Jamel Herring says his WBO junior lightweight title bout with Jonathan Oquendo “will be rescheduled” after testing positive for Covid-19.
Herring Confirms Delay
Top Rank promotions brought boxing back, albeit behind closed doors, last month and July 2nd was supposed to offer up another big event at the MGM Grand Conference Center in Las Vegas.
Herring was scheduled to top the bill with his WBO junior lightweight strap on the line against #11 ranked Oquendo.
However, the champion confirmed he has tested positive for Covid-19 and the bout is set to be rescheduled for later in the year.
Herring Tweeted: “Last week, I tested positive for COVID-19. That’s the bad news. The good news, however, is I feel OK and have self-isolated until I receive a clean bill of health. My WBO junior lightweight world title defense against Jonathan Oquendo will be rescheduled shortly. Semper Fi.”
It’s the fourth fight to be scrapped by Top Rank due to a positive Covid-19 test but will have its moment in the spotlight further down the line.
Champion Should Have Few Issues
Herring was the heavy favourite and that fact shouldn’t change when they do eventually go toe-to-toe.
He earned the belt when picking up a fourth successive victory to beat Masayuki Ito via a unanimous decision in May 2019.
Semper Fi successfully defended his gold against compatriot Lamont Roach Jr, again winning by unanimous decision, in November.
The 34-year-old, who boasts a 21-2 record, was expected to meet Carl Frampton before the pandemic hit, and it’s understood that opportunity will still be there if he comes through this bout with Oquendo.
It could be argued that Oquendo hasn’t done enough to earn a shot at the title, however, in these extraordinary times Top Rank were happy to negotiate a deal in the hope of keeping the show going.
With terms already agreed, Oquendo won’t be denied his chance at glory but it’s hard to make a case for an upset.
The 36-year-old has been around the block several times and has a 31-6 record, earning 19 victories via KO, but his performance against Roach Jr in 2019 suggests he will come up short against Herring.
He threw everything at Roach Jr but ultimately didn’t have the tools to finish the job as the American won with scores 97-92, 97-92 and 96-93.
Judges to have Final Say
Looking at method of victory could be the way to go in this fight when trying to find some value.
Oquendo did pick up some impressive KO wins early in his career but appears to have lost some power over recent years, while half of Herring’s career victories have come by decision.
Indeed, Herring has heard the final bell in each of his last four trips to the ring and this one also looks highly likely to be decided by the judges.