Tomorrow night, 2012 U.S. Olympian Jamel Herring will be at the Fantasy Springs Casino in Indio, Calif., where five of his teammates will make their professional debuts on the ShoBox: The New Generation‘s special “Night of the Olympians.” Ideally, the Coram, N.Y., native would have liked to have been the sixth to turn pro on the card, but says he is spending his time wisely ironing out his style with trainer Mike Stafford.
“We don’t want to rush things because I’m adjusting to the pro style, that’s why I’m not fighting tomorrow night,” said the 27-year-old Olympian, who like most of his teammates is signed with super-manager Al Haymon. “The pro pace is a lot slower, you get to think more and place your shots instead of trying to scramble for points. I believe the pro pace suits me better, since I’m usually a slow starter sometimes and find myself behind on points after the first round.”
Herring – who has been told by his brain trusts that his pro debut will “most likely” be on the undercard of Amir Khan-Carlos Molina fight at the Sports Arena in Los Angeles on December 15 – has spent the last month in Cincinnati, training alongside unbeaten former WBO junior lightweight titleholder Adrien Broner and Olympic teammate Rau’shee Warren, with whom he shares a trainer. Herring said he had sparred with Broner and has received encouragement from him.
Herring, a sergeant in the U.S. Marine Corps., is currently on terminal leave as his nine-year military career draws to a close officially on Nov. 16. Herring served two tours of duty in Iraq – in Fallujah and Al Tiqudam – and was stationed out of Camp Lejeune in Jacksonville, N.C., where he won the 2011 Armed Forces championship and a silver medal at the World Military Games in 2010.
Herring was eliminated in the first round of the Olympics, dropping a decision to Kazakhstan’s Daniyar Yeleussinov. He competed at 141 pounds in the amateurs but says he will drop down to lightweight as a pro.
Ryan Songalia is a member of the Boxing Writers Association of America (BWAA) and contributes to GMA News. He is also a member of The Ring ratings panel and can be reached at [email protected]. An archive of his work can be found at www.ryansongalia.com. Follow him on Twitter: @RyanSongalia.