By: Hans Themistode
A third time has to be the charm for WBO lightweight titlist Jamel Herring.
The marine turned world champion will prepare once more for fringe contender Jonathan Oquendo. The two were originally due to face off against one another in late June before an expected positive COVID-19 test result derailed those plans.
After feeling the effects of the deadly disease for the first few weeks, Herring not only claimed to be feeling much better, but he also tested negative on several occasions.
Following his negative results, Herring vs Oquendo was now going to take place in mid July. However, as is the case in this COVID-19 influenced world, their aforementioned contest was thrown out of whack once again.
According to test results taken by doctors in association with Top Rank, Herring once again popped positive. Incredulous to his results, Herring went to his own personal doctors where they officially cleared him. Still, it wasn’t enough to secure his showdown with Oquendo and their contest was once again postponed.
Now, after a 12 round war with COVID-19, the former Marine has seemingly won his bout with the deadly disease and will now take on Oquendo on September 5th, from the safety of the “Bubble,” at the MGM Grand Conference Center, in Las Vegas, Nevada.
It’s been a long and arduous process for everyone involved. But now that they have put their COVID-19 related issues behind them, Arum is expecting one helluva fight.
“Jamel has had a run of bad luck, but his fortunes will change for the better inside the ‘Bubble’ on September 5,” said Top Rank chairman Bob Arum. “Oquendo is a crafty veteran who understands this may be his last shot at a world title. I expect him to give ‘The Fighting Marine’ one heck of a fight.
For Herring, he doesn’t know anything other than being tough. When news first broke of his positive test results, the former Marine forced a smile across his face and repeatedly stated that he was alright. However, he was anything but alright.
Now, roughly two months since his first positive test results, Herring no longer needs to put on a brave face.
“This postponement is a blessing in disguise,” said Herring during a recent statement released by Top Rank. “I feel 10 times better than I did three weeks ago. I’m grateful to have another opportunity to get back in the ring. I’ve fully recovered from COVID-19. I’m more than ready for anything Jonathan Oquendo brings on September 5. Our team has a great game plan and we are eager to carry it out.”
While Herring has recovered well, Oquendo has been silently preparing for his opportunity. Things may have looked bleak for the 37 year old contender, but now that their contest will officially take place, he is more than ready to make the most of what could be his last opportunity on the big stage.
“I am very happy with finally getting this opportunity to challenge Herring for his world title,” said Oquendo during a recent statement released by Top Rank. “The fight has been canceled twice because of COVID-19. At one point, I thought that maybe the fight was not going to happen. But thanks to God, we are now ready for September 5.
“We are going to win. We are going to leave everything in the ring. It’s now or never. It would be a great accomplishment to become world champion at 37. That’s what we are going to do.”