DeGale dreams of Groves rematch
By Scott Gilfoid: IBF super middleweight champion James DeGale just can’t seem to stay focused on his opponent WBC champion Badou Jack (20-1-2, 12 KOs) for this Saturday night for some reason, because he’s thinking of other fights he’d like to have in the future against George Groves (25-3, 18 KOs).
DeGale (23-1, 14 KOs) was already beaten by Groves six years ago in 2011, and the two have never met up in a rematch. If both guys can win their next fights, it’s possible that a unification fight can take place in 2017.
DeGale thinks a rematch against Groves is worthy of the 80,000 seat Wembley Stadium in London, England. I think that’s a pipe dream for DeGale. Groves fought Carl Froch in front of a huge crowd of 80,000 at Wembley Stadium three years ago in 2014, but that was Froch. DeGale isn’t anywhere near as popular as Froch, and I don’t think it will matter much if he beats Badou Jack in their fight this Saturday night on January 14 at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn, New York. DeGale, 30, is still likely to be little more than an afterthought in the UK when it comes to the boxing fans.
“I used to go past Wembley during my training runs and I’ve always wanted to fight there,” DeGale said to the Mirror.co.uk. “It could still happen. Against someone like [George] Groves, it would sell 80,000. But, first, I have to deal with Jack and if I come through that, some massive fights can be made against Callum Smith and Groves, which could be another unification fight.”
I think I speak for a lot of boxing fans when I say that DeGale is dreaming big time about him thinking a fight between him and Groves will bring in 80,000 boxing fans at Wembley Stadium. If DeGale’s promoter Eddie Hearn sticks that fight in Wembley Stadium, he’s going to need to package the fight with Anthony Joshua if he wants to fill the stadium. Even then, it would require that Joshua fight a real talent like WBC champion Deontay Wilder.
After Joshua wipes out Wladimir Klitschko on April 29, I cannot see the boxing fans wanting to pay to see Joshua in high numbers until he faces someone with youth and talent. We’re talking Deontay, aren’t we? DeGale can definitely fight Groves at Wembley Stadium, but ONLY if he has Joshua on the same card fighting Deontay. DeGale vs. Groves would be the co-feature bout. DeGale doesn’t have the popularity to be a main event at Wembley Stadium no matter who he fights in my opinion. DeGale vs. Groves is not a big enough fight to sellout a big stadium. I see that fight as more of a 10,000 seat arena type of fight at best, but definitely not a stadium fight. Hearn would be making a mistake if he tried to sell DeGale-Groves 2 as a main event fight at Wembley Stadium.
Well, if DeGale can sidestep the Callum Smith fight in 2017, and if Groves beats Fedor Chudinov to win the WBA ‘Super’ 168lb title, then it’s possible that a fight can take place between DeGale and Groves in 2017.
Groves’ record since beating DeGale in 2011 is 12-3. He lost twice to Carl Froch and once to Badou Jack. Groves’ 12 wins have come against fringe level fighters for the most part.
Here’s the deal; Badou will likely beat DeGale on Saturday night to end his hopeless pipe dream of fighting Groves in front of 80,000 fans at Wembley Stadium. Badou is all wrong for DeGale. Badou is one of those unassuming fighters that you might not see as having much of a chance of beating DeGale going into this Saturday’s fight. Once Badou is in the ring and the fight has started, you’re going to see immediately that DeGale has bitten off more than he can chew with this talented fighter from Sweden.
About the best that DeGale can hope for on Saturday night is to salvage a draw of sorts, because I cannot see him getting the ‘W’. Badou is a pressure fighter and a devastating body puncher. That’s why he was able to beat Groves. He wore him down with hard body shots in the first half of the fight. By the later rounds, Groves had nothing left in the rank. His midsection was literally turned to rubber from all the hard shots that Badou had hit him with to the body. DeGale is good at moving his head to make his opponents miss when they try to hit him with shots to the head. But he can’t move his midsection to get out of the way of Badou’s power shots, especially if he fights off the ropes like he did in his last title defense against Rogelio Medina last April at the DC Armory in Washington, DC.
DeGale fought with his back against the ropes for 12 rounds. The only reason he won the fight was because Medina invested too much time in throwing head shots. DeGale was able to make him miss many of his punches by moving his head just enough to cause the shots to go wide. DeGale also blocked a lot of punches with his guard. But when Medina was throwing to the body, he was landing at a high clip. Badou is going to make sure that he throws most of his punches to the body of DeGale where he has little defense.