Jamel Herring and Carl Frampton have gone through numerous delays since making the plan to fight one another in late 2019, but on Saturday, the fight is on, with Herring defending the WBO junior lightweight title against Frampton in a main event from Dubai.
Will Herring retain again, or can Frampton add more to his legacy by winning a world title in a third division?
Scott Christ (16-6-1)
Naazim Richardson said once — and I’m sure others have, too, but his staying it stuck with me — something to the effect of “there are good fighters, great fighters, and then there are special fighters.” I don’t think in that pecking order either Herring or Frampton would be “special fighters.” I don’t mean that to sound like a big criticism. Frampton’s a two-weight champ, Herring’s had a really good run at 130 with Brian McIntyre training him. They’re both good fighters at worst, and pound-for-pound at their best, I think Frampton’s better.
But this isn’t pound-for-pound, this is a real fight they’re actually going to have. And Frampton has to fight at Herring’s weight. And Frampton isn’t “his best” anymore. Frampton is tiny for 130, and the time when his ability might have made the difference has passed, I think. There are increasing concerns about his hand fragility, and he’s also 34 and doesn’t have what I think anyone would call a true “quality win” since 2018 at best, maybe 2016 more honestly. Herring’s also 34, not a mega elite guy, but I think he wins this because the matchup suits him. I don’t think he’ll dominate, and Frampton will do his best to be aggressive — he better, anyway, if he has any hope — so it could sway a judge.
I really like both of these guys, they seem like genuine good dudes in the boxing world. I hope the fight’s a good one and may the best man win and all that, but I’m picking Jamel. Herring SD-12
Wil Esco (17-5-1)
I’ll just cut to the chase and say I think Jamel Herring is ripe for the picking. I just don’t think Carl Frampton is the guy to do it. Herring hasn’t really looked impressive in his last couple of outings, and while Jonathan Oquendo played a significant role in the sloppy action the last time out, Herring has shown some clear vulnerabilities as of late. Herring is a 35-year-old now, so he obviously is no longer at his physical peak, but his dimensions over Frampton still give him the edge in my book.
Let’s face it, Frampton himself is 34 and has also visibly declined. He’s also a little guy. The man can fight, but at 5’5” he’s still a little guy. And going up against Herring there’s a five-inch height and seven-inch reach deficit to overcome so I just think Herring’s going to be able to dictate the pace of the fight for longer stretches of time. Frampton being able to consistently close that significant gap over a 12 round fight is a big ask of his legs at this stage of his career, and he’s going to need his legs much more than Herring will. I’m going to take Herring to win a decision with a disciplined game plan. Herring UD-12
How to Watch Herring vs Frampton
Patrick L. Stumberg (16-6-1)
Gotta say, the delays and these guys’ most recent efforts really sucked the life out of this matchup. It’s still a really nice and competitive bit of matchmaking, sure, but it’s hard to sell the Herring who beat Oquendo and the Frampton who beat Traynor as the cream of the super featherweight crop.
Personally, I found Herring’s performance the more worrying of the two. While he had his share of really nice moments, catching Oquendo coming in and resetting at range, “Semper Fi” found himself forced to hold inside way too often. Unlike Oquendo, Frampton actually has the craft and willingness to land something other than his forehead, and he can do some real damage if Herring’s legs fail him again.
Even a compromised Herring has the tools to win this, of course; if Frampton comes out passive again and a lenient referee overlooks Herring’s holding, he could definitely punch-and-clutch his way to a decision. Still, I favor Frampton’s speed and sharpness to narrowly eke out a win. Frampton SD-12
Lewis Watson (17-5-1)
Postponement after postponement due to injuries and COVID-19, we’ve finally got a fight between two guys trying to keep Father Time from knocking at their door. There are several factors to consider for both fighters here. How are Frampton’s hands? Can he control the distance well enough against a much bigger guy in Herring? Does he still have that pop in his attacks up at 130? How easily has Herring been able to make the weight? Has he suffered from long-term COVID-19 issues like Alexander Povetkin appeared to have last weekend? Can his jab win him the fight? There’s so much to consider in this one and so many unknowns that it feels like a genuine coin toss. And that’s fantastic. But I guess I’ve gotta make a decision...
Herring is big and awkward and could quite easily give Frampton hell for the 12 championship rounds. If Frampton’s hands aren’t 100% or he fails to control the distance and get inside the American, then I can see the champion retaining. Both guys are in their mid-30s but Frampton seems to be on the bigger slide. The only thing I feel fairly sure about is that this one is going the distance. Herring SD-12