Former world champion Jamel “Semper Fi” Herring returned to the ring like a Marine taking a hill in battle on Tuesday night at the Edison Ballroom in New York.
Herring (24-4, 12 KOs), a native of Coram, New York, now living in Cincinnati, needed only one round to stop Nicholas Molina of Lowell, Massachusetts (13-1, 5 KOs). The 38-year-old Herring popped Molina seconds into the fight with his first punch of the night, breaking his nose with a right jab. Blood began pouring from Molina’s nose and mouth.
It wasn’t looking good for the 24-year-old Molina. Herring dropped Molina against with a straight left halfway through the round. Molina bravely beat the count but was dropped again with a body shot and another power left. Referee Arthur Mercante Jr. decided the younger fighter had enough for one night.
And it's over!
— DAZN Boxing (@DAZNBoxing) November 8, 2023
Admittedly fighting against an opponent with little experience, Herring’s return and swift destruction of his opponent was the proof he needed to show he’s still got a future.
“I had to basically make a statement,” said Herring. “I knew I had it in the experience department. But at the end of the day, everybody thought I was over the hill. They said I didn’t have it anymore. My man (trainer) Wayne McCullough said you still have something in the tank.
“But like my man JC (manager Jerry Casazrez) says, it’s all about style points. You can either make it an ugly win, or you can make an impression.”
Return From Retirement
Herring retired two years ago in 2021 after disappointing losses to Shakur Stevenson and Jamaine Ortiz. He carved out a career as a ringside commentator for Top Rank Boxing, author, and motivational speaker. He also began managing and promoting several prospects, including undercard fighter Mikiah Kreps.
But Herring admitted he was bored, and being ringside as a commentator fed his fever to return to the ring.
Herring made two tactically smart moves long before he got into the ring Tuesday. He decided to fight at junior lightweight, and he joined forces with trainer McCullough, a man who knows what it’s like to be in the ring and win a world championship.
McCullough gave all the credit to Herring. “All I did was teach him, he had to put it together in the ring. So proud of him,” said McCullough. “When he first came to me, I said to him, ‘do you still want it?’ And he said right away he wanted it. So, we worked the last few weeks. We worked on his defense. You seen tonight what he did.”
Now that Herring has proved he can make the lower weight limit and has enough speed, power and skills to keep fighting at age 38, he’s got his sights set on all the top names in the 130-pound division. He named Joe Cordina, Leigh Wood, and Josh Warrington as possible opponents, saying he would gladly fight in the UK. Herring also named Lamont Roach Jr, Emanuel Navarrete, O’Shaquie Foster, and even another fight in New York or Cincinnati. Former world champion Tevin Farmer was ringside watching, and Herring said he wouldn’t mind a matchup of comeback fighters.
Herring Undercard Results: Kreps, Metcalf, Hines Win
Promising bantamweight Mikiah Kreps of Niagara Falls, New York (7-0, 3 KOs) had little trouble in an eight-round decision over Isis Vargas Perez of Mexico (9-6, 3 KOs). Scores were 80-72 and 78-74 twice. Kreps is promoted by Herring.
An elated Shuretta Metcalf of Dallas (13-4-1, 2 KOs) scored the upset win of the night over Miyo Yoshida of Japan (16-4). Scorecards were all over: 99-91, 98-92, and 96-94. Metcalf had to oMetcalf is now the IBF InterContinental Bantamweight champion.
Heavyweight Roney Hines of Cleveland (13-0-1, 8 KOs) scored the near shutout over Jonathan Gruber of Fall River, Massachusetts (5-2, 2 KOs). Two cards were 60-54, and the third 59-55.
The entire fight card, dubbed “Heroes on the Hudson,” was dedicated to military veterans during Veterans Day Week. Herring donated half his purse to the evening’s beneficiary, the West Point Society of New York.
The evening began with six amateur bouts, each featuring either an NYPD officer or military veteran, in non-televised action.