After almost two years of postponements and cancellations, Jamel Herring (23-2, 11 KOs) and Carl Frampton (28-3, 16 KOs) finally faced off in the ring on Saturday, April 3, 2021 in Dubai.
Herring looked to defend his WBO Junior Lightweight title for third time, with his last successful defense coming by way of a DQ victory over Jonathan Oquendo in September of 2020 in the Las Vegas fight bubble.
Herring originally won the title against Masayuki Ito via unanimous decision in 2019.
Meanwhile, Frampton entered the ring looking to join elite company by achieving a world championship in his third weight class in what was likely one of his final fights.
Each fighter had plenty on the line going into the evening. For Herring, it was a chance to cement himself as a champion with a quality win over a well established name in the sport. For Frampton, Herring and his belt represented chance to achieve gold once more and, as mentioned, do so in another division.
As the bout began, Herring was quick to attempt to establish his physical advantage by walking forward in aims of bringing the fight to Frampton, who was the naturally smaller man.
However, early in the second round Frampton seemed to gain comfort and confidence in his defense and head movement, utilizing his change in levels to land some offense. But, as the round went on, Herring’s left hand landed with regularity and relative ease which would be a precursor to the remainder of the contest.
Through the first quarter of the 12-round affair, it looked to be a fairly evenly matched bout, with Herring likely edging on the scorecards.
The fourth round saw a substantial uptick of action and activity. Frampton likely considered Herring’s advantages and decided to steer the fight in the direction of an inside brawl. Herring, although cut from a head butt, was game as well, embracing and matching the pace Frampton fought with in Round 4 in what was by far the most active and competitive round we had seen to that point.
The fifth round started again with Frampton bringing the pressure to Herring, walking in and throwing at an impressive rate. Herring, however, was able to use his aggression against him, landing a strong left hand landing sharply on Frampton’s chin, sending him to the canvas.
The sixth round saw a slightly more hesitant Frampton who clearly respected the power of the 130 pound champion after being dropped.
As he should have.
In the sixth, Herring landed a devastating uppercut that looked to knock Frampton unconscious as he hit the canvas. Frampton was somehow able to recover and return to his feet.
The champion remained composed in his pursuit of the finish, landing a number of unanswered blows, knocking the legend from side to side before his corner ultimately threw in the towel, which signified the end of the great Northern Ireland champion’s career.
In pre-fight interviews, Frampton stated that, if he were to lose, he would retire from the sport. True to his words, he retired in the ring during the post-fight interview.
In victory, Herring was able to respond strongly to some warranted criticism following his last couple of performances with a spectacular finish over a well-respected opponent.
In defeat, Frampton ended his career by going out on his shield, leaving nothing on the table and all of his efforts in the ring. Carl Frampton should be, and will be, remembered warmly by fans globally.