Oscar Valdez views the Jamel Herring-Carl Frampton fight like lots of experts and fans.
The WBC super featherweight champion could see either Herring or Frampton emerging victorious Saturday night in Dubai. Oddsmakers have made Frampton a slight favorite entering their 12-round, 130-pound fight for Herring’s WBO junior lightweight title.
Valdez thinks Herring has the physical advantages, but Valdez just proved versus Miguel Berchelt that taller and longer doesn’t necessarily ensure victory. Mexico’s Valdez (29-0, 23 KOs) knocked out the favored Berchelt (38-2, 34 KOs) in the 10th round of their 130-pound championship fight February 20 at MGM Grand Conference Center in Las Vegas.
The 30-year-old Valdez will keep a close eye on the Herring-Frampton fight because he’d like to face the winner in a championship unification match later this year.
“[It’s] a tough fight for both of them,” Valdez said in an interview released Friday night through promoter Top Rank’s Twitter account. “I think Jamel Herring has a slight advantage because of his reach and how tall he is. But Carl Frampton definitely carries a punch. He has very, very much experience to win this fight. So, I think it’s a toss-up. Anybody can win. I would definitely love to unify my title with the winner of these two. I’ve got nothing but respect for both of them. Let the best man win and I hope you guys enjoy it. I think the fans are gonna be the true winners this night.”
The 35-year-old Herring (22-2, 10 KOs), a southpaw from Coram, New York, stands 5-feet-10, five inches taller than Frampton (28-2, 16 KOs). Belfast’s Frampton has exhibited more power during his career, but mostly while competing in the 122-pound and 126-pound divisions.
The 34-year-old Frampton admits that he is probably better suited for a lower weight class. The former featherweight and junior featherweight champ has expressed complete confidence, though, that he’ll become a champion in a third division versus Herring.
ESPN+ will stream Herring-Frampton as the main event of a five-fight show from Caesars Bluewaters Dubai. Coverage is scheduled to start at 2 p.m. ET/11 a.m. PT on ESPN’s streaming service.
Keith Idec is a senior writer/columnist for BoxingScene.com. He can be reached on Twitter @Idecboxing.