Former WWE wrestler and current indy star John Hennigan had a successful debut in the boxing world, but the way his fight with Harley Morenstein came together was a big tricky.
At Saturday’s Creator Clash 2 event in Tampa, Fla., Hennigan brutally knocked out the Epic Meal Time star in the second round. Hennigan said he attended the first Creator Clash event and met the folks involved, and after Morenstein’s knockout victory on that card, they asked if Hennigan would be interested. At first, Hennigan said he wasn’t because he and Morenstein are friends, but Hennigan alleges that the promoters pulled a fast one on them.
“They were looking for someone to fight Harley for Creator Clash 2 and they ended up asking me, and I guess I didn’t mess it up,” Hennigan said on The MMA Hour.
“To be honest, I [initially] said no, because Harley and I go way back. I considered us friends, and I would love to fight someone, but I wanted to fight someone that I don’t know, or [wasn’t] my friend. Then, they told me that Harley said he would fight me — and at which point, I said, ‘Fine, I’ll fight him then.’
“Harley later told me that he didn’t say that, so we just got kind of pitted against each other. It was well-played, very promoter-esque.”
Already experiencing the emotions that come with a boxing match, Hennigan says he had a conversation the day before the bout with a woman at a restaurant — who turned out to be Morenstein’s mother.
“I’m having breakfast after weigh-ins, and a woman taps me on the shoulder and says, ‘Hi, I’m Harley’s mother. I just want you to know that Harley is a very, very good boy. He’s just a big teddy bear, and please don’t hurt him,’” Hennigan explained. “I said, ‘Your son is a very good boy, and your son is a very big boy, and I think he’s going to try and hurt me, too.’
“We’re going to try and hurt each other. Punching hurts, and I’m glad we both ended up OK.”
Hennigan dropped Morenstein in the first, knocking him through the ropes of the squared circle before getting the stoppage in Round 2. The longtime pro wrestler had Josh Barnett in his corner for the bout, and worked with the veteran heavyweight in the build to the fight.
Although he didn’t get to spend a ton of time with Barnett, he used the lessons Barnett shared with him wisely as the fight went the way he expected it to go.
“I thought I would knock him out, that’s what I was planning on,” Hennigan said. “I feel like I was swinging way too fast [early] and started to blow up a little bit. Boxing is hard, and I think what Josh had me do a good deal of was sparring, and the people that I sparred with beat the crap out of me — liver shots, head shots, knocked me down, knocked me out, once or twice.
“Josh told me that if you don’t have that kind of experience, you don’t want to feel that for the first time in a fight.”