We’ve got our first true world title fight in The Bubble on Tuesday night, as Jamel Herring is set to defend the WBO junior lightweight strap against Jonathan Oquendo in the ESPN (8:00 pm ET) main event.
BLH will have live coverage tomorrow night, and now, we’ve got our staff picking the winner.
Jamel Herring has been one of my favorite “stories” in boxing over the last little while. He’s a humble, determined guy I’ve interacted with a bit in the past, when he took minor issue with my description of his abilities at some point, not getting huffy or offended about it or anything but just saying he’d prove me wrong. He has, and he’s done so in a really odd way, dropping down in weigh in his 30s, finding the exact right trainer for him, switching promotional companies, and winning a world title.
The main talk here is whether or not Herring will be in top form after a bout with coronavirus that postponed this fight two weeks. He’s said he feels good if maybe not quite 100 percent. Is 90 percent of Herring good enough to beat Oquendo? Yes. Is 80 percent? Maybe not, as style-wise Oquendo likes to push the pace. But I’m going to assume Jamel is 90 percent or better, in which case the key will be controlling the distance and not letting Oquendo set the tempo. I think he’ll be able to do that, but doesn’t be surprised if Oquendo nicks a few rounds or makes this a bit closer than expected on paper. Herring UD-12
Can’t lie, I’ve really liked what I’ve seen from Herring ever since he made the move to link up with Team Crawford. Herring seems like he’s been getting the proper tutelage and motivation which has upped his game and he’s making the most out of his talents. Herring is 34 at this point, which isn’t old, but he’s no spring chicken in boxing either so I’d really like to see him make the most of this while he’s flying high.
In this matchup he’ll be going against a man in Oquendo who is a little older than he is, but still a capable opponent who could make things scrappy for Herring if he finds himself underprepared. But judging by the work Herring has been putting in the gym over the past few months (at least from what I’ve seen on social media), I’m not really worried about that too much. In the end I think Herring’s confidence is at an all-time high and that can really only benefit him at this stage of his career. Herring isn’t much of a thumper, so I’ll just take him to win a clear decision on the cards. Herring UD-12
Patrick L. Stumberg
Watching pieces of the Herring-Roach fight, I get the impression that Herring’s instincts can work against him at times. He doesn’t like to let punches go unanswered; if opponents step in deep to attack, he can prioritize doing damage in return over getting out of harm’s way. That nearly cost him against Roach late in the 11th round and it’s not a safe mindset to have against a pressure fighter as determined as Oquendo.
Even with half a foot of height and three inches of reach on Oquendo, this fight will likely boil down to Herring’s mindset and cardio. If he prioritizes staying mobile and can do so for 12 rounds, Oquendo will never manage to get any momentum going. Between Herring’s COVID diagnosis and this summer’s penchant for upsets, though, I’m sorely tempted to further establish myself as “Semper Fi’s” nemesis and pick the underdog. More likely, though, Herring spends half an hour jabbing and check hooking Oquendo into oblivion. Herring UD-12
Herring often operates best in a fight when he can pump out his jab at ease and control the tempo. With the physical advantages he’ll have over Oquendo, I’m expecting a fairly comfortable night’s work for the American. Oquendo should be kept at a distance throughout the contest, unable to get to work on the inside against the likeable champion. I wouldn’t be shocked if we saw a complete shutout here. Herring UD-12