Frampton Conqueror Herring an Unlikely Underdog Against Shakur Stevenson

Having retired Carl Frampton in the middle of the ring at the end of their April showdown in Dubai, you’d that Jamel Herring would have earned more respect from the boxing fraternity. The 35-year-old dismantled the Irish legend in their super-featherweight clash, finally stopping Frampton’s brave efforts in the sixth round when the white towel, reddened by the damage inflicted by Herring, was waved.

It was the seventh straight win of the WBO champion’s career, and his fourth in a row against elite-level opposition – Frampton following the likes of Jonathan Oquendo, Lamont Roach Jr and Masayuki Ito in feeling the full force of Herring’s skill and power.

And yet, the champion finds himself posted as a considerable underdog for his upcoming October 24th scrap with Shakur Stevenson, with those eager to have a bet on boxing able to net themselves odds of 16/5 on a Herring victory. Meanwhile, the odds of a draw are at 16/1. Herring’s chances in this encounter with Stevenson look erroneously low, given what we know about the two fighters. Are the bookies underestimating the champ and eating up the Stevenson hype? Many boxing betting tips columns will surely suggest as much.

This estimation comes as a real surprise: Stevenson has an excellent pedigree as an Olympic silver medallist, but thus far, his CV in the pro ranks has been littered with wins against fairly mediocre opposition, therefore Herring marks a considerable step up in quality.

The former US Marine has been accused of lacking punch power, but you don’t rise to the ranks of WBO champion unless you have concussive fists. Herring has shown a tremendous amount of skill during his ascent to the summit of the sport,  but the win over Frampton was something different – he showed dynamite in his hands to get rid of a two-weight world champion before the halfway mark of their scrap.

The Hype Machine

Boxing is a unique sport in that you never really know much about a fighter until they come up against someone with the weapons to hurt them. Giving Stevenson a 75% chance of beating Herring is folly on the part of bookmakers, who have undoubtedly been swept along by the exceptional promotional work of Top Rank and, more specifically, Bob Arum.

Of course the 24-year-old is supremely talented, as all Olympic silver medallists are, but the suggestion is that he lacks the power at super featherweight level to really hurt his opponents. Just eight of his sixteen wins have been via KO, and remember these have been contests against the usual patsies used to fatten a fighter’s winning record early in their career.

Stevenson is a slippery customer and will have the speed advantage against Herring, but he isn’t a fighter with a high work rate, as evidenced by his fairly nondescript victory over Jeremiah Nakathila last time out.

He’ll give away plenty of size to Herring, who’s a big guy at the super featherweight mark at 5-feet-10-inches and equipped with a powerful build. A step up to lightweight isn’t out of the question for the WBO champion one day, but right now he will be looking to clear up at the 130lb mark, starting with Stevenson.

As the old adage goes, a good big guy tends to beat a good little guy, and Herring may just prove too difficult to catch in Atlanta, Georgia.


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