Under the bright lights, above where a pitcher's mound normally stands, Jamel "Semper Fi" Herring will enter the ring for the first time as a champion. (photos by Stacey Verbeek, Mikey Williams)
Herring, who makes the first defense of his WBO junior lightweight world title against Lamont Roach Jr. Saturday evening (10 p.m. ET, ESPN+) at Chukchansi Park (home of the Triple-A Fresno Grizzlies), is a U.S. Marine Corps veteran who served two tours of duty in Iraq. He won the world title on Memorial Day Weekend earlier this year and, in fitting fashion, will defend his belt on Veterans Day Weekend and the eve of the Marine Corps Birthday.
In the 10-round co-feature, IBF No. 1 heavyweight contender Kubrat Pulev (27-1, 14 KOs), seeking a 2020 world title shot, will face Detroit-based veteran Rydell Booker (26-2, 13 KOs). Pulev is angling for a shot at the winner of the Andy Ruiz Jr.-Anthony Joshua rematch, while the 38-year-old Booker is 4-1 since coming back to the ring following a 12-year prison sentence.
In other action, after the main event takes place, 19-year-old lightweight sensation Gabriel Flores Jr. (15-0, 6 KOs) will face Aelio Mesquita (19-4, 17 KOs) in an eight-rounder. Flores, from nearby Stockton, Calif., will have a rabid cheering section.