Fighting on the eve of the 244th birthday of the U.S. Marines Corps and two days prior to Veterans Day, there was no way that Jamel Herring was going to leave the ring without his junior lightweight title still intact.

Of course, that also meant surviving the scariest moment of Saturday’s title defense versus Lamont Roach Jr., who rocked Herring late in the 11th round of Saturday’s ESPN+ headliner at Chukchansi Park in Fresno, California. The moment was a major momentum shift, though not lasting long enough to change the outcome of the fight as Herring earned a unanimous decision.

“It was a good shot,” Herring (21-2, 10KOs) admitted to ESPN’s Crystina Poncher after making his first successful title defense. “I thought I had my hand up, but Lamont cuffed it behind it, and I can’t take nothing from it.

“It was a clean shot. I just had to toughen up and fight it out. I couldn’t go down. I’m a Marine.”

The win marked the second patriotic holiday-themed ring appearance for Herring, a U.S. Marine who served two tours in Iraq and was named captain of the 2012 U.S. Olympic boxing team which competed in London. Saturday’s bout came less than six months after his pre-Memorial Day junior lightweight title winning effort over Japan’s Masayuki Ito in Kissimmee, Florida.

The pre-Veterans Day celebration came complete with the 34-year old southpaw and his team entering the ring while riding a military Humvee while being escorted by 265 of his closest friends in the U.S. Marines Corps.

Still, Roach Jr. (19-1-1, 7KOs) didn’t come just to play the part of willing opponent. The first time title challenger did his best to spoil the celebration, coming up just short as Herring enjoyed an early lead and fended off a scrappy finish from his determined challenger to salute his fellow men and women in uniform.

“I won {the title} on Memorial Day Weekend and I defended it on Veterans Day Weekend, so it definitely means a lot to all of our troops out there defending our country and still in harm’s way,” noted Herring. “This is for ya’ll.

“I couldn’t lose it on our weekend. It means a lot to still be a world champion.”

Jake Donovan is a senior writer for Twitter: @JakeNDaBox