IBF champion of the world James Degale clashes with WBC champion Badou Jack in a supermiddleweight unification blockbuster at the Barclays Centre in New York City on 14th January.
Former Olympic gold medalist James Degale delivered on his lifelong dream and incredible amateur pedigree when he beat Andre Dirrell for the IBF title via way of unanimous decision back in 2015. He knocked Dirrell down twice in the second round of the fight in Boston on route to victory.
In his maiden defence of the IBF title ‘chunky’ beat Lucian Bute in his own backyard over in Quebec City, Canada. His last outing was a poor one though, which largely went under the radar. Rather than shining and blitzing out lower level opposition he struggles mentally to get himself up for mandatory contenders.
I’m talking about the likes of Rogelio ‘Porky’ Molina who he boxed last time out. Despite winning with ease, he looked a shadow of his devastating best. He’s the sort of fighter who rises to the big occasion. The bigger the challenge the better the performance you will see from him and in Badou Jack with two titles on the line I think he will be right up for it.
Mayweather promotions protege Badou Jack saw off Lucian Bute in his last outing back in April but only retained his belt via a majority decision draw. He deserved to win the fight though having landed the cleaner and more telling shots in the fight.
The ‘ripper’ is an underestimated force in the division. He proved by beating George Groves over 12 rounds that he is no paper champion although I actually thought that Groves did enough to edge that fight.
Since his knockout loss to Derek Edwards back in 2014, Badou Jack has bounced back and gone from strength to strength. He’s strong, works the body well and throws the left hook well.
The Mayweather team will have done there homework on the British man and will be looking to capitalise on his weaker points. Degale’s worst traits are that he has displayed a tendancy to have lazy spells and dips intensity levels during fights.
In these spells he stays static on the ropes and this can give opportunities for his opponents to tee off on him with eye catching shots which can then galvanise them. If Degale allows Jack this privelege he could pay for it.
However that being said Degale has the better all-round skillset. In fact, Degale has some of the best skills in the game. His punch variety is excellent; he has every shot in the book at his disposal. He can box well both on the back and front foot and whilst he isn’t a knockout artist he is very strong physically and never tasted the canvas.
Degale has the ability to be the champion that draws the best contenders to his own shores. If he can add another belt to his collection he will take the mantle as the number one supermiddleweight in the world and it doesn’t really make sense for him to be travelling round fighting these contenders in their own backyards particularly when he is from London which is fast developing into one of the fight night capitals of the world.
He has the added incentive that if he wins this, he has a potential unification grudge match with British arch rival George Groves providing ‘The Saint’ can clinch the WBA belt currently held by German Tyron Zeuge.