Boxing is back this Saturday with an early afternoon treat live from the Rotunda at Caesars Palace Bluewaters in Dubai on ESPN+.
WBO Super Featherweight Champion Jamel “Semper Fi” Herring (22-2) defends his title against Carl “The Jackal” Frampton (28-2). This is a fight between two super featherweights that has been in the works for quite some time.
Initially, there was discussion of this fight happening within the first quarter of 2020. That date was then pushed back once the Pandemic started to settle in and the country was on lockdown. Then the hope was in the summer, but travel restrictions did not allow for them to make the fight. Once it seemed like Jamel was not going to be able to fight Frampton, he set his sights on Jonathan Oquendo. That led to a nasty cut that stopped the fight and led to some questions if the fight would ever happen.
There were discussions about a quick turn- around and making December a possible date but that didn’t work out and it was finally penciled in for February. A Carl Frampton hand injury pushed this one to April and here we are.
When it comes to 34 year old Carl Frampton, he is a fighter who had a huge run at Super Bantamweight while also seeing success at Featherweight. Many don’t remember his fights as they were mostly overseas but around 2015, EPIX would show them live on their network. This is where I had my first glimpse of the man that goes by “The Jackal” and was truly impressed with his ring IQ and generalship. Fast forward to his battles with Leo Santa Cruz where he took part in two memorable fights. After that, there were some losses, freak accidents which all led to him moving up to Super Featherweight.
Carl Frampton now faces Jamel Herring, age 35, for the WBO crown. He has an extremely tough fight ahead of him as he will be giving up considerable height and reach against Jamel Herring. For Frampton, the key is to get in there and make it an ugly fight. Since he is the shorter fighter, there has to be a ton of focus on the body. Frampton packs a solid punch and if he lands clean, he may be able to give Jamel issues like Lamont Roach did late in their fight. Frampton also has to give Jamel different looks and force the champions to really think in there. If Frampton can do that, he can position himself for a decision victory.
The WBO Champion Jamel Herring has faced his share of adversity within the last year and a half. If we are being fair, he has faced adversity all of his life and has always found a way to overcome. Jamel has also received a ton of criticism as he is always active on social media while many negative nellies say he shouldn’t be. The end of the Oquendo fight stirred up the twittersphere and with all of the delays, this fight seemed doomed. It seems as though all of those things don’t affect the champion as he continues to stay in shape and keep a smile on his face. (Click HERE for that story.)
Jamel Herring has a tough task awaiting him as Frampton isn’t a “walk in the park” even at his age. Herring knows this and he has prepared as if this is the biggest fight of his career to date. Jamel is a rhythm fighter and once he gets going, it’s a hard style to defeat. Masayuki Ito learned the hard way and ended up losing his belt because of it. Herring will have to use his slick offense and body punching to break down Carl Frampton. If he employs what Leo Santa Cruz did in their second fight, Jamel will win this fight. He has to dictate the fight, go in and out of exchanges and not allow Frampton to get off when they are inside.
Prediction: I think this a great matchup and the winner will gain even more credibility to their career. Although Frampton is the younger fighter, I believe that Herring has the fresher legs for this one. I can see Herring pumping that jab and establishing his presence right from the start. Frampton will get frustrated by the middle of the fight and may abandon whatever game plan he had initially. By then, Jamel will be up in points and cruise to a unanimous decision victory.
Around the Curve: If Jamel Herring is victorious, there are rumors that he may vacate the title and move up to 135. Do we then see Jamel face-off against the Undisputed Champion Teofimo Lopez in the fall on ESPN PPV?
If Frampton is victorious, do we see Shakur Stevenson get a crack at him next? Maybe in the fall at a sold-out arena in Ireland?
My Three Cents: Regardless of who you are rooting for, know that you are watching two class acts. The fight will air live on ESPN + so whatever you do, make sure you tune in 4pm EST/1pm PST.