Ever since Badr Hari was famously disqualified for his flagrant unsportsmanlike conduct at last year’s final, the possibility of a 3rd Badr Hari v. Remy Bonjasky fight has been a tantalizing hope. Not only do the two men have obvious unfinished business from last year, but Bonjasky is also the man who knocked Hari out of the Grand Prix in 2007, also controversially as Bonjasky won a close decision that many critics argue Hari should have won.
For Bonjasky, beating Hari is essential to maintaining his spot at the top. Despite his strong showing throughout last year’s tournament, Bonjasky has adamant detractors who claim that he couldn’t beat Hari fairly. With a reputation as a flopper who exaggerates fouls, some feel that Bonjasky was looking for a way out, and do not find his win to be valid. For these critics, Bonjasky’s poor showing against Alistair Overeem in March may have simply confirmed what they felt they already knew – that Bonjasky is not a top level talent and that he is lucky to be #1 right now.
For Hari, Bonjasky also represents a challenge that must be met. For two years Bonjasky has been in his way. No other fighter holds a 2-0 record against Hari, and Hari needs to show that he can overcome this thorn in his side. Unsurprisingly, Hari also has his critics for last year’s performance, who feel that he knew he was losing, and reacted in a horribly immature manner to avoid a more definitive loss. But Hari proved his position earlier this year with his one round destruction of Semmy Schilt. With dominating performances against Schilt and Aerts in the last year, Bonjasky is the only hurdle left for Hari on the way to the Grand Prix title he seems destined to hold.
Does Bonjasky have Hari’s number? Who truly is the better man? Hopefully by the end of the year, we will have answers to these questions, as we keep our fingers crossed for what would surely be the most anticipated fight of 2009.