Redemption Song: Jamel Herring retires Carl Frampton in six rounds
SAN DIEGO Calif., April 3, 2021 – In a career make or break fight Saturday from Dubai, Jamel “Semper Fi” Herring proved his doubters wrong, scoring the best win of his career with a sixth-round stoppage of two-division champion Carl Frampton of Northern Ireland (28-3, 16 KOs). Herring (22-2, 11 KO) returns home as the WBO super featherweight champion with no small sense of satisfaction and a sizable payday in his future.
Herring overcame a similar cut to the right eye that caused him so much trouble in his last bout against Jonathan Oquendo. Herring brushed it off this time, refusing to be denied in a bout he dominated over Frampton. The 35-year-old Iraq veteran and US Olympian battled critics, COVID, and Father Time to dismantle Frampton with smart pressure, a solid left hook, and excellent bodywork.
Frampton outfoxed, outboxed, and overcome by Herring
Herring boxed skillfully in the opening rounds as Frampton tried to find a way to get close enough to do damage without taking too much incoming fire. Herring’s check hook was finding the target. He could have easily won the fight this way.
As he grew bolder, Herring stood firm and wouldn’t let the Irish veteran gain any ground. Frampton landed a handful of punches, but Herring caught him far more often with excellent timing. After several cautious rounds at distance early in the fight, Frampton rightly concluded he was handing the fight to Herring. Frampton had to go bold or go home and began moving in. The cut appeared over Herring’s right eye in the fourth round, and both fighters now had new reasons to step things up. Frampton had his chance if he made it a firefight.
As both trainers Brian “Bomac” McIntire and Jamie Moore roaring audibly to urge Herring and Frampton on in the empty Dubai venue, both men came at each other, but Herring’s timing and work gave him the upper hand. Herring’s cut remained a concern. At times it seemed he might not be seeing Frampton clearly.
In the fifth round, Frampton’s increasing confidence got the best of him. Herring caught Frampton coming in with a sneaky uppercut during the fifth round sitting Frampton down hard. Frampton got up and made it out of the round, but the damage had been done. If the fight were stopped at this point, no one would have criticized the call. In the sixth, Herring caught Frampton again, and although Frampton once again made it to his feet, Herring poured it on. Frampton’s corner had to call for the stoppage to protect their man from further damage.
“I just got beat by the better man,” said a tearful Frampton. “I really struggled to get inside. (Herring) was sharpshooting from a distance. It was a perfect game plan. Zero excuses, I had a great camp. Zero excuses. You should be interviewing him, he’s the champion,” said Frampton.
“No matter what, Carl’s always been one of my favorite fighters. He’s a two-division champion. It’s an honor to share the ring with him. Get home safely to your family,” said Herring.
The Marine Corps veteran said, “It was just an emotional roller coaster just to get here. My last outing wasn’t my best. People doubted me. Even with the cut, I wasn’t going to quit. Carl Frampton is a tremendous champion. I’ve been a fan from day one. It’s hard to see any champion go out like that.”
True to his pre-fight promise, Frampton confirmed his retirement. “I said before I would retire if I lost this fight, and that’s exactly what I’m going to do.” Speaking about his family, Frampton said it was for them. “They’ve made so many sacrifices. I’ve been away so long. I missed them growing up, my own kids. I want to dedicate my life to my family now. Boxing’s been good to me, but boxing has also been bad to me. I want to go home to my beautiful wife and kids now.”
Frampton forever has a place in boxing history on behalf of Northern Ireland and has nothing to prove. The 2016 Fighter of the Year forced Herring to be at his best and will certainly be a Hall of Fame inductee. He can retire with his head held high.
Herring will finally get a break from 17 months of nearly continuing training, but not for long. He now has the opportunity for a unification bout later in 2021. “I know Oscar Valdez has expressed interest in unifying. Most people know I have plans on moving up. But if they want that fight let’s make it happen,” said Herring, who called out Doug Fisher of RING Magazine to put the Ring title on the line. “I’m talking to you Doug, let’s go.”
Among the most approachable and endearing champions in the sport, Herring left a message on social media for his fans. “To everyone who supported me through the ups and downs, I know I had a lot of redeeming to do. I’m glad I did it in spectacular fashion. I will be back hopefully in a unification match-up this year. Semper Fi. Ooo-rah!”
Nietes and Davis impress on the undercard
Veteran four-division and Ring Magazine junior bantamweight champion Donnie Nietes of the Philippines (43-1-5, 22 KOs) made a successful return to the ring at age 38 after two years away against Pablo Carrillo of Colombia (25-8-1, 16 KOs) by unanimous decision in 10 rounds for a vacant WBO minor title. Scores were 99-91, 98-92, and a far too close 96-95. Nietes’ superior footwork and defensive skills didn’t let Carrillo get anywhere near him. He delivered a solid mix of punches with good lead jabs and the occasional uppercut.
It’s hard to say whether Nietes has lost any power, but he’d be competitive against all but the elite of the smaller weight divisions. He always delivers a good effort and deserves a shot if he wants one.
American Keyshawn Davis of Norfolk, Virginia (2-0, 2 KO) continues to impress in just his second professional fight, winning a fourth-round TKO against Richman Ashelley of Ghana (10-2, 9 KOs). “This is an experience I’m never going to forget,” said Davis. “I was hoping he would go one more round so I could knock him out. But I made him quit in the corner. My team did a phenomenal job. I can’t wait to be back in the ring. The rest of the year, I’m fighting every other month. You’ll see me consistently, seven or eight times.”
The 22-year-old lightweight is patient and focused in the ring, foundation skills that will serve him well as he faces more challenging opponents.
Gayle Lynn Falkenthal is a veteran boxing observer and award-winning journalist covering the Sweet Science for Communities. Read more Ringside Seat in Communities Digital News.
Please credit “Gayle Falkenthal for Communities Digital News” when quoting from or linking to this story.