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Jamel Herring sees fight with Masayuki Ito as 50-50

Jamel Herring challenges for his first world title on Saturday night.

Jamel Herring v Yakubu Amidu Photo by Dylan Buell/Getty Images

Two days away from fight night, and Jamel Herring, the fighting Marine who has enjoyed a career re-birth after moving to the Top Rank stable, tells BLH that he’s feeling maybe as good as he ever has going into a bout.

Herring is the challenger and seeks to yank the WBO 130 strap from 25-1-1 Masayuki Ito, a 26-year-old Japanese hitter.

ESPN will platform the tango, which tops a Top Rank card in Kissimmee, Florida; the champ snagged the crown when he bested Puerto Rican Christopher Diaz, and has defended once against Evgeny Chuprakov.

I touched based with the 2012 Olympian, team captain, who grew up in Coram, Long Island.

“I’m just focused and patiently waiting for Saturday night,” Herring said. “Weight is on the mark thanks to my nutritionist and strength coach, but this is probably the best I’ve felt, mentally more than anything.”

Noted. So, is this a 60-40 fight, favoring Herring (19-2), in your eyes?

“I’ll be fair and say it’s 50-50, because he’s the champion for a reason and it won’t be a cakewalk,” the 33-year-old fighter told me. ”Hell, some may think it’s 60-40 in his favor but I’m just excited for this one because it’s been a long, tough road for me, but a victory Saturday will make it all well worth it.”

That it has; I confess to you, I root for Herring, who has always been decent to all media and fans that I’ve seen. Also, he lost a baby daughter, Ariyanah, to SIDS — two months old when she perished in 2009. Yes, I root for that extra hand up from fate to someone who goes through that.

And regarding this scrap, any keys to victory that Herring can share with us in his quest to down a guy who has zero amateur experience?

“From what I’ve seen in his last two outings, he’s more successful when there’s a sitting target,” Herring said of Ito. “I don’t want to reveal too much of the game plan but I have to use more of that ring boxing IQ for this one. I don’t know if he’s a big puncher but I’m not going to sit there and find out for myself personally.”

One thing to consider: Herring is under Bud Crawford’s wing and is more of a two-fisted fighter under trainer Brian McIntyre, Bud’s tutor.

Pay attention to see if soft tissue over the left eye on Ito gets opened up by the lefty Herring. His movement and volume could be the difference maker, and land him a crown on this Memorial Day weekend, making for a merry holiday for the American.

And a side note, in case you are thinking Ito is and should be a solid favorite: on Saturday, May 25, Ariyanah would have turned 10. With that fact, and how Herring might be channeling certain emotions that could be ridden as a wave to a win, you may want to ponder that and adjust the odds in your head.

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