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DeGale says announcement for next fight coming this week

Chris Eubank Jr, James DeGale boxing photo

By Scott Gilfoid: James ‘Chunky’ DeGale (25-2-1, 15 KOs) has revealed that his next fight in the UK will be announced this week. DeGale, 32, is rumored to be facing Chris Eubank Jr. (27-2, 21 KOs) next in February in a fight that will be sold on pay-per-view. That would be an interesting fight if it takes place.

Both guys are at a crucial juncture in their careers, and badly are in need of a win to keep things afloat. Eubank Jr. is still the same fighter that he always was, but his loss to George Groves last year in February 2018 in the World Boxing Super Series 168 pound final shows how flawed he is.

The fight clearly showed that Eubank Jr. isn’t good enough to mix it with the best at super middleweight. Unless Eubank Jr. can make some vast improvements in a hurry, he’s up the creek without a paddle in terms of his career. 29-years-old isn’t ancient for boxing, but it might as well be when you possess as many flaws as Eubank Jr. has in his game.

DeGale looks shot to pieces at 32. Whether that was a temporary thing due to him coming back a little too soon after shoulder surgery or an indication that his war with Badou Jack last year took something out of him is big question. DeGale did suffer a shoulder injury, and those are difficult to come back from quickly. DeGale lost to Caleb Truax by a 12 round unanimous decision on December 9, 2017.

If DeGale does face Eubank Jr. next, he may regret it. Eubank Jr. has too high of a work rate and too much power for the DeGale that we’ve seen lately. Eubank Jr. wins that fight all day long if it happens. It would be a nice cash out fight for DeGale to help feather his retirement years, but aside from that, it’s a horrible fight for him right now. DeGale should be starting from the bottom of the super middleweight division to show that he can still fight at a high enough level to compete with the top guys. Eubank Jr. is a good fringe level fighter, and perhaps an upgrade over Caleb Truax,

DeGale came back to defeat Truax in a rematch last April in beating him by a close 12 round unanimous decision by the scores 114-113, 117-110 and 114-113. Truax appeared to do more than enough to get the win, but DeGale was given the nod by the judges. However, DeGale looked poor, holding and running for 12 rounds, and getting a decision that should have arguably gone the other way to Truax. It doesn’t matter though. DeGale isn’t going to go far if he can’t fight a lot better than what he showed against Truax in their two fights. The judges might have saved DeGale’s career with the controversial decision win they gave him over Truax last April, but he can’t count on the judges continuing to do that forever.

DeGale did win his last fight in beating Colombian journeyman Fidel Monterrosa Munoz (39-19-1, 31 KOs) by a third round knockout on September 30, but that’s a guy that a lot of fighters are knocking out. DeGale’s win over Munoz, 30, is meaningless. It didn’t show that DeGale can still compete at the upper levels of the 168 pound weight division. If DeGale lost something from his game, like many boxing fans believe to be the case, then his career is going to implode starting with his next fight, be it against Eubank Jr. or someone else. If it’s a fighter with any kind of talent, DeGale will be at risk of losing.

Look at DeGale’s loss to Truax as an example of that. DeGale’s first fight against Truax was supposed to be a stay busy fight. Truax was ranked #15 with the International Boxing Federation at the time DeGale fought him in December 2017. At the time that DeGale fought Truax, the Minnesota native had past losses to Daniel Jacobs, Jermain Taylor and Anthony Dirrell. Truax was stopped by Jacobs and Dirrell. Truax also had a 10 round draw against journeyman Ossie Duran (28-11-3, 11 KOs) in January 2014. DeGale was supposed to beat Truax with ease instead of losing to him. Again, we don’t know how much DeGale’s previous shoulder injury played a part in his two fights against Truax. All we know is DeGale deserved losses in both fights. He did look good in his last fight in defeating Munoz last September, but that was an awful opponent through.

For a 32-year-old, DeGale is looking pretty old and past it. If he can find the fountain of youth by the time he faces Eubank Jr. or whoever he faces next, then he might be alright. Based on the way DeGale looked in his rematch with Traux last April, he doesn’t belong in the ring with someone like Eubank or anyone ranked in the top 15 at super middleweight in this writer’s view.

Eubank Jr. won his last fight in beating JJ McDonagh by a third round knockout on September 28 in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia. It was’t the type of opponent needed to show that he’s made improvements since his loss to Groves. Eubank Jr. can beat the second tier and fringe level fighters without any problems. It’s the upper level guys with boxing skills that give him problems. What Eubank Jr. should be doing is moving back down to middleweight. His loss to the bigger Groves showed clearly that he lacks the size to fight against the best at 168. But for some reason, Eubank Jr. is stubbornly sticking it out at super middleweight instead of making the smart choice of going back down to 160. If Eubank Jr. stays at super middleweight, he can make good money fighting DeGale, Callum Smith and Groves. It’s unclear Groves is done with his career. Eubank Jr. would likely be beaten by Smith. That would be a bad match-up for Eubank Jr. Even Groves, with one good arm, would be a real problem for Eubank Jr.

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