Photo Credit: Tom Casino/Showtime
The fight that was supposed to determine the best super middleweight in the world has only fueled more doubt as WBC titlist Badou Jack and IBF beltholder James DeGale battled to an entertaining majority draw at the Barclays Center.
The fight was a tough one to score with DeGale getting a flash knockdown in the first and using his faster hands and nimble footwork to outwork Jack in three of the first four rounds. But then the tide shifted. As DeGale slowed down, Jack landed more telling blows, particularly body shots that visibly hurt DeGale in the sixth. On my card, the middle rounds were dominated by Jack’s more effective shots as he took rounds 5-8. In contrast, most of DeGale’s offense consisted of shoe-shine punches that couldn’t penetrate Jack’s guard.
Bruised and bloodied, DeGale dug deep in the championship rounds. His stronger work rate earned him rounds 9-11 on my card despite constantly losing his mouthpiece. Referee Arthur Mercante Jr. threatened several times to dock a point, but DeGale’s tendency to fight on kept the ref at bay since no rest advantage was attempted.
But there was a severe penalty for DeGale’s bravery (or stupidity depending on your view).
No mouthguard meant unprotected shots to the mouth and DeGale is a few teeth lesser for his troubles.
The dramatic 12th round was punctuated by Jack flooring DeGale with a short right uppercut. To the IBF champ’s credit, he weathered a minute-plus of Jack’s follow-up assaults to see the final bell.
— SHOWTIME Boxing (@ShowtimeBoxing) January 15, 2017
One judge, Glenn Feldman, felt DeGale had built enough of an early lead and gave him the fight 114-112. He was overruled by Julie Lederman and Steve Weisfeld, who both had it 113-113 (also my score).
REMATCH ISSUES: This fight seems like a no-brainer for a rematch. Unfortunately, Jack was quick to disclose he can no longer make super middleweight and the fight would have to take place at 175. DeGale scoffed at the notion and countered that the return bout should take place in London.
Now Floyd Mayweather’s behavior this week makes sense. He told media that Virgil Hunter was a bad coach and that Andre Ward would be a good opponent for Jack. Mayweather obviously knew Jack can’t stay at 168 and wanted his fighter to be the main option if Kovalev-Ward falls through.
Who do you think won the fight? Do you want to see a rematch? Sound off in the comments.