Underdog Jamel Herring: This Is A Big Step Up For Jamaine Ortiz; It’s A Different Level

Boxing Scene

Jamel Herring is 36 and suffered a one-sided, technical-knockout loss to Shakur Stevenson in his last fight.

As a former world champion who has fought a significantly higher level of opposition, however, Herring feels Jamaine Ortiz has much more to prove than him in their 10-round lightweight fight Saturday night in Las Vegas. The 26-year-old Ortiz is undefeated, but his most noteworthy win came against Nahir Albright in his last fight.

The Worcester, Massachusetts native performed impressively while beating Albright in their “ShoBox: The New Generation” main event, yet Herring clearly is a more challenging foe for the ambitious Ortiz.

“He has his flaws, which we all do as fighters,” Herring told BoxingScene.com. “But I feel like, you know, this is still a big step up for him. Of course, he’s gonna be hungry. We’re prepared for that. But at the end of the day, you know, it’s a different level. It’s more about seeing if he’s prepared for this level, but I’m actually prepared for the best version of him. I know this is a huge opportunity for him.”

Their resumes aren’t comparable, but Caesars Sportsbook has installed Ortiz as more than a 2-1 favorite over Herring. Those odds aside, Ortiz was knocked down twice during his bout before his win against Albright, an eight-round majority draw with then-unbeaten Joseph Adorno in April 2021.

Ortiz won five rounds on two judges’ scorecards and six rounds on the other judge’s card. Those two point deductions for the knockdowns forced him to settle for a draw, though (76-74, 75-75, 75-75).

“The last time I seen him was with Adorno,” Herring said. “I really didn’t catch the ‘ShoBox’ card. I know he fought a lot differently, probably because of the mistakes he made during the Adorno fight, you know, with getting put down twice or whatever. So, you know, like I said, Joseph Adorno is a good friend of mine. But Joseph Adorno, to me, he was more of a junior lightweight. He wasn’t really a lightweight and he was able to do what he did. But it is what it is. Things happen and smart fighters make the proper adjustments to better themselves along the way.”

Cincinnati’s Herring changed trainers following his loss to Stevenson (18-0, 9 KOs) on October 23 at State Farm Arena in Atlanta. He hired Manny Robles to replace Brian McIntyre, who has worked with pound-for-pound star Terence Crawford throughout Crawford’s career.

“You know, I’m not saying I’m trying to take the Bernard Hopkins approach,” Herring said when asked how long he’ll continue to fight. “But I feel great. You guys know I’m always working hard and, you know, I’m just ready to take it fight by fight. And I wanna be around with my new team as much as possible because these guys are great individuals. So again, I wanna be around until I at least get back to that world title picture.”

ESPN will air this 10-round lightweight bout between Herring (23-3, 11 KOs), a 2012 U.S. Olympian from Coram, New York, and Ortiz (15-0-1, 8 KOs), of Worcester, Massachusetts, as its co-feature Saturday night from Resorts World Las Vegas (8 p.m. ET; 5 p.m. PT).

The main event will feature Kazakhstan’s Janibek Alimkhanuly (11-0, 7 KOs), who will square off against England’s Danny Dignum (14-0-1, 8 KOs) in a 12-round fight for the vacant WBO interim middleweight title. ESPN also will televise a six-round welterweight fight as part of its tripleheader – Cleveland’s Delante “Tiger” Johnson (3-0, 2 KOs), a 2021 U.S. Olympian, against Argentina’s Agustin Kucharski (8-4-1, 3 KOs).

Keith Idec is a senior writer/columnist for BoxingScene.com. He can be reached on Twitter @Idecboxing.

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