By Scott Gilfoid: George Groves says it’s time for former IBF super middleweight champion James ‘Chunky’ DeGale (25-3-1, 15 KOs) to hang up his gloves and retire following his 12 round unanimous decision loss to Chris Eubank Jr. (28-2, 21 KOs) last Saturday night at the O2 Arena in London, UK. Lesson learned: don’t overstay your career. When you’re shot, it’s time to walk away from the sport. DeGale stuck around a little too long, and got worked over and body slammed by Eubank Jr. tonight.
Groves says DeGale got “exposed” by Eubank Jr. and “put out of his boxing misery.” Groves thinks it’s time for DeGale to retire before he gets hurt. Groves was gloating something serious tonight, because he’s beaten both DeGale and Eubank Jr., and he got to tell the boxing world in his interviews that DeGale needs to retire.
Groves looked like the Cheshire cat smiling from ear to ear at James’ misfortune. But it’s not as if Groves’ own career ended on a high with him getting stopped in the seventh round by Callum Smith last September in the final of the Word Boxing Super Series tournament in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia. Groves wasn’t a shot fighter, but he wasn’t the same guy that had beaten Eubank Jr. in his previous fight. His left shoulder injury seemed to have taken something out of his favorite weapon, his power jab. Without that tool, Groves had no chance of beating Smith.
DeGale looked like an over-the-hill fighter, and a mere shadow of the fighter that he once was in his prime. Eubank Jr. knocked the 33-year-old DeGale down twice in dropping him in the second and tenth rounds to win by the scores 115-112, 114-112 and 117-109. DeGale would do little more than jab and dive in to hold all night. Eubank Jr frustrated with DeGale’s holding, and the lack of supervision from the referee, who failed to take points off from him for his stalling tactics.
“I thought Eubank Jr. would stop him,” Groves said to IFL TV in giving what his prediction was before tonight’s Eubank Jr vs. DeGale fight. “I didn’t think James has got it no more. I said it after the [Caleb] Truax fight. He wanted to prove something, and he got exposed. He got exposed [by Eubank Jr.]. We both boxed Eubank Jr. a year apart, and we know what happened. Every time I boxed him, I beat him. Unfortunately for James, he needs to call it a day, unless he has a massive tax bill that he doesn’t have money set aside for. But he needs to call it a day. He’s punchy. If you watch his interviews, he loses track of what he’s trying to say. If you ask what day it is, and how long ago stuff happened, it’s not pretty. It’s not nice to see. I don’t want to see that for anyone. I don’t want to see him in a bad way one day if he carries on boxing. I think he stayed hit from the Badou Jack fight. He was so concussed at the end of the fight, it was unbelievable. He stayed concussed during the entire Caleb Truax fight, and the rematch with Truax didn’t do him much good. He stayed hit the whole night. He’s the sort that wants to go rope to rope for his whole career. Sometimes it worked for him. Sometimes it didn’t. He’s never really looked that sensational, in my opinion. He much inflate his win over [Andre] Dirrell, as a massive achievement, but Dirrell never won a world title. Dirrell’s famous accomplishment was not nicking a decision against [Carl] Froch. His biggest wins was winning by a disqualification [against Arthur Abraham and Jose Uzcategui]. Other than that, he has a draw against Badou Jack. Let’s nip it in the bud for him. Someone put him out of his boxing misery, and call it a day. He won an Olympic gold medal, and a world championship. He’s a massive overachiever. Fair play to him. What would I ever need that man for? I feel sorry for him,” Groves said in making it clear that he’s not going to come out of retirement to fight DeGale in a rematch.
Groves brings up a lot of good points about DeGale looking shot to smithereens, but it’s just tonight that he looked like that. DeGale has been looking shot to bits since his loss to Caleb Truax in their first fight in December 2017, which he lost by a 12 round majority decision. The judges did DeGale no favors in giving him a controversial win over Truax in their rematch last April. DeGale was just as bad in the second fight as he was in the first, but the judges gave him a win. The only thing that was different in the DeGale-Truax II rematch was DeGale made sure he held Truax the entire night so he couldn’t get his shots off to dominate and hurt him like he’d done in their first fight. It was pure spoiling from start to the bitter finish, and DeGale looked like he deserved a loss but wasn’t given one by the judges.
You have to figure that DeGale knew that he had nothing left, and he still took the fight. DeGale didn’t know that he was shot from all the sparring that he did training camp, then he’s got to be deluded. DeGale’s two fights with Traux showed that he wasn’t the same guy after his 12 round draw against Badou Jack in 2017. Something has’t been right with Degale ever since the Jack fight, and it’s not just his his noodle right arm that has been causing him to struggle. His punch resistance, reflexes and and movement are all off since the Jack fight. DeGale had to have known what he had left from his work outs, you would think, and yet he still went through with the fight.
What Eubank Jr. did to DeGale tonight was nothing that any of the top super middleweights in the division wouldn’t have done as well if they’d been in the ring with him. If Eubank Jr. fought somebody good like David Benavidez, he would have been schooled by him in the same way that he was in his loss to Groves Eubank Jr. and DeGale can’t handle the elite in the super middleweight division. It’s an career drop for Degale, isn’t it? He went from being the BEST fighter at super middleweight to a guy that loses to #15 fringe contender Caleb Traux, and then gets schooled by Groves’ leftovers in Eubank Jr. If this had been DeGale in the zenith of his career tonight, he would have embarrassed Eubank Jr. Even with one arm, shot reflexes and no mobility, DeGale still won a lot of rounds and was competitive. Can you imagine what DeGale would have done to Eubank Jr. if his was still firing on all eight cylinders? It wouldn’t have been competitive for a moment.
Well, what goes around comes around. If Eubank Jr. takes on Billy Joe Saunders, he’s going to wind up losing just as bad, if not worse, than DeGale lost tonight. Eubank Jr. can get some good money fighting Saunders in a rematch, but he’ll lose to him. Saunders still fighting at a high level right now, and he’ll fight better at 168 than he did at 160, because he won’t have to drain down to make the weight like he’s been doing in fighting at middleweight. If Saunders wants a real world title, he’ll go after newly crowned WBC super middleweight champion Anthony Dirrell, who won the World Boxing Council 168 lb title tonight was a 10th round technical decision win over Avni Yildirim. If Saunders can win the WBC title, then he’ back in business as a world champion. The news of Gilberto ‘Zurdo’ Ramirez changing his mind about vacating his WBC super middleweight title means that Saunder and Shefat Isufi wont be fighting for the vacant WBO super middleweight title any longer.