Herring retains title with win over Roach

Jamel Herring used his boxing skill and timing to get the best of his challenger Lamont Roach Jr., but not before weathering a scare late in the fight.

Herring (21-2, 10 KOs) got a unanimous decision over Roach Jr. (19-1-1, 7 KOs) with two scores of 117-111 and a score of 115-113 to defend his WBO super featherweight championship in front of 7,412 in attendance in Fresno, California. It was Herring’s first defense of that title since winning it on Memorial Day weekend over Masayuki Ito and could set him up for a big matchup in the division.

The fight was a tactical battle for the champion from New York who now resides in Cincinnati. He controlled the pace of the fight from a distance while Roach was looking for a big counter shot. By doing that, Herring scored a lot of the early rounds. Roach did not pick up his activity until after he landed a counter right hand in the seventh round. He continued that momentum in the eighth round with a combination that seemed to affect Herring. In the ninth, Roach got caught with a right hand coming in that put him down to the canvas, but referee Marcos Rosales ruled it a slip.

Herring and Roach try to land in close quarters. Photo by Mikey Williams

In the eleventh round, Roach scored big with a right hand but it was at the end of the round which prevented him from following up. He could not get to Herring in the last round to score a knockout, and Herring got the victory.

After being aware that he was down in the cards, Roach felt that he had to get the knockout late to win. “What was going through my mind was, ‘I got to get him out of here,'” said Roach, who was in his first 12-round bout. “We knew we had to dig down. When I hurt him, all that was on my mind was finishing him because I’m coming into uncharted territory.”

“He’s tall, awkward and lanky, very elusive. When I was throwing my hands, it wasn’t that hard to hit him. I think if I threw more earlier, I would have knocked him out.”

Herring’s win leaves him open to bigger fights in the division. There was talk about him unifying against the WBC champion Miguel Berchelt, however Berchelt may likely face former WBO featherweight champion Oscar Valdez. Andrew Cancio holds the WBA title and would like to fight Herring, but Cancio has an upcoming fight against Rene Alvarado on November 23rd. It remains to be seen what happens in the future for Herring, but for now he is glad that he is still a world champion.

“I won {the title} on Memorial Day Weekend and I defended it on Veterans Day Weekend, so it definitely means a lot to all of our troops out there defending our country and still in harm’s way,” Herring said. “This is for ya’ll. I couldn’t lose it on our weekend. It means a lot to still be a world champion.”


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