James DeGale – The man has talent
By Ronnie Jordan: The magnificent 7 has just been announced in the UK with a large chunk of our homegrown talent on the same bill. James Degale in only his 8th pro bout is already due to defend his Commonwealth belt. Recently in an interview with Steve Bunce, DeGale claimed he’s already the best in the country, stating “I can’t see anyone domestically taking me 12 rounds.” In a recent article at boxingnews24 the writer seemed to be offended by this statement and strongly disagreed, and the readers also leaving negative opinions about DeGale.
Opinion in the UK has been divided about the Olympic Gold Medalist since he turned pro with some lauding over his talents and others seeing him as overrated, flashy and loud mouthed. What people are forgetting is boxing is about selling arena and box office tickets. It’s not about being liked. DeGale’s arrogance is what makes me believe he’ll make it. If you want interest in your fights you have to sell yourself. Of course Ricky Hatton a boxer with probably the most devoted fans in boxing history was loved for his working class humility and down to earth nature. Well not everyone can be Ricky Hatton. Look at the most successful fighters in history; Muhammad ail, Floyd Mayweather, Roy Jones Junior, and Sugar Ray Leonard. They expressed their talents and ignored people who said they were arrogant.
What you can’t deny about James DeGale is his obvious talent. He’s hard hitting with both hands, fast and throws punches from awkward unorthodox angles. Bigragu, an American boxing analyst on YouTube, has started making prospect perspective videos where he takes a look at future prospects analyzing there strengths and weaknesses. He believes James Degale is the best he’s seen better even than the U.S prospect Daniel Jacobs. He does, however, point out DeGale’s negative points such as his low hands and his tendency to duck below the waste which would be dangerous against better opponents.
But what he recognizes is his great skill speed and power. For me, Degale hasn’t really moved into fifth gear yet and by his own admission in his last fight he was experimenting with things he hadn’t tried before. Most boxing fans see George Groves as a better prospect but for me although I rate Groves highly I see DeGale as having that extra something needed when they move up to world level. Groves has a more traditional orthodox fighting style throwing heavy hooks to head and body which eventually wears his opponents down.
He doesn’t seem to have the one punch KO power or blistering speed. Neither does he posses exceptional skill or movement. This is ok for now but when he moves up to world level against fighters like Dirrell and Ward he’ll become predictable. Because of DeGale’s unorthodox stance he catches opponents of balance. He throws hooks with both hands from unusual angles and his cat like reflexes helps him land from distance. If he works on his fundamentals such as his defense and movement he’ll have a more solid foundation to work from and become harder to hit. Then he can use his offensive attributes to more effect. I believe DeGale has the ability to be as good as super middleweights Andre Dirrell and Andre Ward and it’s up to you whether you want to recognize that now because he’ll only prove you all wrong one day.