Jamel Herring wants to unify or move up!
In roughly one month, WBO world super featherweight champion Jamel “Semper Fi” Herring (22-2, 10 KO’s) will face his next challenge. Across the ring will stand former two-division world champion Carl “The Jackal” Frampton (25-2, 16 KO’s). The February 27 clash has long been in the making. Unfortunately, COVID-19 protocols and illness delayed the contest numerous times. In the end however, the two camps remained vigilant and persevered until it was a done deal.
There is no doubt that Herring is happy with the Frampton match-up. Even in this twilight of his career, the Jackal is by far the biggest name on the champion’s professional ledger. Come fight night, the Irish bruiser may even prove to be his toughest challenge. As pleased with Frampton as he is though, Semper Fi will admit he was not his first choice as an opponent. Like any boxer concerned with their legacy, Herring had his mind on his fellow champions and unification.
PLAYING HARD TO GET
Given his preference, Herring would have secured a fight with WBC world super featherweight champion Miguel “El Alacran” Berchelt (37-1, 33 KO’s). At one point it even appeared that the Mexican was just as eager to trade leather. In fact, Berchelt was ringside when Herring took the WBO strap from Masayuki Ito back on May 25, 2019. Following the impressive win, El Alacran explicitly said he wanted to fight.
Sadly, for the former marine, Berchelt had wandering eyes which lead him to a dustup with Jason Sosa instead. After that, Berchelt locked horns with Eleazar Valenzuela and now he is slated to face Oscar Valdez (28-0, 22 KO’s). Valdez and Berchelt will mix it up on February 20, just one week before Herring versus Frampton. In a recent interview with Behind the Gloves, Herring briefly outlined the frustrating backstory of his elusive Berchelt brawl.
“If you look at the history of when I won the title, you seen it. Miguel Berchelt, he jumped in the ring and I thought that was the next fight that was going to be made, a unification fight! So, I was all for it. But then he went in a different direction, okay fine. I thought, ‘let me just handle my mandatory which is Lamont Roach.’ Because remember, he [Berchelt] fought a week before I fought, so I thought again we were on a road to collision to making that fight again. And then after he beat Jason Sosa I believe it was he went on to [Oscar] Valdez. You know, talking about making a Valdez fight.”
“I thought at the time also that I maybe had a chance to fight Valdez because, remember, Valdez was moving up from featherweight which made him my next mandatory. But Valdez decided that he would take the Berchelt route, which I respect is part of the business. So, that’s the reason why I went to my team about formally making a fight with Carl Frampton because, like you pointed out earlier, it’s all about legacy and the bigger names. And at that time there was no one there that I could really match up with that had a name. You got Berchelt and Valdez, that’s a good fight and those are two good names. So how do I keep up and compete with that? That’s when then the Carl Frampton aspect came in.”
UNIFICATION OR ELEVATION!
Listening to Semper Fi talk, it’s hard to not believe he is thinking about moving up. Granted he can obtain the championship and legacy defining fights he craves, Herring would happily remain in the division. If those big bouts remain deadbeat-dad scarce however, then he would be very willing to move up in weight.
“Of course yea, I been trying to unify and fight other champions in the division. But it’s been so long that we had an unification in this division alone. And it’s like everyone has their own agenda so, with that being said, if I can’t unify, don’t be surprised if I plan on moving up to grab another world title. Because like I said, I want to build my resume in terms of championship fights and having championship belts around my waist!”
Clearly Herring has his mind set on greatness, but first he has to get past the crafty veteran, Carl Frampton.
By: Bakari Simpson