As a set-up for a July 4 weekend card, you could do worse than Olympic Marine Jamel Herring. As a meaningful fight for the 30-year-old lightweight prospect, Denis Shafikov was as hard as you ought to even think about offering him. But if you wanted Herring to win to commemorate AMERICA, it was a bad match-up, and Herring got stopped in the final round.
Herring (left), sadly, isn’t a fighter who will become an authentic contender, and it’s not because of character, which he showed as he took a beating. It’s because he started late and looks like it — he throws arm punches, mainly — and he doesn’t have any power.
Shafikov (right) hasn’t been a world-beater, having lost to the two best opponents he has faced, tricksters Miguel Vazquez and Rances Barthelemy. But he is someone you could have called a contender at some point. He amounted to a pretty big step up for Herring. It was sort of worth the gamble; somehow Herring was the betting favorite, even. If Herring had faced someone like he has been fighting, exactly zero people would’ve watched. And at 30, it’s not like he has years more where he can get seasoning.
Those who did watch Saturday on ESPN saw Herring get dropped in the very 2nd round by a looping right hand from Shafikov that sent Herring back into the ropes, the only thing that kept him off the ground. Shafikov swarmed Herring from then until the final bell, working inside and with uppercuts. The taller Herring couldn’t keep Shafikov at a better range.
The 9th round was particularly brutal, as Shafikov rocked Herring all over the ring. A man wearing a stethoscope was on his feet, looking very concerned, the entire stanza. It probably should’ve been stopped. But Herring’s corner said they’d give him one more round and threatened to stop it if Herring didn’t show them something.
That’s how it went down. Herring started getting hammered by Shafikov combinations again, and the corner wisely followed through on its threat.
Herring probably stays in the PBC rotation, since the promotional outfit tends to do that with its defeated fighters. But it’s hard to imagine how he makes himself more viable.
(Photo: Nabeel Ahmad/Premier Boxing Champions)