Jamel Herring: ‘I was nobody and now I’m avoided like the plague’
Day-um, I have a belt, y’all had been thinking and saying I wasn’t all that.
Now, you can try and prove it…and maybe snag yourself a belt! And where are all you doubters?
Jamel Herring has been thinking along those lines of late but he told The Ring he hasn’t fallen into a funk over it.
Instead he said he’ll have his best camp ever, in preparation for his first bout after lifting the WBO 130-pound crown off Masayuki Ito on May 25…
…and glove up and keep hammering away.
“My next foe is definitely Lamont Roach, the mandatory,” said the 33-year-old Herring, The Ring’s No. 5-rated junior lightweight. “The guys at Top Rank made it clear to me on the day of the (Jose) Ramirez-(Maurice) Hooker fight and yesterday (August 6) that none of the guys at the top want to fight me, Mike. It just blows my mind since, earlier in the year, I was nobody and now I’m avoided like the plague, yet willing to throw down with the best of them!
“(Miguel) Berchelt’s team said no,” he said, when I pressed on regarding just who had said no thanks, “and it seems that Oscar Valdez passed up the opportunity of being my mandatory since he held the WBO title at featherweight. Nobody wants to fight southpaws… feels like the ’80s again!”
The Top Rank boxer is not depressed; he’s resigned.
“I gave up even trying. At this point I’ll just focus on my mandatory and hope for the best in the New Year.”
For the record, at junior lightweight, Berchelt has the WBC’s strap; Gervonta Davis holds the WBA’s top bauble, with Andrew Cancio owning the WBA’s lesser version (unrecognized by The Ring). Tevin Farmer is the IBF’s ace and over at the WBO, Herring (20-2, 10 KOs) is the man, with Roach, a Golden Boy Promotions boxer, slated at No. 1.
So anyway, the Herring title defense versus Roach date is set for November 9, Veterans Day Weekend and the site for the bout is still up for grabs . It could land in Long Island for a homecoming or a Marine Corps base.
Roach (19-0-1, 7 knockouts; age 23) is familiar with the fighting Marine. “I know Jamel, known him since I was about 14. He’s a cool guy and a good fighter,” Roach told me on Wednesday. “Since my last fight (a unanimous decision over Jonathan Oquendo last May), I’ve just been working, man, staying in the gym, staying active. I’m excited and amped up for this. I still can’t believe this is the dream I’ve been waiting for and it’s here. It’s almost about to time to lock into camp for extremely hard work and I’m prepared mentally! I know Jamel is smart, crafty and rangy when he wants to be. He took full advantage of being a part of Terence Crawford’s camp and became a champion. But at the end of the day, this is combat and he’s the opposition so, right now, only thing I have on my mind is to destroy him!”
Herring’s last words to Roach: “I’m sure he remembers our old sparring sessions but I respect the kid!”
You can follow Michael Woods on Twitter @Woodsy1069.
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