sport needs the rematch, if not to clear up the debate of who is the better fighter, to deliver on a promise and help build up the reputation of the sport once again.
Dave Walsh has been covering MMA and Kickboxing since 2007 before changing his focus solely to Kickboxing in 2009, launching what was the only English-language site dedicated to giving Kickboxing similar coverage to what MMA receives. He was the co-founder of HeadKickLegend and now LiverKick. He resides in Albuquerque, New Mexico where he works as a writer of all trades.
His second novel, Terminus Cycle, is available now via Kindle and Paperback.
Dave (a) LiverKick dot com | @dvewlshWebsite: www.dvewlsh.com