Carl Frampton’s dream of becoming a three-division world champion was cut down by brutal reality as a razor-sharp Jamel Herring dissected him in six, fairly one-sided rounds at Caesars Palace in Dubai on Saturday night. The Northern Irishman immediately announced his retirement in his post-fight interview.

WBO super-featherweight champion Herring was in career-best form, picking off Frampton from range and stinging him with stiff, sickening punches that swiftly knocked the fight out of the challenger. The Belfast hero, already a world champion at 122lbs and 126lbs, found another division a stretch too far without the physical tools or vitality to ruffle the silky-smooth Herring.

Frampton was dropped in the fifth and sixth before the towel was thrown in, with the Northern Irishman barely on his feet and evidently in no position to continue. Afterwards, an emotional Frampton announced his retirement following an outstanding career filled mostly with highs in his lighter and younger days.

“I said before the fight I’d retire if I lost and that’s exactly what I’m going to do,” said Frampton (28-3, 16 KOs). “I want to just 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 have been the best years of my career. I just want to go home to my beautiful wife and kids and that’s it. I just got beat by the better man. I really struggled to get inside on him.”

A class act in victory, Herring added: “I’m just honoured to share the ring with him. He’s a two-division world champion. He’s done great in the sport of boxing and it was just an honour.

“It was an emotional rollercoaster just to get here. My last outing was not my best. People doubted me. They called me every name in the book, but even with the cut [sustained in the fourth round], I wasn’t going to give up. I wasn’t going to quit and Carl Frampton is a tremendous champion. I’ve been a fan since day one. It’s tough to see any veteran of the sport go out like that.”

The southpaw champion started with purpose and never looked back. Herring showed more poise in the opener, landing a smart left hand and holding immediate fort in centre ring. The American found his rhythm behind a neat, well-schooled jab in the second and maintained his early edge.

Herring (right) mastered the range and looked the boss from the opening round.
Photo: D4G Promotions.

An off-colour Frampton lacked sparkle and Herring (23-2, 11 KOs) was in a groove, dictating at range. But ‘The Jackal’ was finally generating some offensive sorties in the third, forcing Herring into a stumble. But it was more a sign that Frampton had to gamble after a shaky start than any shift in momentum.

In the fourth, Frampton backed up Herring to the ropes, but took a hard left uppercut for his troubles. Suddenly, Herring’s right eyelid was leaking blood and Frampton upped the ante in his best round of the night. Frampton’s body-punching was finally telling in the fifth, but then he walked onto a left hand and dropped to the canvas, with all that good work undone in a heartbeat.

Herring’s left uppercut was a brutally effective weapon.
Photo: D4G Promotions.

But in the sixth, Frampton’s challenge unravelled altogether. He was dropped heavily by a left uppercut and looked completely done. He rose gamely, somehow, but Herring was too slick and incisive, and wouldn’t let him off the hook. The champion riddled Frampton with blistering, accurate blows and the Belfast man lurched alarmingly across the ring before the towel came in from Jamie Moore in his corner, not a moment too soon.

Disappointment for Frampton, but his career remains one associated with glory. Those stirring wins over Leo Santa Cruz, Scott Quigg and Kiko Martinez will live on in the hearts and minds of his fellow Irish, either side of the border, as long as fighting men are appreciated.

Everyone at Boxing Social would like to wish Carl the very best in his retirement. 

Main image and all photos: D4G Promotions.