DeGale’s trainer says Fielding, Kessler or Dirrell could be next
By Scott Gilfoid: Jim McDonnell, the trainer for #1 IBF super middleweight contender James DeGale (20-1, 14 KOs), isn’t quite sure who DeGale will end up fighting if current IBF 168lb champion Carl Froch is stripped or vacates his IBF strap for not agreeing to defend it against DeGale, his mandatory challenger.
American Andre Dirrell would appear to be the guy that DeGale will be fighting for the vacant IBF title because Dirrell recently beat Derek Edwards in an IBF super middleweight eliminator bout, which means that DeGale and Dirrell should in theory fight it out for the vacant IBF title. However, McDonnell is talking about DeGale potentially fighting the likes of Mikkel Kessler or Rocky Fielding, if not Dirrell.
I don’t see how on Earth that DeGale could be fighting Kessler for the vacant IBF title because Kessler isn’t ranked in the top 15 by the IBF. For his part, Fielding is ranked #9 by the IBF, and is ranked below Dirrell and he hasn’t fought in any title eliminators like Dirrell recently did.
“I’ve heard Rocky Fielding’s name mentioned because he’s ranked No.9 with the IBF, and the other one I’ve heard is Andre Dirrell,” McDonnell said to espn.co.uk. “I’ve also heard Mikkel Kessler’s name mentioned, but he’s not even ranked with the IBF. It doesn’t matter who is in the other corner at the moment.”
This isn’t a situation where DeGale can fight anyone he wants if Froch gets stripped or vacates his IBF strap. DeGale is going to need to fight the guy designated for him to fight by the IBF, and right now it appears that Dirrell will be that guy because he beat Edwards in an IBF title eliminator recently to earn the fight to fight for the title.
You can see why Dirrell would be a particularly bad option for DeGale, because Dirrell is blazing fast, powerful, defensively very skilled, mobile and able to fight out of the southpaw stance.
This means that DeGale won’t have any edge at all against a guy like Dirrell, because he’ll negate all the things that DeGale typically does. DeGale is a southpaw, but that’s not going to be an asset against Dirrell because he too fights as a southpaw, although Dirrell is equally good at fighting out of the orthodox stance.
Groves, Fielding and Kessler aren’t likely to get the fight against DeGale due to their low ranking. Dirrell is ranked above Kessler and Fielding, so that gives Dirrell the advantage. Groves is already the WBC mandatory for WBC champion Anthony Dirrell. That’s the fight that Groves will likely take.
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