With his first title defense now out of the way, Jamel Herring can now look to the future.

What the junior lightweight titlist doesn’t hope to see is another empty line of willing divisional peers to face him in the ring.

The 34-year old southpaw from the Coram section of Long Island, New York turned away mandatory challenger Lamont Roach Jr. in gutting out a 12-round points win Saturday evening at Chukchansi Park in Fresno, California. The ESPN+ streamed headliner came about primarily due to Herring’s inability to entice any of the other junior lightweight beltholders into the ring, namely a unification bout with Miguel Berchelt that he thought for sure was in the works following his own title win this past May.

“I don’t get it, Miguel Berchelt was ringside and thought for sure he was going to face (then-defending titlist) Masayuki Ito next,” Herring (21-2, 10KOs) told BoxingScene.com of the circumstances surrounding his victory over Ito to become a 130-pound titlist this past Memorial Day weekend. “The moment my hand was raised, all of a sudden he’s not interested in unifying the title anymore.”

Berchelt (37-1, 33KOs) instead faced former titlist Jason Sosa, whom he stopped in four rounds just one weekend ago in Carson, California. Their ESPN headliner was intentionally staged one week ahead of Herring’s Veterans Day-themed title defense on ESPN+, as part of a month that includes former featherweight titlist Oscar Valdez and former two-division champ Carl Frampton in separate bouts on the same Nov. 30 show featuring both in the 130-pound division.

All of the aforementioned boxers remain on Herring’s radar, though he’s learned to no longer hold his breath waiting for such fights to materialize anytime soon.

“Oscar Valdez vacated his featherweight title, and was first in line for my title. He passed,” notes Herring. “Miguel Berchelt went from saying he wants to unify to suddenly forgetting how to pronounce my name.

"The only guy who wants to fight everyone is Carl Frampton. So, who knows. If he gets past my boy Tyler McCreary (16-0-1, 7KOs)—shout to Toledo, Ohio—then I’d love to face him next St. Patrick’s Day, head back home to New York and give our fans a big fight to remember.”

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