Making the Rounds: Jamel Herring's controversial DQ win; Top Rank's stacked October schedule

Kevin Iole
·Combat columnist
·5 mins read
A weekly look at boxing's hottest topics.
A weekly look at boxing's hottest topics.

How many more in-ring tragedies will we have to endure before those in the boxing business come to their senses? The latest example of the too-macho nonsense that pervades this sport is the reaction to Jamel Herring’s disqualification victory over Jonathan Oquendo.

Herring’s bout with Oquendo at the MGM Grand Conference Center was twice postponed when the Marine tested positive for COVID-19. On Saturday, Herring won every round, but he suffered a nasty cut over the right eye that eventually ended the fight.

Oquendo repeatedly used his head and a fifth-round head butt was deemed intentional by referee Tony Weeks. When Herring said he couldn’t see in the eighth round because of the cuts, it was ruled a disqualification.

That led to criticism of Herring by ESPN analysts Tim Bradley and Andre Ward, both former world champion fighters and two of the best at what they do.

Their criticism led to a slew of it for Herring online, who deserved none of it.

He suffered a scratched retina and had his cuts glued, not stitched. Clearly, his vision was compromised.

He certainly didn’t fight his best fight and no one would suggest he deserves to be on the various pound-for-pound lists, but to question Herring’s courage is outrageous and to forget so many tragedies that came before.

Bradley was a ringside analyst for ESPN on the Maxim Dadashev-Subriel Matis fight on July 19, 2019, in which Dadashev died of injuries suffered in the ring. Bradley was correctly distraught and on a later SportsCenter appearance could barely contain his emotions.

“He wanted to bring his family here [to the U.S.] and getting his green card was very important to him, to bring his family from Russia to California” Bradley said of Dadashev on SportsCenter on July 23, 2019. “That was the reason why he said he was fighting and the reason why he needed to win a world championship to have that status to be able to get his green card.

“Now, it’s all gone. He had little kids. He has a wife. He has a family. You think about these things and sometimes we as fighters we get in the ring and I have to tell you, we do think about that, of not returning home.”

Bradley was eloquent not only in that appearance, but others, as he talked about Dadashev’s death.

But he was critical of Herring on Saturday in a situation where the fighter said he couldn’t see. Who are we on the outside to question the courage of a man like Herring, who not only won a world title but enlisted in the Marines, served two deployments in Iraq and then became captain of the 2012 U.S. Olympic boxing team.

Jamel Herring fights Jonathan Oquendo at MGM Grand Conference Center on Sep. 5, 2020 in Las Vegas. (Photo by Mikey Williams/Top Rank via Getty Images)
Jamel Herring fights Jonathan Oquendo at MGM Grand Conference Center on Sep. 5, 2020 in Las Vegas. (Photo by Mikey Williams/Top Rank via Getty Images)

It’s fair to question Herring’s talent, and to suggest he won’t be able to defeat Carl Frampton, his likely next opponent.

It’s totally unfair, though, to question his motives and essentially accuse him of quitting as so many have done.

We can’t be so numb to the fighter deaths in the ring that we forget them that easily, can we?

No mandatory ordered for Jamel Herring

Herring’s fight with Frampton has long been in the works, delayed because of the pandemic and Herring’s two positive tests. Now, because of his eye injury, it may be delayed again.

There were numerous reports that the WBO was going to order Herring to face mandatory challenger Shakur Stevenson by January, which would essentially kill a Herring-Frampton fight.

WBO president Francisco “Paco” Valcarcel took to Twitter to deny that, though.

The WBO is right to allow Herring to fight Frampton before he has to get to Stevenson, especially since Stevenson hasn’t been waiting long. He vacated his featherweight title in June to move up to super featherweight, and there is plenty of time after Herring-Frampton for him to face the winner.

Good-looking October schedule set for Top Rank

Top Rank announced its October schedule on Tuesday and it’s the company’s best month since it returned in June from a delay caused by the coronavirus pandemic.

Top Rank had previously announced the Oct. 17 lightweight title unification bout between Vasiliy Lomachenko and Teofimo Lopez, which will be on ESPN and be for the IBF-WBA-WBO lightweight titles and the WBC lightweight franchise title.

But it announced its full schedule, which has a number of entertaining matches on it.

On Oct. 3 on ESPN+, Jose Zepeda will face Ivan Baranchyk in a super lightweight bout.

On Oct. 9, KO artist Emanuel Navarrete will face unbeaten Ruben Villa for the vacant WBO featherweight title on ESPN.

On Oct. 23, light heavyweight Artur Beterbiev, who is 15-0 with 15 knockouts, will defend his IBF-WBC belts against Adam Deines in Moscow on ESPN+.

And on Oct. 31, budding superstar Naoya Inoue, who is 19-0 with 16 KOs, will meet Jason Moloney on ESPN+ for the IBF-WBA bantamweight titles.

All fights except for Beterbiev-Deines will be at the MGM Grand Conference Center in Las Vegas.

He said it

“Teofimo Lopez can talk all he wants. He’s very good at talking. He has done nothing but say my name for the past two years. I am a fighter, and my goal is to win another world title. Good for Teofimo. When we fight in Las Vegas, he will eat my punches and his words. I will be the better man, and four world titles will come home with me to Ukraine.” — lightweight champion Vasiliy Lomachenko.

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