Herring responds to Atlas critique

August, 17, 2012
8/17/12
2:39
PM ET
ESPN analyst Teddy Atlas, the sometimes trainer and all-the-time proponent of cleaning up the shadier sides of the sport, weighed in on the performances of the two New York-based boxers who took part in the London Olympics. Atlas was asked about Marine Jamel Herring, who was ousted in his first-round scrap against Kazakh Daniyar Yeleussinov, 19-9.

"Herring didn't look good at all," Atlas said. "As a Marine, his loss didn't seem to bother him the way you'd think it'd bother you. He was another guy happy to be there, I didn't see the passion I saw in Errol Spence and Terrell Gausha."

"Herring, a native of Coram, Long Island, responded to the critique.

"That wasn't the case by far, actually," Herring said. "I'm still a little bothered by my performance, truthfully, but I couldn't find my rhythm or timing. I told everyone from the beginning I didn't want to just be a guy who was happy to be there, I wanted to get on the podium ... but once I got out of the ring, as a leader I had to put on a smile and just keep my head up for my team and everyone at home.

"I take the sport seriously and I worked hard to get to where I was at. Nobody likes to lose, but Teddy is entitled to his opinion."

Herring showed class in tipping his cap to Daniyar, and also noted that the U.S. team doesn't get enough international experience, an opinion that Atlas shares.

"My opponent was just the better man and my lack of international experience showed, but I'm just being honest with myself and to the public," Herring said. "I've dominated in my country, like most of the team, but since we had little time to prepare it just showed. I honestly tried to fight my heart out, but once the third round came and I saw he was running, and I knew it would be hard to rally back up on points on the amateur level, and on top of that a lot people felt I wasn't getting the points I scored, so I just sucked it up and went out with pride.

"People can doubt me and say whatever, but it isn't easy becoming an Olympian and people need to seriously realize that," he said. "I had to qualify and fight to earn my spot on that team, so I don't care what anyone has to say at this point. Based off of one bad fight at the Olympics, people are even judging how well I'll do as a pro. Well, guess what? There are many Olympians who didn't medal or do well at the Olympics but were successful pros, like Miguel Cotto. So I don't care what Teddy or anyone thinks at the moment. I respect Teddy, don't get me wrong, but if I let people and their opinions bother me I won't get anywhere."

Herring is enthused and looking forward to his entry into the professional waters. "Right now I'm talking with Mike Stafford to better improve my technique and defense," he said, referring Adrien Broner's coach. "He wants me to come to camp next month."
Michael Woods, a member of the board of the Boxing Writers Association of America, has been covering boxing since 1991. He writes about boxing for ESPN The Magazine and is the news editor for TheSweetScience.com.

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