WEDNESDAY NIGHT UPDATE: Herring just learned he's headlining, on February 9th, at Sands Casino in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania.
“I'm really happy mainly because coming out of the Olympics, you know not too many people even gave me a chance at doing anything…so this opportunity shows that I must be doing something right,” Herring said. “Al Haymon has a lot of fighters in his stable that could have been in position but they chose me. At the same time, I'm level-headed and grounded, because people for some reason love when you fail these days…but I'm blocking all of that out and focusing on the man that's in front of me.”
I think you should add this guy to your watch list.
Yes, because he's unbeaten. But more so, I offer, because Jamel Herring is a Marine.
The Coram, Long Island native, age 30, trains with Mike Stafford, who coaches Adrien Broner. He turned pro in 2012, and is now 14-0, with 8 KOs. He's moved away from the points-gathering amateur style, and is sitting down on his shots more. To the point that he's being stepped up this year, he was told by uber advisor Al Haymon, the innovator of the PBC model, which has placed free boxing on platforms galore in the last year.
Herring told me that he thought he'd next be fighting 17-0 Rey Ojeda, but “Ojeda turned the fight down. Now they are looking at 21-2 Luis Eduardo Flores (from Colombia) for me to face. As of now, I have no idea why he turned it down. A close Haymon advisor texted me and said that Ojeda is out and didn't want the fight. About five minutes later Stafford called me and said the date they chose is February 9.”
Some deets are TBA/TBD. Herring isn't sure if he's the headliner, or where the scrap will take place. The fight will run on Fox Sports 1, he does know…
We shall see what pans out…
I chatted with Herring about the Marine thing. Me, all things being equal, I'm betting on the heart and stamina of the Marine over a guy without that experience tucked into his belt. That's why I say he deserves a slot on your watch list over another 14-0 non-Marine..
“The Marine Corps plays a big part in my career because it made me mature quickly,” he said. “I enlisted when I was 17 going on 18, and it quickly made me a man. Every time I'm in the ring I always say it can't get any harder or worse than this because I've been deployed twice and I've done more at a young age than what most do in a lifetime.”
In his last outing, the lightweight scored a UD10 win over 21-6-2 Yakubu Amidu in Cinc. Stafford and company make Cincy their home base, for the record. I asked Stafford about Herring.
The kid has a sick 12 pack, and you know he works his tail off. Is he a future champ? Talk to me, Coach…
“He trains like one, and he's an Olympian (2012, London Games, at junior welterweight),” said Stafford, of the hitter who did two tours in Iraq, in 2005 and 2007.
Boxing is a most useful endeavor for Herring. He has that stuff sitting inside his head and heart which he saw while fighting, and he also is able to keep his head screwed on straight following the 2009 death of daughter Ariyanah, who died from SIDS.
“Boxing suits me because it helps me cope with a lot,” Herring told me. “As you know, Mike, I lost my daughter and it was boxing that helped me take out a lot of frustration, and it also helped me find the motivation I needed to do something positive in the memory of my daughter. With everything I've been through I can say that boxing was always there to save me from going off the deep end, and that's why it suits me today.”
People, I know negative sells, draws clicks. But clicks don't help me sleep better at night. Not being a douche, trying to do the right thing helps me sleep OK. Part of that mission is spotlighting the good guys in this milieu; and I think Herring is one. I follow him on social media, and he seems earnest and like a good role model. There, you got a couple decent reasons to keep an eye on the guy…