Wednesday, July 24, 2024  |


Jamel Herring-Jonathan Oquendo is off, Herring tests positive for COVID-19 again

Photo by Dylan Buell/ Getty Images
Fighters Network

Just hours before weigh-in time, Jamel Herring’s WBO junior lightweight title defense against Jonathan Oquendo was called off yet again. The reason is the same as it was last time: another positive COVID-19 test for Herring.

Herring (21-2, 10 KOs) has now tested positive for COVID-19 twice in less than a month.

“This is crazy,” he told The Ring, “At this point I can’t do anything but laugh and try to stay cool.”

The Herring-Oquendo 130-pound title bout was originally set to take place on July 2, but was postponed when Herring originally tested positive in late June. The event was rescheduled to headline a Top Rank on ESPN show tomorrow night from The Bubble inside the MGM Grand in Las Vegas.

Herring says he is asymptomatic and feels the results of the standard COVID-19 swab test could be a false positive. So he agreed to do an additional blood draw known as the antibody test today. However, the results from the antibody test will not be known until later tonight at the earliest, which left promoter Top Rank and Nevada State Athletic Commission (NSAC) officials no choice but to cancel today’s weigh-in and the fight itself.

“I feel like the accuracy of the swab test is faulty,” he said. “I did the antibody test but we wouldn’t get it back until after the weigh-in and I guess the commission decided to error on the side of caution and cancel the fight.”

Although Herring is frustrated with the situation, he sympathizes with his opponent more than anyone. “Who I really feel bad for now is Oquendo because I know he’s trained really hard and now he’s out of an opportunity. My team still has a plan. We’re still going forward with a Carl Frampton fight later this year, probably in November.”

There’s been no word on whether Oquendo (31-6, 19 KOs) will be added to another card in Top Rank’s summer series or not. As for Herring, he says it’s possible he could return for a fight in “The Bubble” if he is cleared medically, but it would be a non-title bout, and likely not against Oquendo.

“It’s not good to go up and down in weight,” he said. “So if I did come back for a fight this summer it’d be at a catch weight. And it wouldn’t be Oquendo.”

Several fighters have tested positive for COVID-19 during Top Rank’s summer series, causing a series of cancellations and postponements. One such fighter was 2016 Olympic Mikaela Mayer (12-0, 5 KOs), who was also asymptomatic when she tested positive in June. She was set to fight in the co-main tomorrow night on the Herring-Oquendo card, and will likely now be bumped to the main event. 

Michael Montero can be found on YouTube, Twitter, Facebook and Instagram via @MonteroOnBoxing. His weekly podcast ‘The Neutral Corner’ can be heard on iTunes, Spotify, iHeartRadio and elsewhere.