By: Sean Crose
“I love this sport, but I owe it to my family to quit putting them through these moments. Thank you all, whether you were with or against me, you made me who I am, but it’s time. Semper Fi, salute.” Those words were tweeted by one of the most respected men in boxing – former WBO junior lightweight champion Jamel Herring. The former U.S. Marine, who served not one but two tours in Iraq, had just dropped a unanimous decision to Jamaine Ortiz on Saturday. It was Herring’s second loss in a row, having previous lost his title to Shakur Stevenson last October. At thirty-six year of age, enough was a enough. Here’s hoping the fighter known as “Semper Fi” has a long and fruitful retirement.
Not many boxers receive the kind of genuine respect Herring has, but he’s been a guy whose always acted in a respectful manner. Having fought in a time frame that gave the boxing world Adrien Broner, Tyson Fury and even Conor McGregor, it was refreshing to see someone who acted like an adult at all times. The brutal business of boxing requires individuals to find a way to stand out, but Herring stood out for all the right reasons. One doesn’t have to be boastful after all, when one has served two tours in a war zone. Sometimes a resume truly does speak for itself.
On top of all that, Herring was a good, championship level fighter. Perhaps not a great fighter, but unquestionably a very good one. He bested the likes of Carl Frampton and Lamont Roach, serious competition indeed. He’s also leaving the ring with a combined record of 23 wins and 4 losses. Considering the level of competition Herring faced, that’s quite impressive for a career that’s lasted just under ten years.
Upon learning of his retirement, Herring’s peers – some former opponents -took to social media to offer their well wishes. “Only got respect for this man,” tweeted Frampton, “Congratulations on a great career champ. Enjoy the rest of your life with your family.” Perhaps the most notable insight into Herring’s view of the fight game came in the form of a tweet Herring himself posted several years ago.
“Went to war overseas,” he wrote, “lost a child, suffered from PTSD, clinical depression, and a parent of autistic children. A opponent across the ring is the least of my worries. Boxing is therapeutic.” Semper Fi? Most certainly.
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