Jamel Herring and Carl Frampton had a deal done for Herring to defend his WBO 130-pound title against the former 122- and 126-pound titleholder, but with international travel bans in place and the clock ticking, the 34-year-old American doesn’t expect he’ll be facing Frampton next after all.
Herring told ESPN that he figures he’ll have to take a tune-up instead, but that Frampton is “definitely the fight I want.” In a normal boxing environment this might be sniffed out as a fighter trying to avoid something, but Herring really isn’t that sort in the first place, and the reality of the worldwide situation makes this probably the smart move. With Frampton (27-2, 15 KO) in Belfast and Herring in the U.S., there’s just no way these two are going to be able to get together for a fight any time soon.
The other option is to wait and build up further ring rust, which Herring probably doesn’t want to do ahead of what would be the biggest fight of his career to date.
The original plan was to hold the fight in Belfast in June. Frampton has talked about it possibly having to come to the United States, specifically wanting to fight Herring in a main event at Madison Square Garden if he couldn’t get the Windsor Park deal in Belfast. But to be real, Herring-Frampton isn’t an MSG headline-level fight, with no offense to either man meant; it could do the Hulu Theater at MSG, sure, but probably not the main arena. And it’s also not like New York isn’t being devastated by COVID-19; large gatherings there may taken even longer to resume than in other parts of the United States.
Promoter Bob Arum said recently he expects the fight will still be in Belfast, whenever it happens, and he also brought up that Frank Warren — who would be the promoter of record in the UK — has never been as keen on the Windsor Park idea as Frampton, and that he feels the SSE Arena would be a great venue for the bout.
Frampton has fought at Windsor Park once, back in Aug. 2018 for a win over Australia’s Luke Jackson. He’s fought at SSE Arena (formerly Odyssey Arena) many times, going 8-0 there in his career.