Jamel Herring’s height and reach advantages aside, Carl Frampton feels fighting within the 130-pound division actually is better for him than the WBO junior lightweight champion.
The 5-feet-10 Herring stands five inches taller than Frampton and owns a significant edge in reach. Herring began his career as a lightweight as well, which helped him grow accustomed to taking punches from bigger, stronger fighters than Frampton.
Belfast’s Frampton admits he is probably best suited to fight at the featherweight limit of 126 pounds. He feels fresher and stronger at junior lightweight, though, which Frampton expects to help him when he fights a left-handed opponent who has to squeeze himself down to the 130-pound limit.
Frampton, 34, will challenge Cincinnati’s Herring, 35, for his WBO title in a main event ESPN+ will stream Saturday as part of a five-fight show from Caesars Bluewaters Dubai (2 p.m. ET; 11 a.m. PT).
“I feel great,” Frampton told BoxingScene.com. “I genuinely do. I know you’d expect me to say that, but just the way things have been going in sparring and preparation, and my strength work that I’ve been doing, I’m stronger now than I’ve ever been. I finished 12 hard rounds on the pads [recently] just wanting more. I’m just bursting at the seams, feeling like I’m ready to go, ready to fight. And I’ve never really been in that position before because I’m always struggling a little to make weights, and you’re always a little bit tired at this stage of camp.
“I think super featherweight is gonna suit me more than Herring because it’s the opposite way around for him. He’s coming down to the weight, and I think he’s fighting at a weight he shouldn’t be, because I think he’s too big. I don’t have that issue. I’m probably fighting out of my weight division. But because of that, I think it’s gonna suit me on the night, especially against this opponent.”
Frampton (28-2, 16 KOs), a former IBF/WBA 122-pound and WBA/WBO 126-pound champion, has never boxed exactly at the 130-pound limit.
He faced Tyler McCreary at a catch weight of 128 pounds in his first fight following his 12-round, unanimous-decision defeat to former IBF featherweight champ Josh Warrington (30-1, 7 KOs) in December 2018 in Manchester, England. After his 10-round points victory versus McCreary (16-1-1, 7 KOs), Frampton fought late replacement Darren Traynor (16-4, 7 KOs) at the lightweight limit of 135 pounds.
Frampton stopped Scotland’s Traynor in the seventh round August 15 in London, yet he acknowledged he was out of his element competing at lightweight. While Frampton feels fantastic at junior lightweight, he doubts Herring (22-2, 10 KOs) could honestly say the same thing.
“He struggles with the weight,” Frampton said. “He may say that he doesn’t, but it’s physically impossible that he doesn’t. I know what it was like for me to make junior featherweight [122 pounds]. It was a slog, and it was hard. It’s gotta be similar, or maybe even worse, for Jamel to make super featherweight. I think having to hold the weight for such a long time, I don’t know if that suits him, really.”
Keith Idec is a senior writer/columnist for BoxingScene.com. He can be reached on Twitter @Idecboxing.