His last three fights came against boxers who had a combined 40 losses. Now it’s time for Jamel Herring to prove why he’s considered a top prospect at 135 pounds.
For Herring (14-0, 8 KOs), stepping up against Luis Eduardo Flores (21-2, 17 KOs) represents a significant test, even with the Colombia native fighting in the United States for the first time Tuesday night at the Sands Bethlehem Event Center in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania (Fox Sports 1, 11 p.m. ET/8 p.m. PT).
“I'll give him that,” Herring says about Flores being a legitimate challenge. “Even though my [last opponent] was considered a tough guy, he was too defensive. I'm hoping Flores can show me some things that help me improve as a fighter and basically give the people what they want to see.”
What they want to see is Herring unleash the form he used to stop Ariel Vasquez in three rounds in August. The 2012 U.S. Olympian followed that up in October with a near-shutout decision over Yakubu Amidu in Cincinnati, where Herring trains with Mike Stafford.
Herring, who weighed in Monday at 134.2 pounds to Flores’ 134.7, has been sparring with fellow 135-pounder Robert Easter to prepare for Flores—and to get used to a height and reach disadvantage.
“He’s a little bit taller and rangier,” Jamel Herring says of Flores. “But I think physically and size-wise, I feel that I can hold my own. From what I've seen, he has a decent left hook, but other than that it's nothing I haven't seen before.”
A win Tuesday would have the immediate and obvious benefit of allowing Herring to continue billing himself as an unbeaten fighter. But more important than that, it would allow the Marine veteran, who served two tours of duty in Iraq, to take a step up the ladder in a division that’s fairly open.
Herring knows he’s not ready to tackle 135-pound titleholders such as Rances Barthelemy or Jorge Linares quite yet, but this is a fight that can help propel the 30-year-old southpaw forward on the sometimes tricky-to-navigate path from prospect to contender.
And the boxer nicknamed "Semper Fi” is happy to just let his fighting do the talking.
“I tried my hand at calling out [former British champ] Derry Mathews in the U.K. There’s a lot of buzz going on with the U.K., but they take it as, 'He's just desperate," Herring says. "They don't want to fight you because they see you're hungry.
"Whatever they want me to do, let's go. That’s my Marine Corps mentality. You're given an order, and it's ‘OK, let's just go.’ I've been through so much as a Marine, boxing is the fun part. I know winning this fight will open a lot more doors. As long as every step I make is progress, then I'm happy with that.”
For complete coverage of Herring vs Flores, make sure to hit up our fight page.