Brighter days lie ahead for Jamel Herring and Carl Frampton, even if it has to come at the expense of the other.
The pair of hard-luck junior lightweights are back on course to collide later this year, assuming that both prevail in their upcoming scheduled bouts. Belfast’s Frampton (27-2, 15KOs) returns to the ring this weekend, facing late replacement Darren Traynor (16-3, 7KOs) live on ESPN (Saturday, 4:00pm ET) from BT Sport Studio in East London. Three weeks later, Herring and Puerto Rico’s Jonathan Oquendo (31-6, 19KOs) make their third attempt at getting in the ring as they are due to meet September 5 at MGM Grand Conference Center in Las Vegas. Herring makes the second defense of the WBO 130-pound title in the fight.
Both bouts will headline separate ESPN telecasts and—assuming the fights happen and go according to plan—should lead to their own clash later this fall.
“Jamel Herring will be defending his title versus Oquendo. Finally, he will get that off after it was twice postponements because of this coronavirus,” Bob Arum, Hall of Fame promoter and head of Top Rank noted during a recent media Zoom conference call to discuss Frampton’s bout. “That fight will happen September 5. If Jamel is successful and if Carl is successful on Saturday, I have a date picked out in November where they will fight for the title.
“That’s done. Everybody is on board.”
The rescheduled date marks a second effort at a Herring-Frampton pairing. The two were set to meet on June 13 in Frampton’s hometown of Belfast, Northern Ireland. The event was never formally announced and ultimately pulled from the date due to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.
Herring (21-2. 10KOs) felt the effects directly, having twice seen plans for a title defense versus Oquendo fall through after testing positive for the infectious disease. The first occasion came in time to reschedule their planned July 2 meeting in Las Vegas, with Top Rank moving the event to July 14.
It didn’t take, as Herring tested positive on the morning of the weigh-in. An antibody test and subsequent COVID test suggested a false positive, though too late by that point to keep the bout intact for that show.
The road hasn’t been much easier for Frampton, a former two-division champion who has endured his own run of odd luck.
Efforts to make his junior lightweight debut last August were ruined during fight week, when Frampton suffered a freak injury after a hotel lobby pillar crushed his left hand, leaving him with a fractured fifth metacarpal bone and a cut. He was able to resurface last November, scoring a one-sided 10-round win over unbeaten Tyler McCreary three weeks after Herring outpointed Lamont Roach in his first title defense.
Moving past their scrapped plans for earlier this year, Frampton was placed on this weekend’s show in East London. Naturally, he was forced to sweat out his team securing an opponent after originally scheduled Vahram Vardanyan was unable to secure a travel visa in time. Traynor was kept on standby for such an occurrence, though accepting the fight on the condition it takes place at lightweight.
“The past few years, there have been a fair amount of turmoil,” Frampton quipped of his career. “Things have been up and down. I haven’t been the luckiest fighter in the world and neither has Jamel.”
With any luck, they will finally meet in November.
“One thing I can’t control is the virus… but we’re going to do that fight in November,” vows Arum. “It may very well be another Bubble fight, in other words no fans. We’ll have to get Carl over to the states to do it. As long as these two guys win, you can count on a title fight between Herring and Frampton happening in November.”
Jake Donovan is a senior writer for BoxingScene.com. Twitter: @JakeNDaBox
This article was originally published on www.boxingscene.com