DeGale will beat Gonzales, says Nelson
By Scott Gilfoid: Sky Sports commentator Johnny Nelson expects James DeGale (18-1, 12 KO’s) to come out on top tonight in his IBF super middleweight eliminator clash against unbeaten #3 IBF Brandon Gonzales (18-0-1, 10 KO’s) in their clash at Wembley Stadium, in London, UK. Nelson believes that we’ll be seeing the best of DeGale in this fight and that he’ll earn a points decision against the powerful American fighter.
Nelson thinks that DeGale has improved recently over the fighter that he was several years ago when he was beaten by George Groves. Nelson doesn’t say how he can tell that DeGale has gotten better given the mediocre opposition he’s faced since the Groves fight, but he still sees DeGale as having improved.
“I am expecting to see a step up from the last James DeGale the British public saw. He has always been a good fighter but now he has that stability and that self-belief that has been missing,” Nelson said to Skysports.com. “Even if it does go the distance, he will come through. Gonzales is going to try and drag him into a long night and that means it’s not going to be pretty but DeGale has improved a hell of a lot since he lost to his nemesis and he is under-rated when it comes to fighting up close. He [DeGale] will take this on points.”
I can’t say for sure how well DeGale will do because he’s not faced a live opponent since the Groves fight, and you can’t tell much on whether DeGale has improved or not with the fodder he’s been facing. I mean, how can you measure DeGale as being improved with him fighting these guys: Gevorg Khatchikian, Dyah Davis, Stjepan Bozic, Sebastien Demers, Fulgencio Zuniga, Hadillah Mohoumadi, Cristian Sanavia, and Piotr Wilczewski. DeGale didn’t shine against half of those guys, and he was close to losing to Wilczewski and Mohoumadi.
Those were very, very close fights for DeGale, as he took a pounding by both of those fighters. Heck, DeGale didn’t even look good in his last fight against little known Khatchikian. DeGale was staggered in that fight, and he was lucky that he wasn’t fighting a good opponent otherwise he likely would have been knocked out.
Looking at the DeGale-Gonzales fight objectively, you have to give Gonzales a very good chance of beating DeGale tonight, because he’s got the superior punching power and he’s the far better inside fighter. Gonzales’ trainer Virgil Hunter is likely going to have him taking the fight to DeGale on the inside and smothering his offense to the point where DeGale will do little more than take punches all night long by Gonzales.
Yeah, I expect DeGale to get brief moments where he dances away from Gonzales, but those moments will be fleeting because Gonzales will immediately close the distance and resume fighting DeGale on the inside to take away any chance he has of fighting back. Gonzales has the ability to fight in the same way that Andre Ward does in getting on the inside against fighters and keeping the action there for 12 rounds. That’s why I see happening tonight. Gonzales is going to set up shop on the inside and stay there all night long in giving DeGale a beating.