Saturday night treated us to what is already being touted as a potential 2017 fight of the year contender as reigning super-middleweight champions Badou Jack and James Degale left it all in the ring in a thrilling, back and forth blend of styles and tactics.
‘Chunky’ looked to be in his element as he predicted at the fights beginning when he dropped his American opponent towards the end of the first round but couldn’t capitalize and close out the show early.
Both men would have their moments throughout the middle to latter rounds of the fight, but it was Jack who would send Degale stumbling back onto the canvas at the end of the twelfth almost precisely eleven rounds after he himself was forced to answer the ten count.
In the end Degale would survive the late scare and the pair were forced to settle for a majority draw (Degale earning the decision on one card) with both retaining their respective titles and earning a heap of respect from fans for an outstanding battle. Naturally, talks of a rematch reared their head.
However, despite believing he produced the better work Jack and his team, particularly promoter Floyd Mayweather, were extremely negative when it came to questions suggesting the two fighters meet again. When asked about a potential rematch Mayweather explained:
“Badou Jack has gotten too big for the 168 pound (division). We had plans after this fight to move on up to light heavyweight.”
He went on to express his dismay at what he believed to be a poor night of scoring from the judges:
“This is the second time in a row Badou Jack has got a bad decision.” “This is bad for boxing.”
When the man himself was asked about putting it on the line against Degale again, before shying away from the microphone, Jack simply said:
“It’s time to move up to light heavyweight.”
Degale on the other hand, despite struggling to speak after losing a front tooth, was as vocal as ever and was undeniably keen to get the rematch made:
“Let’s do it again. I’m gonna take over anyway whatever he does, but we can do it again.” “We are the best two super middleweights in the world.”
He was so eager in fact that he appeared to be willing to pay for Jack and his team to travel to London for the rematch:
“I’m going home next. Come to London, please. We’ll pay you. See Eddie (Hearn), we’ll pay you.”
As of this moment the general consensus, certainly here in the UK, seems to be that Degale should have taken what was a close, hard fought contest.
Whatever your personal opinion of the result, I don’t think there’s a fight fan who wouldn’t love to see two go to war again.
The action was tremendous. The result was a bitter albeit fair anti-climax.
If, however, we are to believe the words of Floyd Mayweather may take a lot longer than expected to materialize, if it ever even does.
‘Money’ and his fighter may have ambitions elsewhere but such an action will undoubtedly be received as avoidance of another huge but ultimately necessary risk for the American star.
History will not look kindly on this one.
James Degale may be looking a little worse for wear right now but he’s coming home to London with gold still strapped around his waist – perhaps not as much gold as he would have hoped for but proof of a solid nights work nonetheless.
Meanwhile, as many expected, future super middleweight world title challenger Chris Eubank Jr was quick to throw his name into the hat of next-in-line Degale opponents on social media.
An intriguing match-up that would surely draw massive numbers in the UK. If these two ever somehow shared a ring the level of anticipation and contrasting egos would be through the roof.
Now THAT is a fight I would gladly pay to see.
As for a Degale/Jack rematch?
It pains me to say it but it’s not looking good. If the boxing gods are listening, do us all a favour and get pulling some strings.