Last night at the Barclays Center, New York, we saw an incredible battle for super middleweight supremacy as WBC super middleweight champion Badou Jack took on IBF super middleweight champion James DeGale in the hope one of them would unify the division, however the fight ended in a majority draw.
We saw number one and number two in the division face off in what turned out to be an incredibly entertaining fight, with both men getting up off the floor and giving it everything they had. Thousands watched on in attendance as Badou Jack The Ripper and James Chunky DeGale put both their titles on the line to see who would come out victorious, we are still none the wiser as to who is the king of the 168lbs ladder.
The first round started off extremely close with both fighters looking apprehensive to leave themselves open to a counter, and both were trying to size their opponent up and measure them at range. The round was coming to a close when DeGale caught Jack with a punch, knocking him to the canvas.
Given as a 10-8 round, Badou seemed to be caught out on his feet and suffered a flash knockdown but quickly recovered. Both exchanged blows repeatedly with Jack seeming to land the cleaner punches, but DeGale’s flashy combinations and hand speed proving difficult for Jack to deal with.
The rounds were extremely close with most people finding it very difficult to score, with the judges just scoring it on what they liked more from the fighter, with the judges obviously favouring DeGale as the judges had one in favour of DeGale, and two in favour of a draw despite most people ringside having Jack up by a round or two.
Prior to this fight James DeGale had teamed up with a new strength and conditioning coach and was also very strict on his nutrition, claiming it was the easiest he’s ever made weight before, and it certainly showed. DeGale looked in incredible condition and despite looking shaky at times, his gas tank was there for him when he needed it most.
Jack is often a fighter that goes underrated, with people saying “he doesn’t do anything that great, but he never does anything wrong” and that was spot on. Jack continued to fight fire with fire as both men fought on the inside and despite Jack being the bigger man, DeGale kept himself strong and didn’t allow the home fighter to man handle him.
DeGale didn’t show us his jab as the fight went on, and relied on his combinations to score points with his trainer screaming at ringside instructions to DeGale to try to execute a different game plan as Jack looked like he was coming on strong.
When DeGale seemed to be minutes away from becoming the unified super middleweight champion of the world, Jack caught him flush on the side of the head and DeGale ever so slowly rolled out onto the deck. Getting up to his feet bravely, Jack came forward and applied the pressure, seeming close to the referee waving off the fight.
DeGale repeatedly relied on clinching and managed to dust off his jelly legs and threw some final punches in the dying seconds of the round with Jack looking shaky as the final whistle blew.
Numerous times throughout the fight James DeGale’s mouth guard continued to fall out with the referee growing increasingly cautious about the well-being of DeGale’s teeth. At one stage he threatened he would disqualify DeGale if he kept loosing his mouth piece, with DeGale’s trainer running into the ring at the end of a round to collect the mouth piece from the canvas in hope the referee didn’t see.
At one stage the doctors were called ringside to check DeGale’s teeth as he continued to take punches to the mouth without his mouth piece, and you can see from the picture above, DeGale ended up loosing a tooth. He also had a busted eye with a slight cut and left the fight battered and bruised.
Both fighters took enormous punishment through the twelve rounds, both showing extreme bravery, but the two fighters weren’t the only two in the ring last night to take a shot and hit the desk as at the end of one of the latter rounds, Jack caught the referee with a left hand and sent him to queer street.
When the fight was finished and the scores were read out, both fighters promoters came to the ring to discuss what will happen in the future. Jack claimed he had been robbed and DeGale claimed he had one the fight, but seemed more pleased with the result.
Jack and his promoter Floyd Mayweather said they will have a rematch but it would be at Light Heavyweight as Jack has now outgrown super middleweight, a challenge that DeGale wont take. DeGale then bought in his promoter Eddie Hearn and asked Jack if he would do the rematch in London, something Jack ignored.
If Jack decides to move up to super middleweight, which is extremely likely as he stated in the post fight interview, saying he will not be returning to super middleweight, then the WBC belt will be vacated, leaving Callum Smith in line to fight for it against another challenger, seeming likely to be one of the Dirrell brothers.
Photo Credit – (@Forbes.com)
Despite DeGale loosing a tooth and suffering a busted eardrum, he showed tremendous heart coming off the canvas in the last round when he looked to be finished. I personally had Jack up by a round, but a draw is fair.
I think its more than likely we wont see the rematch as Jack seems certain he wants to move up weight divisions, but it’s so good to see two of the best putting it all on the line in what was an absolutely electric fight. It truly was 36 minutes of world-class boxing and we all hope to see it again!