Carl Frampton said if he lost to Jamel Herring, he would retire from boxing, and that’s what he’s doing.
Herring fairly well dominated their fight in Dubai, retaining the WBO junior lightweight title via sixth round stoppage following two knockdowns in what became a one-sided affair despite the best, grittiest efforts of Frampton.
“I said before I would retire if I lost this fight, and that’s exactly what I’m going to do,” thje Belfast native said. “I’ve been away so long, I’ve missed (my kids) growing up. I just want to dedicate my life to my family now. Boxing’s been good to me. It’s also been bad to me, but the last few years with these boys has been the best few years of my career. I just want to go home to my beautiful wife and kids. And that’s it, you know, just dedicate my life to them.”
Frampton (28-3, 16 KO) was trying to become the first Irish fighter to win a world title in three divisions, but the length and height of Herring (23-2, 11 KO) gave him fits, and Herring simply executed a really good game plan, too, which Frampton fully admitted as he discussed the fight.
“I just got beat by the better man. I really struggled to get inside him. He was sharpshooting from a distance, perfect game plan. Zero excuses, I had an amazing camp, I was coming into this fight to win it. I was just beaten by the better man. I feel like you should be interviewing the champion. I lost the fight, he’s the champion.”
At that, Herring came over and hugged Frampton, and said, “No matter what, he’s always going to be one of my favorite fighters. I’m just honored to share the ring with him. He’s a two-division world champ, he’s done great in the sport of boxing. It was just an honor, man.”
Herring, 35, dropped Frampton in the fifth round and then again in the sixth, and after the latter, it was clearly Frampton fighting on borrowed time. He was hurt, rattled, frustrated, and couldn’t find any inroads against the naturally bigger man. His corner made the decision to stop the fight at 1:40 of round six.
Herring did suffer a cut on his right eye, which Frampton did his best to take advantage of, but the more aggressive Frampton got — his only real option — the more openings it gave the American, and Herring took full advantage.
“My last outing wasn’t my best, people doubted me, they called me every name in the book. But even with the cut, I wasn’t gonna give up or quit,” Herring said. “Carl Frampton is just a tremendous champion. I’ve been a fan since day one. It’s tough to see any veteran of the sport go out like that, but I’m glad he’s able to walk out on his two feet.”
As for what’s next, Herring has thought about moving back up to 135, his division before linking up with trainer Brian McIntyre and finding his true stride as a pro at 130, but he also would like to unify with WBC titleholder Oscar Valdez.
“I want to get another title, of course. I know Oscar Valdez has expressed interest in unifying. Most people already know I have plans moving up, but if that fight’s available and they want that fight, let’s make it happen!”
Not mentioned was the elephant in the room: Shakur Stevenson, who is expected to return on June 12. The WBO have been said to be set to order the winner of this fight, obviously Herring, to agree to fight Stevenson should Stevenson win in June. There seems a legitimate chance Stevenson could wind up fighting for the vacant WBO belt in his next outing, though it’s too early to say that with any confidence, either. That may only happen if Herring moves up; if he can get Valdez for a unification, the WBO could well approve that instead of mandating Stevenson next.
That’s for another day. Today, we got to see two of boxing’s genuinely classiest ambassadors square off for a spirited fight. For the 34-year-old Carl Frampton, it’s the apparent end of what has been a memorable career, and Bad Left Hook salutes him on everything he’s achieved in the sport, and on going out with his best effort, offering absolutely no excuses.