James DeGale faces Andre Dirrell for the vacant IBF super-middleweight title on Saturday, and the Brit is hoping to make history in the process.
Where: Agganis Arena, Boston.
When: Saturday May 23, 16:30 (ET)
Watch live: Click here to watch on NowTV from Sky!
The 29-year-old is aiming to become the first British Olympic gold medallist to become a world champion as a professional, but he faces the toughest test of his career thus far.
DeGale has momentum on his side as after joining Matchroom last year, he claimed two impressive stoppages against Brandon Gonzales and Marco Antonio Periban respectively to establish himself as the mandatory challenger for the IBF title.
A domestic showdown with former titleholder Carl Froch failed to materialise, and instead he has had to prepare for Dirrell who has worked his way back up to the top of the rankings.
The American is now known as ‘the Resurrected’ as after a turbulent period in his career, he has come back and is desperate to land a world title.
A bitter defeat to Froch and a controversial finish in his bout with Arthur Abraham have left questions hanging over him regarding his mental strength, and that will surely be put to the test on Saturday.
DeGale has bounced back from a difficult period of his career too after his loss to bitter rival George Groves back in 2011, and after gradually working his way through the respective levels, he has arrived on the world stage.
He had initially hoped that this fight would take place in the UK, but after losing the purse bids he has been forced to travel which may not turn out to be a negative thing.
‘Chunky’ is expected to make significantly more money with the fight being held Stateside, while an impressive win on the ‘PBC on NBC’ card would certainly send his profile soaring in the USA.
As a result, it is all there for DeGale to make this the turning point in his career. It is a fight between two slick southpaws who have great boxing IQ and skill, but Dirrell will want to make this messy and get in close and tie his opponent up when he can.
DeGale must keep his range and make a quick start to ensure that his rival feels his power, and if he can tag Dirrell early then it should set the tempo for the rest of the fight.
Prediction: DeGale to win on points. Kell Brook showed as recently as last year that it can be done, and although DeGale has a good chance of getting a stoppage as he has the power to do so, Dirrell would have trained hard and this fight will go the distance with the Brit edging it on the scorecards.