DeGale: The rematch with Groves will happen eventually but not now
By William Mackay: EBU super middleweight champion James DeGale (12-1, 9 KO’s) says he’s not concerned with trying to avenge his controversial 12 round majority decision loss to George Groves right now. DeGale wants to focus instead on defending his European Boxing Union title and moving forward with his career instead of getting stuck fighting rematches that keep him stuck.
DeGale told espn.co.uk “I’ve matured. Groves is out of my system. That rematch will happen, somewhere along the line. I don’t need Groves. I an on terrestrial TV defending my European title and top of the bill. What more is there?”
DeGale will be defending his EBU title on October 13th against an opponent still to be determined at the Glow, Bluewater, Greenhithe, Kent, United Kingdom. DeGale obviously doesn’t need Groves because his career isn’t exactly going that great right now with him suffering injuries in training and in fights. Who knows when Groves will get a title shot? It could be a year or more before he finally gets a title shot, but he’ll struggle because there aren’t any weak champions for him to beat unless he gets angled towards the WBA champ Karoly Balzsay, who is little more than a paper champion in the eyes of a lot of boxing fans rather.
DeGale needs to keep winning and start fighting better opposition soon. The negative part about him holding down the EBU title is that DeGale is going to be forced to defend his title against a lot of 2nd tier fighters that won’t help him improve much. DeGale can’t get stuck fighting weak guys year after year while down the EBU strap, because he’s 26, and he’s lagging. Guys like Andre Ward was already fighting world class opposition at that age. You can’t say the same thing with DeGale. The EBU title will keep him away from fighting top tier fighters by forcing him to fight weaker European level opposition that won’t prepare DeGale for what he’ll be up against when he’s forced to fight someone like Ward of Arthur Abraham.
DeGale will need to work on his power, work rate, defense and speed if he’s to compete against the better fighters. He’s far too patient for his own good and he lets rounds slip through his fingers by fighting like he’s half asleep sometimes. That kind of thing might work against the likes of Sanavia, but it won’t against the top super middleweights in the division. DeGale barely beat a very average Wilczewski last year and was out-punched by this light hitting Pole. That fight gave a strong signal that DeGale is going to have a lot of problems when he eventually fights better opposition. He might not be able to improve enough in his flawed areas to beat the top guys, but he at least needs to try. If he can’t fix his work rate, power, slow feet, and poor hand speed then he’s going to have to be content with just being the EBU champion for as long as he can before someone takes that low level strap from him.
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