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Herring: Crawford, Maurice Hooker Stepped Up In Training Camp

Jamel Herring promises he’s not just offering a token response when he insists this has been his best training camp yet.

It’s a line that’s uttered during the buildup to any given big fight, but one where the defending junior lightweight titlist went into full detail in preparation for his mandatory title defense versus Lamont Roach Jr. (19-0-1, 7KOs).

“It was a good camp, it was tough,” Herring (20-2, 10KOs) told ESPN’s Crystina Poncher during the final pre-fight press conference ahead of Saturday’s headliner, which airs live on ESPN+ (Saturday, 10:00pm ET) from Chukchansi Park in Fresno, California. “There was a point where I was losing sparring partners.”

herring-crawford

Those who’ve paid attention to the career of the two-time Iraqi war veteran and 2012 U.S. Olympic boxing team captain will be quick to point out his always being in prime physical condition. It’s understandable why sparring partners would find it difficult to keep up with even a 34-year old Herring, who reached a dilemma during the crunch part of training camp.

It turned out to be a good problem to have, considering the star power by which he’s surrounded and who was willing to step in at the right time. Saturday will mark Herring’s fifth fight under the tutelage of Brian ‘Bomac’ McIntyre, best known for his work with unbeaten pound-for-pound entrant and reigning welterweight titlist Terence ‘Bud’ Crawford, who—despite preparing for his own upcoming title defense next month versus Egidijus Kavaliauskas—wasn’t above helping out a friend in need.

“Bud stepped up,” noted Herring, a Long Island, New York native who now lives in Cincinnati, Ohio. “He drove eight hours (to training camp in Colorado Springs, Colorado) to ensure that things went well in camp. Another sparring partner had a busted nose. So, Maurice Hooker (a former 140-pound titlist now trained by McIntyre) stepped up even though he’s like twice the size of Roach.”

All steps taken were necessary heading into the first defense of the title Herring claimed in a 12-round nod over Japan’s Masayuki Ito this past Memorial Day in Kissimmee, Florida. Headlining a show on yet another patriotic holiday weekend with Veteran’s Day on Monday, there comes an added sense of pride beyond just putting his freshly earned belt on the line.

“This is a world title bout; everybody who gets the opportunity brings their best,” acknowledges Herring, who has won four straight. “I was in the same situation in my last fight with It. They counted me out, of course, but I put on the best performance of my career.

“I just have to be smart, I can’t overlook anybody. I just have to stick to the game plan that Bomac put together. I just gotta be me, you know what I’m saying? When you start doing things that you wasn’t working on, when you start trying to be something that you’re not, that’s when everything falls apart.”

Jake Donovan is a senior writer for BoxingScene.com. Twitter: @JakeNDaBox

User Comments and Feedback
Comment by slimPickings on 11-09-2019

Good luck my man.

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