(Photo credit: Suzanne Teresa/Premier Boxing Champions) by Scott Gilfoid: Tonight we’re going to find out if James DeGale (20-1, 14 KOs) has the talent or not to make history in his fight against Andre Dirrell (24-1, 16 KOs) in their fight for the vacant IBF super middleweight title at the Agganis Arena, in Boston, Massachusetts, USA.
DeGale has got a really difficult task ahead of him in this fight because he’s facing a guy that is a lot more talented than him in 31-year-old Dirrell. DeGale picked the wrong guy to try and make history against.
I could understand DeGale sounding off like a broken record about it being his destiny to win a world title at 168 if he were facing WBO champion Arthur Abraham, because that would be a winnable fight for DeGale, but against Dirrell, I just don’t see it as being a doable objective for DeGale.
Dirrell is too fast, too talented and too athletic for a slow plodder like DeGale. Boxing fans can of course form their own opinion on today’s fight, but I think they’re going to find out quickly that Dirrell is light years ahead of DeGale in talent when the two of them get inside the ring in Boston on Premier Boxing Champions on NBC.
For weeks, DeGale has been droning on repeatedly about how he’s going to make history by beating Dirrell to become the first British Olympic gold medalist to win a world title. DeGale figures that by making history it will validate his career and make it a success, despite the fact that there would be still much ahead him to prove himself.
“It’s all on. I will be the new champion. We have both been extremely respectful, but he got in my face a bit at the weigh-in and told me it has got serious,” DeGale said to Skysports.com. “But I was serious two months ago. I am on it.”
DeGale has set a low bar for himself to pronounce his career a success. With the way that each division in the pro game is watered down with five world titles at stake for various fighters to win a world title, it makes it very easy for mediocre fighters to win world titles nowadays. That’s why it’s so interesting to see DeGale so excited about the thought of winning a title. It doesn’t prove anything.
If DeGale wins the IBF title tonight, it’ll just mean that the boxing world will have another paper champion. The fighter that is considered to be the real champion at 168 in the minds of a lot of fans is WBA champion Andre Ward. DeGale says he wants to fight him too, but I’d be very surprised if he does.
DeGale points to his hard training as the reason for him winning the fight.
Unfortunately, hard training doesn’t mean you’re going to win the fight. Every fighter trains hard. It doesn’t going to mean you’re going to win just because you trained hard. Dirrell trained hard as well, and he obviously could have the same argument for why he should win tonight. But I think the outcome of tonight’s fight will be based more on the lines of the better talented fighter winning rather than on the better trained fighter.
There’s likely no separation between the two fighters in terms of how hard they worked in training camp. The area where there is separation is in the talent department, and that’s why I feel that Dirrell is going to school DeGale and make him look like the same fighter that lost to George Groves in 2011.
Yeah, DeGale has won his last 10 fights since his loss to Groves, but he’s fought nothing but awful opposition to get those 10 wins. With the guys that DeGale has been fighting, he could have easily racked up 100 straight wins, and it would still not help him tonight when he gets inside the ring with Dirrell. By beating 10 soft opponents, all it likely did was cause DeGale to pick up a lot of bad habits in the ring that will be exposed by Dirrell.