Jamel Herring and Carl Frampton have endured plenty of setbacks en route to their upcoming clash.
The matchup months in the making has moved several dates, countries and viewing platforms due to a litany of issues around COVID-19 as well as a Frampton hand injury.
Working dates of March 27, Feb. 27 and last Dec. 12 and June 13 have all come and gone, but the moment will finally arrive at the Caesars Palace in Dubai on Saturday when the WBO super featherweight champion Herring (22-2, 10 KOs) looks to defend his title for the third time against the former two-division champion Frampton (28-2, 16 KOs).
“I respect him as a man and what he’s done in the sport of boxing. He’s had a tremendous career but lately he’s been getting arrogant at times, and how I’m supposed to get knocked out, this, that and the other. I don’t really care about what is being said,” Herring told BoxingScene.com in an interview.
“They think I am bothered by it because I interact with the fans. They can say whatever they want. They are talking a lot because they are worried. I’m all about just working. I show up for the big fights. They’re more worried about what’s coming toward them. They were saying how I’m too big and struggle with weight. I have never missed weight as a super featherweight.”
The buildup to the fight has been a circuitous that’s made the United States Marines veteran Herring and the Belfast-based boxer Frampton a bit feistier than usual toward the opposition.
“It’s a huge fight and gives me the chance to become the island of Ireland’s only ever three-weight world champion, and one of the only ever Brits to do it,” Frampton recently said. “I’ve done it the hard way too, as I have beaten champions to win all my world titles … I have full confidence in myself that I will beat this guy. You’re always confident in every fight, but I feel this is meant to be and meant to happen. I will not let him take it off me … I will do whatever it takes to get my hand raised at the end of the fight. Jamel will be well up for this, but I am too, and I cannot wait to make history.”
Frampton will be heading into fight night as a slight betting favorite but Herring isn’t bothered by it.
Herring can catapult himself to a palatable title defense against WBO mandatory and stablemate Shakur Stevenson should he successfully slug his way past the Irishman.
“There is no home-field advantage for anyone, really. It’s just me and him, one on one in the ring,” said Herring. “We can finally settle our business and handle our differences. Hopefully I won’t have COVID-19 in my way and there won’t be any more setbacks. The date is in stone, and I’m just ready to fight.”
Manouk Akopyan is a sports journalist, writer and broadcast reporter. He’s also a member of the Boxing Writers Association of America and MMA Journalists Association. He can be reached on Twitter, Instagram, LinkedIn and YouTube at @ManoukAkopyan, via email at manouk[dot]akopyan[at]gmail.com or on www.ManoukAkopyan.com