Normally, the bad blood in boxing is reserved for the two pugilists inside the ring.
But Carl Frampton has been waging a war of words with his former promoter, Barry McGuigan, and even claimed to ‘despise’ the man who oversaw his climb to world status after their well-documented fallout.
Now that their legal battle has been resolved outside of the court, that chapter of Frampton’s career has come to an end. Now, another one is soon to begin – his long-awaited super-featherweight championship contest with Jamel Herring has now been confirmed.
The 33-year-old will compete with the WBO champion in London on February 27 after their original June 2020 date was canned. Frampton finally has a chance to look to the future, admitting it ‘feels good’ to get the contest confirmed. “This fight has been talked about for such a long time,” he said. “Once you get an official date it changes everything.”
If the Irishman can dethrone Herring, he would back up his super-bantamweight and featherweight gold with the super-featherweight belt. As a triple champion, he would join a pantheon of stars that includes Floyd Mayweather, Sugar Ray Leonard, and Oscar De La Hoya.
It would make Frampton the most decorated man in Irish boxing history – the perfect tonic for a fighting man whose career has stalled through no fault of his own.
Herring a Slippery Customer
The bookmakers have released their Carl Frampton vs Jamal Herring betting odds, and they make the Irishman a narrow favourite in their verdict.
That shows the respect they are paying to Herring, who captured the super-featherweight crown when he outpointed Masayuki Ito in Florida back in May 2019. Since then, he has defeated Lamont Roach Jr, again on the judges’ cards, and won through a bizarre encounter with Jonathan Oquendo in which the Puerto Rican was disqualified for repeated headbutts.
An impressive amateur despite giving away many formative years while serving as an active Marine, Herring is a decent mover that can unleash punches from both wings. He will enjoy a considerable size advantage too – five inches in height and eight inches in reach. How definitive will that prove to be?
The question for Frampton is can he get close enough to unload two and three-punch combinations? Herring will jab him away for as long as possible, and the gameplan of a man with more career wins by decision than KO tells its own story.
The other spanner in the works could be Herring’s natural southpaw stance, which could unsettle Frampton – particularly as he’s only had one tune-up fight in the past 15 months.
Of course, all of that does away with Frampton’s obvious brilliance, his pedigree as a two-weight champion, and his experience of fighting opponents big and small from all corners of the globe.
It will be an almighty collision, but Frampton has complete belief in himself and what he is set to achieve. “I’ve a strong confidence in myself that I will become a three-weight world champion,” he has said. Given the battles he had overcome in and out of the ring, it would take a brave man to disagree with him.