With just 14 bouts under his belt, Jamel Herring lacks the experience of most 30-year-old pro boxers. A couple of tours of duty in Iraq and a stint in the Olympics will tend to have that effect.
Jamel Herring didn't get involved in boxing until 2001, and it took him 11 years to go pro, only doing so after serving in the U.S. Marines for nine years. When he finally made the move to the professional ranks after representing the United States in the 2012 London Games, he immediately faced a tough decision: Should he train under Barry Hunter or Mike Stafford?
It was like choosing between a Ferrari and a Lamborghini. Either way you’re doing just fine, but you still have to pick one. Ultimately, fate would choose for him.
“The first person who called was Barry Hunter,” Herring said. “In 2011, I worked closely with Barry Hunter and Mike at the USA Boxing camp. Those are the two guys I felt comfortable with. But I couldn't get a hold of Barry Hunter. So I got in touch with Mike. I said, 'I want to go pro, but I would like if I could work under you and train under you.'”
There was just one condition: Herring had to be willing to come down in weight. Like his Olympic teammate Errol Spence Jr., Herring competed in London at a higher weight than what he’d eventually campaign at professionally.
In this case, it meant coming down from the Olympic junior welterweight limit of 141 pounds to a more sleek 135.
“The pros are a lot different. The guys who fight at 140, these guys come down from like 160, 150. That was basically a smart decision," Herring said. "I never had a problem making weight anyway. I make 135 no problem. At one point they said to me, 'Can you go to 130?' but I felt like that was pushing it.”
The easy transition has paid off, to the tune of 14 fights, 14 victories and eight knockouts. Up next is Luis Eduardo Flores (21-2, 17 KOs) on February 9 at the Sands Bethlehem Event Center in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania (Fox Sports 1, 11 p.m. ET/8 p.m. PT), where Herring will try to show once again that moving down in weight was the right call.
For full coverage of Herring vs Flores, make sure to check out our fight page.