SAN DIEGO Calif., September 5, 2020 – Marine Corps veteran and WBO junior lightweight champion Jamel “Semper Fi” Herring of Cincinnati waited eight weeks for this?
Herring (22-2, 10 KO) won a messy, foul-filled fugly fight against veteran Jonathan Oquendo of Puerto Rico (31-7, 19 KOs) in a disqualification of Oquendo after eight rounds. It wasn’t the fight anyone hoped to see especially after two delayed dates due to positive COVID-19 tests. Had it gone to the scorecards, Herring was winning in a blowout fueled by a crafty check left uppercut knockdown, 80-70 X 2, and 79-71.
It wasn’t any surprise when Oquendo made it rough, but as he repeatedly rushed Herring, Oquendo landed more clean headbutts than clean punches. A headbutt in the fifth round opened a nasty cut over the right eye of Herring. Referee Tony Weeks ruled it an intentional foul, and docked Oquendo a point. Per the unified rules, it should have been two points and the fight should have gone to the cards. Cutman Levi Smith did an admirable job keeping the cut under control. Oquendo made it worse by strafing the laces of his gloves over the cut.
The fight continued for three additional rounds before the ringside physician and referee Tony Weeks determined Herring shouldn’t continue. The outcome was delayed when ringside officials conferred to determine the outcome, which made for a few tense moments before the disqualification was awarded to Herring.
Herring was disappointed in the outcome and his performance. “He just kept coming. We knew coming in he was going to be aggressive, coming head first. Tony (Weeks) finally caught on to it,” said Herring.
Herring said he was fully prepared to continue, “I was cool, I fought in the (Denis) Shafikov fight with one eye (a 2016 TKO loss). I’ve been there. But my team felt it was too much. We just had to stop it. It got ugly.”
Herring said at the end, he wasn’t happy with the outcome. “I’ve never been in that situation … it’s not just about getting the win, it’s how you look.” Herring hoped the fight would provide him a dress rehearsal for his anticipated bout with former world champion Carl Frampton of Belfast. Now he’s got to heal from the cut and has a lot to think about. “Bob (Arum) told me to rest. I can go home to my family. I hope the cut isn’t that bad. I hope I can fight Frampton in November or December,” said Herring, but the date must now be in doubt.
Herring didn’t blame his performance on his bout with the coronavirus. “In terms of conditioning, I was good. I was not huffing and puffing. It just got too ugly. To me, it just felt bad in the second half.”
Critics didn’t waste a minute accusing Herring of “quitting,” but there was absolutely no reason for the fight to continue. It was a virtual shutout to the point of the stoppage for Herring, and there was no reason for four more rounds of garbage fighting risking any worse injury to Herring. Here’s hoping the cut heals quickly and the Herring vs. Frampton fight doesn’t put another delay in Herring’s path.
Herring reported via social media he was en route to a Las Vegas hospital after the bout for a precautionary exam to rule out any additional damage to the orbital bone. At least he won’t need to be COVID-19 tested.
Nelson stops Ware in six
In the co-feature, unbeaten super middleweight Steven Nelson of Omaha (17-0, 14 KOs) battled cuts due to headbutts as much as he battled DeAndre Ware of St. Louis (13-3-2, 8 KOs) on the way to a sixth-round TKO win. Nelson was first cut in the second round, but the next cut in the fifth round closer to the eye was more serious. In the sixth round, Nelson turned up the heat and scored with a hard left hook through the guard, backing up and wobbling Ware. He stayed on his feet and did his best to survive but referee Jay Nady only let Ware take a limited amount of damage before stopping the bout at 2:24 of the round.
“When that second cut come, I know how fighters are. When they see an injury, they attack. I thought, you know, I gotta get to work … the headbutt was perfect timing to me to pick it up,” said Nelson. “In the back, I didn’t feel too good coming to the fight. I thought you know, I got to push through it. I’ve always been a workhorse. Some days you feel flat on your feet. I pushed through it though, I got the win, I got the stoppage. That’s all that matters,” said Nelson.
Jared Anderson makes it three wins in The Bubble
Heavyweight prospect Jared “The Real Big Baby” Anderson of Toledo (6-0, 6 KOs) remained unbeaten in his third fight in The Bubble. Anderson went four hard rounds against veteran Rodney Hernandez of Modesto, California (13-10-2, 4 KOs) before landing a hard straight left and followed up to score the stoppage at 2:22 of the round.
“It was about getting those rounds in and showing I could really box, I’m not just a puncher,” said Anderson. “I’m getting a learning experience, getting in and slowing down,” Anderson said he saw the end coming after the third round. “I know I got him beat, he’s getting tired, I can stop and have fun. Working on the back feet, then I see the shot, and I take it.”
Light work for light flyweight Jesse Rodriguez
Light flyweight prospect Jesse “Bam” Rodriguez of San Antonio (12-0, 8 KOs) put away Janiel Rivera of Puerto Rico (18-7-3, 11 KOs) with an impressive first-round stoppage at 2:03 which extends his KO streak to four. The talented southpaw promoted by Teiken Promotion of Japan delivered his left hook for three knockdowns before the fight was waved off. “I saw I was hurting him. This is my power shot right here,” said Rodriguez.
“I told Robert in the locker room this was the best I ever felt. I proved it today,” said Rodriguez,” who is the brother of WBA World Super Flyweight champion Joshua Franco. “To have a brother as a champion is really motivating to me. I know I can do the same. It really brought out the best in me in camp.” Rodriguez says it’s his mindset. “I want to be the best. Every fight, I want to be a better me. Every fight I want to go the extra mile.”
Additional undercard results
Ruben Cervera of Colombia (13-2, 11 KOs), scored his second win in The Bubble with a second-round TKO win over New Orleans native Rennard Oliver (7-3-3, 0 KOs) at junior lightweight.
Edward “Kid” Vazquez of Fort Worth (8-0, 1 KO) was fortunate to escape The Bubble with a win against Adan “Temo” Ochoa of Los Angeles (11-2, 4 KOs) in their six-round junior lightweight bout by unanimous decision. Ochoa scored a knockdown in the second round and appeared to have command of the bout, but the judges saw it for Vasquez by scores of 58-55 X 2 and 57-56.
Replacement opponent Benjamin Whitaker of San Antonio (14-4, 3 KOs) is glad he took the call to face D’Andre Smith of Decatur, Georgia (8-1. 5 KOs). Whitaker dealt Smith his first loss in a unanimous decision over eight rounds.
Former amateur standout Rashiem Jefferson of Philadelphia (2-0) won his second pro fight against Jose Martinez of Los Angeles (2-2, 1 KO) in a four-round featherweight unanimous decision. Scores were 40-36 X 2 and 39-37.
Gayle Lynn Falkenthal, APR, is President/Owner of the Falcon Valley Group in San Diego, California. She is also a veteran boxing observer covering the Sweet Science for Communities. Read more Ringside Seat in Communities Digital News.
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