In real estate, location may be everything. In boxing, it’s not as important. Particularly for Jamel Herring. Set up the ring, point him in the direction of his opponent and he’s ready.
Whether he’s fighting Carl Frampton in Belfast, as originally planned, or Dubai, the actual site of the fight, the important thing for Herring is that he finally will get to fight the biggest opponent of his career. Herring, from Coram, defends his WBO junior lightweight title against Frampton on Saturday from the Caesars Bluewaters Dubai. The fight will stream live on ESPN+ at 4 p.m. Eastern. It’s the first world title fight ever to take place in Dubai, United Arab Emirates.
"Since November 2019, this fight has been talked about, and this is my moment," Herring said on a conference call this week. "This is what I've worked for. This is what I've been asking for. This is a big fight for me now. Yes, a win over Frampton would be a career-defining milestone."
The fight has been postponed twice, once because of the global coronavirus pandemic and again because Frampton injured his hand. Frampton is a two-division world champion and has wins over Leo Santa Cruz and Nonito Donaire.
"I was able to stay focused with all the postponements because I had that motivation and hunger," said Herring, who is 22-2 with 10 knockouts. "I know this is still a big fight. I didn't want to let it go."
Herring, 35, grew up in Coram and learned to box at the Veterans Memorial Gym in Shirley. He left Long Island in 2003 when he enlisted in the Marine Corps. He won the WBO title in 2019 and has defended it twice.
The 34-year-old Frampton (28-2, 16 KOs) is attempting to make history by becoming the first three-division world champion from Northern Ireland or the Republic of Ireland.
"I'm very proud of what I've done in my career so far, but the chance to go down as the only ever three-weight world champion from the whole island of Ireland — one of the only British fighters to ever do it as well — you join an absolute elite bunch of global fighters to do that," said Frampton, who is from Belfast. "I want to do that. I gotta expect the best Jamel Herring there's ever been."
As for the delays and location changes, Herring remains unfazed.
"I don't have any doubts with the fight happening in Dubai because I'm a U.S. Marine. I've fought everywhere, in terms of the battlefield or in the ring," he said. "If you guys remember, I was willing to face him in Belfast with no issue, in front of thousands of people. I was willing to give him that home-field advantage because I wanted the fight that bad that I didn't really care where the fight was at. As long as we had a ring and some gloves, I didn't care."