By Scott Gilfoid: This Saturday night on Premier Boxing Champions, #1 IBF James DeGale (20-1, 14 KOs) and #2 IBF Andre Dirrell (24-1, 16 KOs) will be fighting over the vacant IBF super middleweight title in a fight that is seen by many in the sport as a toss-up fight. However, many fans still see Dirrell as being too quick, too talented, and far too strong of a fighter for DeGale to compete against in this fight.
DeGale appears to have his mind made up that he’s going to beat Dirrell, and he thinks he’ll be ready for anything when he gets inside the squared circle with the 31-yuear-old American fighter at the Agganis Arena, in Boston, Massachusetts.
DeGale’s 66% knockout percentage, which is far from great, suggests that his chances of scoring a knockout over the 6’2” Dirrell are very, very slim. This tells you that if DeGale is to have any real chance of winning this fight, he’s going to need to focus on winning a 12 round decision. Is that possible? Yes, but the odds aren’t in DeGale’s favor because no one has really proven yet that they can out-point Dirrell, aside from the controversial decision that Carl Froch won against him six years ago on a cold night in Nottingham.
“I’m destined to be world champion, and I’m going to win the title on Saturday night,” DeGale said to ESPN.com. “I’ve got everything covered. If he wants to box on his back foot and run like he used to do, he’s a very negative fighter, I’ll catch up to him eventually. If he wants to go out there and trade with me, that’s even better for me, because I’m hungry, and as I said before, it’s my destiny to become a world champion. I’ve trained too hard and come too far in my career not to become world champion,” DeGale said.
DeGale should forget about this whole destiny stuff and focus instead on him just trying to beat what could be either the No.1 super middleweight in the division. Dirrell has matured to the point where he could likely beat Andre Ward and Carl Froch. He’s just gotten better, whereas those guys have gotten rusty from non-action.
If DeGale thinks he’s going to force Dirrell into fighting his fight, he could be in for a sad mistake. You don’t want to rush a talent like Dirrell because he’s so good at picking off his aggressive opponents with pinpoint shots the same way Floyd Mayweather Jr. does with his opposition. DeGale has to be smart and pick his spots if he’s to have any kind of chance of pulling off the win.