For Hesdy Gerges, it’s safe to say that his place in the heavyweight kickboxing pantheon is a bit hard to nail down. He’s a talented fighter with some impressive wins in his career, but perhaps all of his most memorable fights have been losses to bigger name fighters where he did his damnedest. His recent GLORY run has been marred by a few decisions that probably should have gone his way, then punctuated by a head kick loss in round one to Mladen Brestovac. That isn’t to say there isn’t a win in there — because he did beat Tomas Hron — but for Hesdy Gerges things have sorta leveled out just a step below the elite of the division.
So while some were excited when it was announced that Badr Hari had signed with GLORY and the first, official match will be against Hesdy Gerges, it was hard to feel completely satisfied. Hesdy has had a tough time of late and planting him against perhaps one of the most violent and compelling forces of nature in kickboxing seems unfairly cruel. Never mind the fact that their last meeting resulted in Badr Hari literally kicking a downed Hesdy in the face, resulting in a disqualification.
The truth is, though, nobody is expecting Hesdy Gerges to win this match. Even (now-former) GLORY CEO Jon Franklin stated that it was a warm-up bout for Hari, yet Hesdy was the natural choice for a Dutch card for Dutch fans. The reason is simple: Hesdy Gerges isn’t just some guy, he’s a guy that has history with Badr and a name in the Netherlands. In fact, it doesn’t matter that the odds are firmly in favor of Hari winning this fight, pitting Hesdy as an underdog with a 25% implied probability of winning according to Sports Betting Dime. This is a feature bout for Hesdy and one that nobody expects him to win.
So, look, if Hesdy Gerges goes out there and does his thing with his airtight defenses against Badr Hari again, lands a few clean combos and is able to stave off the unstoppable force that is Badr Hari, that’s a win. If Hesdy can go out there and catch the always-emotional Badr Hari while he’s wildly throwing his hands that’s a win. Hell, if Hesdy can actually pull off a victory over Badr that’d be a huge, career-defining win for him.
The point here is that everyone expects this as a “stay busy fight” for Badr before December and an inevitable rematch with Rico Verhoeven. If Gerges could somehow bring some shine off of that and grab it for himself then he’s done himself proud. This might sound a bit defeatist, but there’s no shame in not being able to defeat one of those rare, once-in-a-generation talents like Badr Hari. Fans are going to expect an onslaught from Hari, which is probably exactly what he’ll bring to the table, expectations of Gerges are low, so really, the ball is in his court what he wants to do with this opportunity. Because, look, as we know, when Badr Hari steps into the ring, the whole world watches.