PREVIEW: JAMEL HERRING VS LAMONT ROACH JR
Jamel Herring (20-2 10KO) makes the first defence of his WBO super featherweight title against mandatory challenger Lamont Roach Jr (19-0-1 7KO) this weekend, in Fresno, California. Although this fight has been somewhat overshadowed by a bout between two celebrities, it is a very competitive dust up at the top of the super featherweight division.
Herring, 34, snatched the title from Masayuki Ito in May and added another incredible chapter to what has already been an extraordinary journey. The story of Jamel Herring is unique and one that will be sure to inspire future generations. Outside of the ring, he has faced many of life’s toughest battles and inside the ring he has progressed from Olympian to world champion and as he begins his reign at the top of the super featherweight division, he will know a win here can open up a huge, unification fight with WBC Champion, Miguel Berchelt, who will be ringside this weekend.
In the opposite corner, Lamont Roach Jr, was a standout amateur himself and after winning the National Golden Gloves Title he turned over to the professional ranks under the guidance of Oscar De La Hoya’s, Goldenboy Promotions. The only mark on his record came via a split-decision draw against two-time world title challenger, Orlando Cruz and since that fight, he is on a three-fight winning streak as he enters the biggest fight of his career, so far.
Stylistically, Herring holds some physical advantages over Roach Jr. Standing three inches taller and with a two-inch reach advantage, Herring will prefer to keep the fight on the outside and control Roach Jr with his jab and use the same counter-attacking tactics that served him so well in his fight against Masayuki Ito.
Roach Jr is ten years his opponents junior and will be hoping he can use his youth to his advantage and will be looking to set a pace that will make things uncomfortable for Herring. Interestingly, this fight is the first time that Roach Jr has been scheduled to go the twelve-round distance, so should the fight start with a high tempo, it will be interesting to see how Roach Jr handles stepping into unchartered territory in his first world title fight.
The two men are former sparring partners and will be familiar with each other’s style and so often in these clashes between fighters who are familiar with one another, it comes down to which fighter can implement their game plan most effectively. The fight has several interesting variables and looks to be a battle of age and experience against youth and exuberance.
Regardless of how you look at this clash, it matches up to be a competitive affair and the winner will have some interesting, and lucrative, options in the new year. Fittingly, the fight falls on the weekend before Veteran’s day in the USA and as a former marine, this will be a great honor for the champion, Jamel Herring. His loyal fan base includes several of his former marine colleagues, who attend his fights in full, service uniform. They will be in full voice, as usual, and will be willing their former colleague, and friend, over the line so that he can keep writing chapters in his already remarkable story.