Carl Frampton confronts a tall order when he fights Jamel Herring on Saturday. He discusses his towering opponent and his own motivation with John Dennen
WHEN Carl Frampton challenges Jamel Herring for the WBO super-featherweight title on Saturday (April 3) he will be going up against the limits of what’s physically possible him. Herring towers over him and is a southpaw to make himself that much more awkward.
“People see a picture of me and Herring up against each other, it just looks unrealistic that I’m going to fight him. But I’m really up for it, just the fact of the wee man beating the big man, it’s something that’s got me so motivated to win. That and that it’s the chance to become a three-weight world champion and go down in history,” Frampton told Boxing News. “It’s a real, momentous occasion for me. It’s going to be very difficult but I intend to do whatever it takes to win.”
“I’ll do whatever it takes to win this fight, and that’s the same with any fight. If I hurt my hand halfway through a fight, any fight, I’m not thinking about my hand, I’m thinking about winning,” he continued. “It’ll be the same anyway. If it’s a 12 round fight and I haven’t completely emptied the tank, I’ll be disappointed with myself.”
The man from Belfast was not overly impressed with Herring’s last performance, when he came away from Jonathan Oquendo with a disqualification win, for use of the head, and a cut over his eye. “Oquendo was 37 years old and he was at one time a very good fighter but not anymore. Although Herring was winning the fight, Oquendo was giving him problems,” Frampton said. “It’s something I don’t like to see when fighters complain to the referee. It wasn’t a brilliant performance but then saying that my performance against Darren Traynor wasn’t brilliant either. Both of us need to up our games, I feel like we both will, there’s so much on the line here.”
But Frampton appears to be relaxed, relishing the David and Goliath aspect of their showdown. “No real pressure on me either in this fight, which is good. It’s a chance to create history but I don’t think there’s that much pressure,” he said. “A lot of people don’t have me winning this fight.”
Channel 5 will broadcast their title fight on free to air TV in the UK on Saturday. “I just feel like it’s going to be one of them ones where I shock a lot of people,” Carl added. “Boxing fans know me and they know Jamel Herring but sports fans and just the average Joe maybe don’t know us. I think there are going to be people flabbergasted that I’ve won this fight when they see images of us.”
As calm as he can be, Frampton is seasoned enough to switch on when it’s time to fight. “It just comes naturally to me because I’ve been boxing for such a long time. You have to put the hard head on and be razor sharp and focused when you’re in the ring. But I like to relax when I’m outside of the ring and be around my family. I become a different man,” he said. “I’m a more relaxed person when I’m away from boxing and I don’t know why but I think that’s just my character. I know how to fight and I know what I need to happen for each fight and around fights to get me in the mood to win titles. I enjoy it, I enjoy being at home, I enjoy being around the kids and my wife. I don’t constantly have boxing on my TV… I’m a fan of boxing but I understand my family life is more important than anything else in my life and that includes boxing. But it took me a while to realise that and I think I feel like a better person for it now.”
If he is victorious there will be richly appealing options, a defence against Shakur Stevenson is mandatory for the winner but a unification with Oscar Valdez would be thrilling and even a rematch with Josh Warrington would be major event in Britain or Northern Ireland. “I’m not thinking about anything else. I think the winner has to fight Shakur,” Frampton noted. “If I win the fight, I’ll be happy to fight him but I’m fully focused on Jamel Herring.
“I will think about all options that come my way but I’m fully focused on Herring.”
It all comes down to their fight on Saturday and this final chance for Frampton to make history.