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DeGale: I think I can beat Adonis Stevenson

Adonis Stevenson James DeGale(Photo credit: Lawrence Lustig/Matchroom Boxing) By Scott Gilfoid: IBF super middleweight champion James DeGale (22-1 14 KOs) says he’s interested in moving up to light heavyweight to take on some of the bigger names like WBC light heavyweight champion Adonis Stevenson (27-1, 22 KOs), who he believes he can beat.

DeGale has a title defense scheduled for next month against #3 IBF Rogelio Medina (36-3, 30 KOs) on Showtime Boxing from the Armory, in Washington, District of Columbia. This fight will be part of a doubleheader with the other fight being WBC super middleweight champion Badou Jack defending his title against former IBF champ Lucian Bute. The winner of those two fights are expected to face each other later this year.

“[It’s a] very good division, a tough division. Probably one of the hardest in boxing, trust me. So you’ll have to pick carefully who I want to fight. But Adonis Stevenson, I think I can beat him,” said DeGale to Fighthub.

That’s interesting that DeGale thinks he can beat the 38-year-old Stevenson, because I can’t see something like that ever happening in this lifetime unless DeGale waits Stevenson out until he’s well into his 40s before he chooses to fight him. That is a distinct possibility because Stevenson is only two years away from 40 fight now. Unless DeGale takes the fight with him soon, it’s possible that he could wait until the Canadian based southpaw slugger is an old man before he faces him.

DeGale, 30, needs to do something to get a huge money fight because I don’t see any big money fights out there for him in the 168lb division right now. DeGale’s potential fight against Badou Jack later this year won’t be a huge fight because Badou isn’t a star fighter. He’s just a guy that won a title off of Anthony Dirrell last year, and has since defended the belt once in beating three-time world title challenger loser George Groves.

DeGale isn’t going to get huge money fighting Badou. If Groves ever rebuilds his career, then a rematch between him and DeGale could be a decent money fight in the future, but for it to make a ton of money, Groves would really need to pick some solid wins and win a world title off someone else.

Since I don’t see Groves as having the talent to do that, it doesn’t look like a future DeGale-Groves rematch will be worth much. It would be better for DeGale to move up to 175 to see if he can scare up some fights against the likes of Stevenson, Sergey Kovalev or Andre Ward. I would add Artur Beterbiev and Andrzej Fonfara to the list, but those guys don’t have big enough fan bases right now for it to be worth the risk for DeGale to fight them. Besides, I don’t think DeGale could beat either of them right now, especially Beterbiev. That would be a nightmarish type of fight for DeGale because Beterbiev would likely bruise up and smash him.

“Well I was only saying that because I want to be the underdog again,” said DeGale about moving up to light heavyweight. “It feels like my last four fights I’ve been like the favorite and I want to be the underdog, I want a challenge…So I said [Adonis] Stevenson is a good fighter, a banger, a puncher, I’m willing to do that. I’m willing to obviously go up in weight and fight someone like that.”

There are still plenty of fights for DeGale at 168. It’s not as if he’s cleaned out the division or anything. He can obviously fight both the Dirrell brothers, as well as Groves, Badou Jack, Fedor Chudinov, Felix Sturm, Arthur Abraham, Giovanni De Carolis, Julio Cesar Chavez Jr., Gilberto Ramirez and Jesse Hart. There’s potentially 11 more fights for DeGale in the super middleweight division.

Just how many of those fights he can get is unclear. He might be able to get all of them or maybe just a small handful of them. In that case, it might be in DeGale’s best interest to move up to 175 temporarily to get the biggest money fights he can while he’s still young. The longer DeGale waits to do this the less chance he’ll have of winning. I have the feeling that guys like Stevenson and Kovalev will still be dangerous well into their 40s.

DeGale’s game is based on speed and slickness. That’s all youth stuff. He’s not going to be able to use his speed when he gets a little older because his speed will be gone, and he’ll be an easy mark for the likes of Kovalev or Stevenson; not that he can beat them right now. Those fighters would chop DeGale to pieces. Stevenson is faster than DeGale right now despite being eight years older than him.

I don’t think DeGale would last more than six rounds against Stevenson, and I think he would have to run those six rounds to last that long. It would be a brutally short fight in my view with DeGale taking a beating.

Instead of day dreaming about a fight against Stevenson in the future, DeGale needs to focus on his upcoming fight against the big punching Medina on April 30. There’s a chance that DeGale could lose that fight because Medina has good pop in his punches, and he’s really revived his career recently with four consecutive wins since 2014. Medina defeated J’Leon Love in 2014, and he’s looking really good.

“This guy [Medina] is made for me, really. He’s a typical Mexican come-forward, tough, strong,” said DeGale. “He’s a good fighter though. He’s got six losses on his record, which sounds pretty bad, but he’s got a lot of knockouts. Obviously he can punch, but the way I’m feeling, the momentum I’ve got at the minute, who’s gonna stop me?”

I don’t think DeGale fully realizes how much of a mediocre champion he truly is. He would have lost his fight against Andre Dirrell las year if he didn’t get two knockdowns in the 2nd round. In DeGale’s last fight against 36-year-old Lucian Bute last November, DeGale won a controversial 12 round decision in a fight that a lot of boxing fans felt was a 12 round draw.

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