Jamel Herring hasn’t dwelled on his one-sided defeat to Shakur Stevenson in his last fight.

The former WBO junior lightweight champion knew how difficult upsetting Stevenson would be long before they entered the ring the night of October 23 at State Farm Arena in Atlanta. Stevenson simply was too fast, too skilled and too strong for Herring, who was way behind on all three scorecards when Stevenson stopped him in the 10th round of a main event ESPN televised.

Herring, who will return to the ring against Jamaine Ortiz on Saturday night in Las Vegas, wasn’t the least bit surprised Stevenson handled previously undefeated Oscar Valdez with ease, either. The 36-year-old Herring believes Stevenson (18-0, 9 KOs), a southpaw from Newark, New Jersey, will be one of boxing’s best, pound-for-pound, in the near future, someone who will be tough for any 130-pound or 135-pound opponent to beat.

“I think he can be one of the best pound-for-pound fighters out there in today’s generation,” Herring told BoxingScene.com. “Shakur, let’s be honest, he’s a generational talent. That’s why I don’t lose any sleep or beat myself up mentally for coming up short against Shakur Stevenson. I was there ringside, commentating for Sky Sports, with Top Rank, during his fight against Valdez [on April 30 in Las Vegas]. And I can’t say I was surprised. You know, the kid is just talented and I take nothing from him.”

Fighting each other brought Stevenson and Herring closer. Stevenson stated before their mandated matchup that they weren’t all that tight, that they just trained in the same gym in Colorado Springs and were essentially acquaintances.

“You know, we actually speak more often, on a regular, now and we’re really good friends,” Herring said. “I was actually checking up on him a lot during the training camp for Valdez, just to see where he was at mentally. I know what he could do physically and the skill training, but I wanted to see how, you know, him going into enemy territory [at MGM Grand Garden Arena], which it was, how he was mentally. And he was mentally prepared. And I just told him, ‘Hey, continue representing yourself as a champion, with pride,’ and I wished him the best of luck. But I feel like he definitely could be a top pound-for-pound fighter in the near future sometime.”

Herring (23-3, 11 KOs), a 2012 U.S. Olympian from Coram, New York, and Ortiz (15-0-1, 8 KOs), of Worcester, Massachusetts, will meet as part of ESPN’s tripleheader Saturday night from Resorts World Las Vegas (8 p.m. ET; 5 p.m. PT).

Cincinnati’s Herring, who was a lightweight from late in 2012 until mid-2018, has moved back up to the lightweight division to oppose Ortiz in this 10-round encounter, but he can still make the junior lightweight limit of 130 pounds. He took this lightweight fight versus Ortiz only after a proposed lightweight fight against Richard Commey and a junior lightweight bout with Robson Conceicao didn’t materialize.

Kazakhstan’s Janibek Alimkhanuly (11-0, 7 KOs) and England’s Danny Dignum (14-0-1, 8 KOs) will fight for the vacant WBO interim middleweight title in ESPN’s 12-round main event Saturday night. The telecast also will feature welterweight prospect Delante “Tiger” Johnson (3-0, 2 KOs), a 2021 U.S. Olympian from Cleveland who will square off against Argentina’s Agustin Kucharski (8-4-1, 3 KOs) in a six-rounder.

Keith Idec is a senior writer/columnist for BoxingScene.com. He can be reached on Twitter @Idecboxing.