Carl Frampton wasn’t trying to make a dramatic proclamation.
The humble Northern Irishman was just being honest when he stated recently that he’ll retire if he loses to Jamel Herring on Saturday night in Dubai. The 34-year-old Frampton explained his rationale for making that statement Thursday during a press conference to promote their 12-round fight for Herring’s WBO junior lightweight title.
“No, it doesn’t add any more pressure,” Frampton said. “I will retire if I lose this fight because I wanna be involved in big fights. And after the Warrington defeat, I made a promise to my wife and kids that I believed that I could win a world title again. And I believed that’s what I wanted to do, and that’s what I could achieve. And the reason I continued on after the Warrington defeat was because I believed I could do it. If I lose to Jamel Herring, I don’t wanna have to go around the houses to get in position to fight another champion again, and be in this game for three years, waiting on fights.”
Belfast’s Frampton (28-2, 16 KOs) moved up from featherweight to junior lightweight after losing a 12-round unanimous decision to England’s Josh Warrington (30-1, 7 KOs), then the IBF 126-pound champion, in December 2018 in Manchester, England. Five months later, Herring became a world champion for the first time at the comparatively late age of 33.
The U.S. Marine has made two defenses of the title he won when he upset Japan’s Masayuki Ito by unanimous decision in May 2019. If the 35-year-old Herring (22-2, 10 KOs) fails to successfully defend his WBO belt for the third time Saturday night, Frampton suspects Herring will be the one to retire.
“To be honest – I’m just being honest, that’s all I’m saying – I can’t speak for Jamel here, but I think whoever loses this fight probably retires,” Frampton said. “You know, we’re not the youngest guys in the world anymore. So, a lot has been made out of that statement. But I don’t think it was a huge statement to make. It was just me being honest.”
Herring, a 2012 U.S. Olympian from Coram, New York, contends that he isn’t thinking about retirement.
“I don’t really look at it, you know, in terms of what happens after the fight, win, lose or draw,” Herring said. “You know, like for me, I just feel good about everything that’s been going on, and you know, I haven’t got to that stage. But I will say, you know, with everything that, you know, Carl has done in his career, I think either way he will still go down as one of the greats. And that’s why, you know, I wanted to get in the ring with him, because of everything he’s done.
“But for me, I still feel like I have so much to prove before I do walk away from boxing myself. But like I said, this is my moment. This is a big fight for me. I’m honored to have it. And I’ve just gotta, you know, take it one fight at a time and then we’ll go from there.”
ESPN+ will stream Herring-Frampton live in the United States as the main event of a five-fight show. Coverage on ESPN’s streaming service is scheduled to start at 2 p.m. ET/11 a.m. PT from Caesars Bluewaters Dubai.
Keith Idec is a senior writer/columnist for BoxingScene.com. He can be reached on Twitter @Idecboxing.