James DeGale vs. Badou Jack next Saturday
By Scott Gilfoid: Next Saturday night, IBF super middleweight champion James DeGale and WBC champ Badou Jack will be mixing it up in a unification match on January 14 at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn, New York. The DeGale vs. Badou match-up will be televised on Showtime Championship Boxing in the U.S.
The DeGale-Jack fight has been long in the making, as both of them have been doing a lot of talking without getting inside the ring to finally get it over with and fight each other. It’s good that they can finally settle who the better fighter is between them, because right now, it looks like they’re both around the same level in terms of talent.
DeGale (23-1, 14 KOs) blames the fight not getting made on Badou. I don’t think it matters whose fault it is for these two guys not having fought each other until now. The important thing is they’re fighting. DeGale thinks the winner of the fight will be the No.1 fighter at 168. I disagree completely.
We’re not going to see who the top fighter is in the super middleweight division until the winner of the DeGale-Jack fight faces Callum Smith, and then in turn that faces the George Groves vs. Fedor Chudinov winner. The last hurdle will be the winner of those fights facing WBO champion Gilberto “Zurdo” Ramirez. Once all those fights are done, then you can say there’s a No 1 fighter in the 168lb division. Until then, it’s all speculation and guesswork as far as Gilfoid is concerned.
DeGale said this to skysports.com about his fight against Badou Jack:
“If I’m being honest the only reason why this fight hasn’t happened quicker is because Badou Jack didn’t want it,” said DeGale. “After the Bute fight he probably didn’t want it. And then after the Medina fight he did, because I boxed rubbish, because Medina went full rounds on me.”
Neither of these guys looked good in their last fights in April of 2016. DeGale had all he could handle in beating his #1 mandatory challenger Rogelio Medina by a 12 round unanimous decision by the scores 117-111, 116-111 and 117-111. Believe me, the DeGale-Medina fight was a heck of a lot closer than the scores handed down by the three judges assigned to the match. DeGale looked like a tired old fighter with the way he spent long portions of the match with his back against the ropes, resting and trying to land counter shots.
DeGale’s legs looked weak, and he showed no desire to take the center of the ring to fight. When you compare DeGale how he used to fight when he was in the Olympics to how he’s looked in his last two bouts against Medina and Lucian Bute, it’s pretty clear that age is starting to show on the British fighter. He’s getting old, and can’t take hold his ground in center ring anymore it seems. It’s bad, because DeGale hasn’t had much of a prime, has he? It took him all these years to finally win a world title. Now that he’s the IBF champion, his legs are going and he’s looking tired in the ring.
“Badou Jack has got a lot of confidence, Leonard’s got a lot of confidence. Mayweather’s got a lot of confidence of seeing me go 12 rounds and it was lackluster performance against Medina,” said DeGale.
It’s hard for me to get excited about the DeGale vs. Badou fight, because neither of these fighters are doing a great job of marketing it in my opinion. They’ve been out of the ring for nine months now since both of them fought on the same card last April at the DC Armory. They should have kept fighting up until their rematch. It’s kind of sad how both have been inactive since last April. These aren’t popular fighters to begin with.
If you know you’re not a popular guy yet, then you need to do what middleweight champion Gennady “GGG” Golovkin has been doing by fighting frequently. I don’t know why neither of them hasn’t done that. DeGale says he wants to fight Golovkin, and he would be willing to drop down to 160 to make the fight happen. Even if DeGale is serious about doing that, I can’t see Golovkin giving him a fight, because he lacks the big name for GGG to waste time facing him. I mean, why he be given that fight by the talent from Kazakhstan when he’s not staying active and looking so horribly bad in making his title defenses.
I think the 32-year-old Badou Jack will wind up walking DeGale down, and battering him for 12 rounds on Saturday night to take the ‘W’ when these two 168lb champs square off at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn, New York. Say what you want about Badou not being a great fighter, he at least can fight in the center of the ring for 12 rounds.
Badou puts in some effort, and is willing to test his stamina and work hard by taking the fight to his opponents. You’ll never see Badou fight with his back against the ropes like you do with DeGale, because he obviously knows how bad that would make him look, and it’s not in his nature to take the easy way out. Badou is a blue-collar type of fighter who makes the most out of his limited talent. Badou will give the boxing fans their money’s worth on Saturday night by putting in some effort. I wish I could say the same thing about DeGale. At best, I’m guessing he’ll fight hard for one minute of every round and hope that he can steal enough rounds to get the win like he did against Andre Dirrell.
“It’s all a lie,” said Jack about him avoiding the DeGale fight. “I’ve been ready since right after the fight, I told you guys, we could fight in June. I told you I’ve been waiting for Floyd and Leonard to let me know when the date is. I’ve been on Leonard every day for the whole summer.