Boxing

Carl Frampton falls short in history bid as brilliant Jamel Herring wins Dubai duel

Carl Frampton fell short in his history bid as brilliant Jamel Herring won their Dubai duel on Saturday night
Andy Watters

HAPPY endings are few and far between in boxing and it was painful to watch the curtain came down on Carl Frampton’s brilliant career in such brutal, merciless fashion in a low-budget broadcast from Dubai on Saturday night.

The step up to super-featherweight proved to be too much for the Belfast fighter and when he stepped to the excellent Jamel Herring, the American used his advantages in reach and height superbly.

Apart from a spell in the fourth round when he landed a left hook that opened a cut over Herring’s right eye, Frampton never looked like realising his dream of becoming Ireland’s first-ever three weight world champion.

Movement was always going to be key for Frampton and from the opening bell he bobbed and weaved furiously but uncharacteristically. Frampton didn’t look himself but Herring was calm and composed and there was no early evidence that the tactics the Belfast man and Jamie Moore had worked on for getting through Herring’s defence would work.

The first round was cagey but Herring stamped his authority in the second and third before Frampton got his feet moving and rallied in the fourth. Darting attacks took him into range and a left hook opened a gash over Herring’s right eye.

Frampton tried to continue that in the fifth but, just as he seemed to be getting a foothold in the fight, Herring sent him down with a well-timed left hand.

Frampton wasn’t hurt and fought back gamely over the remainder of that round but the end came in the sixth and it was Herring’s trademark left uppercut that did the damage. A minute into the round, Frampton, trying to force the pace, left his chin exposed and ‘Semper Fi’ caught him sweetly. Frampton went down heavily.

“Six, seven, eight..,” counted the referee and it looked like Frampton might not make it back to his feet but his proud fighting heart lifted him onto unsteady legs as he summoned the strength for a last hurrah.

He landed a few clubbing shots but Herring ruthlessly finished him off and the towel came in from Frampton’s corner a split second before the referee stopped it.

The long training camps, the constant weight-watching, and the fighting are over and there were traces of relief in his voice as, with trademark dignity and style, he paid tribute to his late mentor Billy McKee while confirming his retirement and his intention to dedicate his time to his wife Christine and their two children from here on.

“I want to dedicate this fight to Billy McKee, my old amateur trainer who recently passed away,” he said.

“I said before that I would retire if I lost this fight and that’s exactly what I want to do. I want to dedicate the fight to Billy McKee and my whole career to my wife and my kids who have made so many sacrifices. I’ve been away so long and I’ve missed them growing up and I want to dedicate my life to my family now.

“Boxing has been good to me, it’s also been bad to me. But the last few years with these boys (he gestured towards his coaches Jamie Moore and Nigel Travis) have been the best years of my career. I want to go home to my beautiful wife and kids and that’s it, I’ll dedicate my life to them.”

He said he had “zero excuses” for the loss. He had trained hard, ticked all the boxes, acclimatised and was focused but Herring, with natural advantages that Frampton could not overcome, was too good on the night.

“I just got beat by the better man,” he admitted.

“I really struggled to get inside his sharp-shooting from a distance. He had a perfect gameplan and I got beat. Zero excuses, I had an amazing camp, I was coming into this fight to win it and I was beaten by the better man. I lost the fight and he (Herring) is the champion.”

Getting stopped for the first time in a career that delivered world titles at super-bantamweight and featherweight and brought so much joy to adoring fans from all sides of the community is unfortunate end.

But Carl Frampton can walk away healthy and wealthy at the age of 34 with a long and fulfilling future to look forward to and his place in the pantheon of Irish boxing, and sporting, greats, secure.

The Jackal is gone but life goes on and maybe we haven’t seen the best of Carl Frampton yet?

Scorecard

Round One.

Frampton had come out to ‘Something inside so strong’ and early it looked like he had his tactics right. He flicked out his jab to keep Herring’s right hand busy and went to the body of the American too. Herring landed two accurate back hands as Frampton attempted to rush in and there was a low blow too. Maybe Herring did enough to nick it but it was hard to split them. 10-10

Round Two

Good head movement from Frampton and he takes the centre of the ring and probes for a weakness in Herring’s defence. But Herring finishes the round impressively and slams a series of left hooks into the head of a too-static Frampton to win the round. 9-10

Round Three

Herring growing in confidence as Frampton struggles to close the distance. Frampton does land a stinging left hand but his occasional moments of success are coming at too high a price. Another Herring round. 9-10

Round Four

Frampton injects more energy into his footwork and it pays off. He darts in and pins Herring to the ropes landing a left-right-left combination that leaves the American with an ugly gash over his right eye. Easily Frampton’s best round. 10-9

Round Five

Frampton trying to build on the previous stanza and targets the cut with a left hook. But he forces the pace too much and gets caught as Herring (who has a seven-inch reach advantage) counters his jab with a straight left hand that sends Frampton to the canvas. Frampton is quickly back on his feet but he has a lot of ground to make up now. 8-10

Round Six

The end of the road. Frampton battles back gamely after the knockdown in the previous round but Herring is in charge. Frampton throws caution to the wind as he bulldozes inside and attempts to trade punches with the American. He gets too greedy and is square on and open as Herring drives up a devastating left uppercut that catches him flush on the chin.

Frampton’s arms are limp as he crashes to the canvas for the second time but he beats the count and tries to fight on. Herring finishes him off with brutal efficiency.

Frampton is a sitting duck and a brutal salvo - left hand/uppercut/right hook/straight left - batter him before Jamie Moore throws the towel in at 1.40 of the round.

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