Jamel Herring says that training and sparring with Terence Crawford has turned him into aa better fighter ahead of his title defense against Carl Frampton on Saturday.
Herring put his WBO super-featherweight title on the line against Frampton in Dubai on Saturday night, having spent his training camp in Colorado Springs alongside Crawford, the WBO welterweight champion, who not only accompanied him on his mountain runs but sparred with him too.
“He is like another trainer to me, because he is not there to be buddy, buddy in the gym,” Herring said. “When we leave the gym we can be brothers and laugh and joke, but he is there to really push me.
“We have sparred a lot and he is a natural welterweight now. I enjoy working with him because if I can go through rigorous rounds in training with him, then fighting guys at my natural weight – and I don’t really believe that super-featherweight is Carl Frampton’s natural weight, because he has only had one or two fights there – mentally, it shouldn’t get to you.
“Bud has been at my side for all of my fights since we were training together, making sure I don’t slack. It is great to have a guy like that walking beside you and pushing you along the same track.
“I have got one of the best fighters in the world. Bud feels I am well prepared for this fight, he has no worries for me because he has watched over me and even with the postponements, I have not lost any of the hunger. I’m definitely ready and excited for the fight. I have put in more than enough work for this, I will be ready when the bell rings.”
Frampton has been vocal in his belief that Herring must struggle at the weight, having boxed at light-welterweight at the London Olympics in 2012. Herring, though, says he boxed above his natural weight as an amateur as his time in the US Marines made it difficult to cut weight for a tournament.
“When I met Carl in November 2019, they thought I was 30 pounds over the limit, but I was actually already at a good weight,” Herring said. “I don’t believe in blowing up crazy between fights. The size difference was noticeable, but while I might be bigger, I give him the respect because Carl has a lot of experience and championship fights.
“But he was a super bantamweight and, as an amateur, I have come down from close to welterweight. I am definitely the bigger man.”
The fight takes place at Caesars Palace in Dubai, a resort based on a manmade island in the Persian Gulf. As well as only a small, invited audience, the fight will take place well after midnight, to suit television audiences in the United States and the United Kingdom.
It had been originally scheduled for Belfast last June before the pandemic struck. It was then due to take place in London in February, before a Frampton hand injury saw it delayed and moved again.
“I was looking forward to it when it was scheduled for Belfast, in Frampton’s backyard,” Herring said. “I never made a complaint about it, I never had an issue, because I respected the European atmosphere, so I was looking forward to it.
“My Olympic team-mate Errol Spence fought Kell Brook in the UK, that was a huge spectacle and I wanted to be part of it. It is something I can look back on in years to come as special to me.
“But things happen and I can’t complain about things that are out of my control. I’m happy I can still get this fight. I am really motivated because a win over Frampton does a lot for my career, he brings a lot to the table.
“It is good to have a marquee opponent to go up against.”
Ron Lewis is a senior writer for BoxingScene. He was Boxing Correspondent for The Times, where he worked from 2001-2019 - covering four Olympic Games and numerous world title fights across the globe. He has written about boxing for a wide variety of publications worldwide since the 1980s.