“I just feel like he’s still learning on the job because he has no amateur background...I’m the bigger man, I’m the man with the longer reach, and I feel like I have more experience due to my amateur background. At the end of the day, I can’t take him lightly, but I feel comfortable... I’m going to go in there and fight my ass off,” stated super featherweight contender Jamel Herring, who talked about his upcoming clash with world champion Masayuki Ito. You don't want to miss what else he had to say. Check it out!
PC: Saturday night, you finally get your world title shot. It seems like this camp has taken you all over. Has that been the case?
JH: Oh yeah! Just Omaha, Colorado Springs, and the last few days in Omaha; a little back and forth. I did stop in New York though, so you can count that too.
PC: How has preparation been and how do you feel?
JH: Ah man, I feel great, man. This is probably one of the best camps that I have had. The main focus was on me and I can’t complain. I did everything that I had to do, so I’m just ready to go.
PC: This is your first scheduled 12-rounder. Did you have a different intensity in camp, different approach, or did you approach it the same way with just a little more work involved?
JH: I approached it the same. I trust my team. They know what they are doing. Like you said, added a lil' extra work. Same mindset, same goal; just a little bit more work in the end.
PC: When you break down some of your shortcomings from the Denis Shafikov fight, do you feel like you can use those lessons you learned in this fight?
JH: Hell yeah! I tell people all the time, I make no excuses. That fight was a blessing in disguise because it can either make you or break you. It didn’t break me. With that mindset going into this fight, I feel like I’ve been through worse. I didn’t have a full camp in that Shafikov fight and I still showed a ton of heart. I was still trying to be in there going the distance. I’m not really worried about no fights from here on out because I built character from that fight.
PC: This fight against Masayuki Ito seems to be the fight you have always wanted and it always sort of felt like you two were on a collision course to each other. That being said, I’m sure you have had eyes on him and know him well.
JH: Oh yeah, man. Of course. I been looking at that fight the moment he got in the ring with Christopher Diaz. I was looking at both of them. It was either or, but I knew it was in the works, so my mind has been on him for over a year. I feel like this is what I wanted. It wasn’t anything that I was forced into, but it’s something I asked for, so there is a difference.
PC: How do you view him as an opponent?
JH: He is good. I can’t knock him. He’s a world champion. I just feel like he’s still learning on the job because he has no amateur background. With that being said, I look at his last two opponents, and I respect every man that gets in the ring, but they were half his size. Going into this fight, I’m the bigger man, I’m the man with the longer reach, and I feel like I have more experience due to my amateur background. At the end of the day, I can’t take him lightly, but I feel comfortable.
PC: When you first came up to 130, you felt like you were almost overcompensating to show that you won’t be bullied around the division. Do you feel settled down now to where you can just fight your fight?
JH: You’re exactly right, bro. If you look at my last two fights, the Moralde fight, which was my first fight being a full-fledged 130, a lot of people thought I was going to be weak, but you see what I did. I bullied him. I pushed the entire fight, 10 rounds. I could have gone 12. And then in my last fight, I showed a little bit more. I boxed and knocked my opponent down a few times during the fight. I wasn’t in a hurry though. I didn’t feel the need to bully him. I just boxed and did my thing. I feel like I can do either or and be comfortable at the end of the day.
PC: Knockouts are great, but I’m sure you value those 10-round fights you got in leading up to this one.
JH: Exactly! With you saying that is how I’m looking at this fight. Ito didn’t get anything out of that fight against Chuprakov because he muscled him and bullied him at all times, and that dude is smaller than me. What could you really learn from that fight? Me, I took that last fight I had as a little tune-up and I was able to work on some things. I settled down a little more, went back to boxing and being slick, so I learned some things in my last fight and still was dominant.
PC: Physically, how do you feel at 130?
JH: Hey man, the proof is in the pudding. You see it. I feel great. I get stronger as the fight goes along. I always feel like that, even at lightweight. Physically, but more importantly mentally, I feel great. I’m grateful for where I’m at. You know just as much as I know, a lot of people counted me out a long time ago, but look where I’m at now, so I can’t complain.
PC: It seems like this is the perfect setup. A Marine fighting on Memorial Day weekend, world title on the line…
JH: (Cutting in...) Hold on, bro. Not to mention also, May 25th is my daughter that passed away birthday.
PC: Oh wow! I didn’t know that. You have a lot to fight for my man. How do you get it done on Saturday night?
JH: A lot going on with this fight. At the end of the day, I gotta be Jamel Herring and fight my best fight. I can’t go out there and do anything out of the ordinary. It will take my game off. All I can do is work on what I have been doing in camp, but at the same time, my mentality has to be a lot stronger and I have to push a little bit more, even at times when I feel like I can’t do it. I have to dig a lot deeper in this fight.
PC: A lot of people counted Julian Williams out and you witnessed what he was able to accomplish. I’m sure you are drawing some inspiration from what he was able to do against Jarrett Hurd.
JH: Bro, I’m not going to lie to you, I love both Jarrett and Julian. I’m close to both of them. But when I seen what Julian did, I wanted to cry because I know exactly what he was feeling. That definitely gave me a lot of motivation. I feel like…it’s crazy, boxing having a lot of upsets. Look at my man Tony Harrison. They were counting him out too. They can argue and say he won or lost, but at the end of the day, it was an upset. Anything can happen in boxing.
PC: You have dealt with a few cuts in your last couple of bouts. I’m sure you're looking to avoid head clashes. Is Ito a headfirst kind of fighter in your opinion?
JH: Oh my God! Yes, man! He comes in with his head, bro. In my last fight, I boxed. Being in a hurry can cause head collisions, especially with me being a southpaw fighting orthodox fighters, so I gotta look out for that, but at the same time, cut or no cut, I’m going to go in there and fight my ass off. If I get cut, I’m just going to turn it up. Hopefully I don’t get cut and I do what I gotta do, but if I do, I’m going to fight regardless.
PC: The WBO title can be around your waist in a few days. What would that mean to you to win that strap?
JH: My boy, Errol Spence, shout out to him, he always calls me “The Cinderella Man” because I always defy the odds, amateur and pro. I feel like a victory here is going to be like my Cinderella story. It’s going to be a great feeling, bro.
PC: You are working out now, so I’m going to let you get to it.
JH: You know me. I’m working. I’m in a good mood. I feel blessed. Usually around this time for fight week, I usually feel weaker because I gotta cut weight, but I’m good. I’m motivated. But for real, I want to thank everybody who has been down with me since day one. Without them, I probably won’t be here. I want to thank my team for taking me in. shout out to BoMac, Red, Esau and Bud Crawford. Bud has been pushing me. He’s basically like my fourth trainer because he’s been there with me the whole camp; pushing me. He’s on me. I don’t take it as criticism or anything. He wants to see me win. It’s a blessing to have people like that with you that want to see you succeed.
[ Follow Percy Crawford on Twitter @MrLouis1ana ]