Badou Jack and James DeGale meet at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn on Saturday night with the WBC and IBF super-middleweight titles on the line, and our friends at The Boxing Guys have previewed the showdown…
Many will see this as a battle to claim top spot in the division with big fights to be made for the winner, not least the possible domestic showdown between DeGale and Callum Smith later this year.
However, the focus will be on this weekend as DeGale (23-1, 14KOs) is back on the road to face a champion that has steadily improved in recent years and can’t be underestimated.
Since his win over Brandon Gonzales at Wembley in 2014, DeGale hasn’t looked back as he defeated Andre Dirrell a year later to pick up the vacant IBF title and has since successfully defended his belt against Lucian Bute and Rogelio Medina.
This is a step up though and he’ll have to deliver, while he can ill-afford dropping the pace and going missing in the later rounds, a habit that he has seemingly fallen into particularly in his last few fights.
Nevertheless, he has the technical ability, boxing skills and ring-craft to win this and make Jack look ordinary, and if he puts it all together on Saturday night, we could be looking at a new WBC champion.
As noted above though, Jack can’t be underestimated as after his loss to Derek Edwards in 2014, he’s been on his own rise which has seen him pick up wins over Anthony Dirrell and George Groves.
His detractors will still question just how good he really is, and ultimately we’ll find out on Saturday as he is presented with a tough challenge to figure out the puzzle that is DeGale and prove that he is great and not just good.
The Brit’s southpaw stance and awkward style make him a nightmare for his opponents, and his ability to throw punches from all sorts of angles will test the ordinarily tight-knit defence of his rival.
However, while skill can make DeGale look good in this one and lead to a comfortable victory, he’ll have to dig deep and show he can last the pace without taking his foot off the pedal as for us, this is going the distance.
Prediction: DeGale to win by unanimous decision. Personally, I can’t see DeGale stopping Jack, but what I do predict is that he’ll be tough to catch and will get his shots off to win rounds.
While he has even criticised himself after fights for stepping off and not making his mark for the full 12 rounds, this time round he has to listen to that criticism as Jack will be busy throughout the fight.
However, back the IBF king to add the WBC belt to his collection as he should have too much quality for his opponent to deal with.
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