Junior lightweight world champion Jamel Herring spent a few hours at a Las Vegas hospital on Saturday night following his one-sided but rough eighth-round disqualification victory over Jonathan Oquendo inside the bubble of the conference center at the MGM Grand.
Now home in Cincinnati, Herring will spend some time recovering from his wounds but he is still anxious to next face former two-division world titlist Carl Frampton, the fight Top Rank and both boxers anticipate.
Herring, however, told BoxingScene on Monday that the fight with Frampton could be backed up until December or January instead of November, when they hoped it would take place.
“I want Carl before the year is up, but (Top Rank chairman) Bob (Arum) told me after the fight that he’d like to push the fight back ‘til December/January time frame since I’ve been constantly training throughout the summer,” said Herring, who had the fight with Oquendo twice postponed from July 2 and July 14 because Herring twice tested positive for Covid-19.
Another issue that could arise when it comes to trying to finalize a Herring-Frampton fight is Herring’s mandatory defense.
“I know the WBO is trying to force me to fight my mandatory by January, but I know (Top Rank) obviously has other plans, so I’ll see how that goes,” Herring said.
Herring’s mandatory challenger is former featherweight world titlist and Top Rank stablemate Shakur Stevenson (14-0, 8 KOs), 23, of Newark, New Jersey, who vacated his WBO 126-pound belt and moved up to junior lightweight and easily knocked out Felix Caraballo on June 9. The WBO installed Stevenson as its No. 1 junior lightweight contender, per its rules, after Stevenson’s team made the request.
“We’ve stated many times in the past that we wouldn’t fight unless it was the very last resort,” Herring said of a possible fight with Stevenson.
Whomever and whenever Herring fights next the first thing is for him to heal from the injuries he suffered against Oquendo, who was disqualified for repeated head butts. Herring suffered cuts over his right eye and also was diagnosed with a scratched cornea, which impaired his vision. Herring said he did not require stitches to close the nasty cuts.
“No stitches. They glued the cuts instead, but I have a scratched cornea, which caused the blurred vision,” Herring said. “Docs told me just to take time off and follow up with my doctors at home about my eye, and I had an old broken fracture in my face that didn’t heal correctly, which didn’t help the eye socket either. They wanted to make sure I didn’t have a broken orbital bone.”
Herring said he was not given a specific time table for when he could next fight.
“They honestly didn’t give me a specific time or details, just told me to follow up with my doctors here (in Cincinnati) if it got worse,” Herring said.
Herring (22-2, 10 KOs), 34, a southpaw and captain of the 2012 U.S. Olympic boxing team, scored a clean knockdown on a third-round left uppercut and notched another two-point round in the fifth when Oquendo (31-7, 19 KOs), 37, of Puerto Rico, opened a nasty cut over Herring’s right eye with a head butt that referee Tony Weeks ruled was intentional and docked him one point.
Oquendo used his head constantly throughout the fight and by the end of the eighth round the cut head gotten worse from repeated head clashes. Herring, who had blood dripping from the cut, was asked about his eye by the ringside doctor after the round and told him could no longer see out of it.
After some initial confusion in the corner and by the Nevada State Athletic Commission about what the ruling would be, Herring was declared the winner by DQ due to the repeated head butts.
Even if the fight been ruled a technical decision, Herring would have won handily as he led 80-70, 80-70 and 79-71 on the scorecards. He dominated the fight, outlanding Oquendo 132-70, according to CompuBox statistics, and outlanded Oquendo in every round, even though he was disappointed with his performance and how the fight ended.
Frampton (28-2, 16 KOs), 33, of Northern Ireland, a former world titlist at featherweight and junior featherweight, punched his way into the fight with Herring with a seventh-round knockout of Darren Traynor in London on Aug. 15.
Dan Rafael was ESPN.com's senior boxing writer for fifteen years, and covered the sport for five years at USA Today. He was the 2013 BWAA Nat Fleischer Award winner for excellence in boxing journalism.