Badou Jack and James DeGale ready to duel for super-middleweight supremacy

Super-middleweight supremacy will be on the line when the WBC champion and the IBF title-holder clash in New York

PUBLISHED : Friday, 13 January, 2017, 12:50pm
UPDATED : Friday, 13 January, 2017, 12:50pm

Super-middleweight supremacy will be on the line on Saturday when World Boxing Council champion Badou Jack and International Boxing Federation title-holder James DeGale clash in New York.

And there’s no shortage of confidence in either camp ahead of the showdown that’s been in the works since both posted victories in Washington in April.

“This is champion versus champion. It’s finally here. I’m going to put on a great show and become the unified champion, no matter what it takes,” said Jack, the US-based Swede who brings a record of 21-1 with 1 draw and 12 knockouts to the bout.

“I’m going to be the better fighter,” added Jack, a protege of unbeaten champion turned promoter Floyd Mayweather. “If I get an opportunity to land something that can change the fight, I’m going to take my chance ... I believe I can knock anybody out who gets in the ring with me.

“If you don’t believe that in yourself, then you’re in the wrong sport. I’m not expecting an easy fight, but I’ll do whatever it takes to win.”

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But in DeGale, the first Briton to win both Olympic gold and a professional world title, Jack faces a fighter who has proved himself a road warrior.

DeGale’s most recent three victories have all come in North America – a streak he is confident of extending.

“Movement, speed and angles are my keys,” said DeGale, who boasts a record of 23-1 with 14 knockouts. “If I’m focused and take no rounds off, that should do it. It will do it.

“Anything can happen in boxing, but I’m too prepared for this ... I look at Badou Jack, and even though he’s been getting better, I think I’m a much better fighter.

“He’s very high quality and I have to be on my game. It’s going to be a great fight, but I will be victorious.”

DeGale believes Jack may be underestimating him, based on what he admits was a lacklustre performance in a unanimous decision win over Rogelio Medina in Washington DC – on the same card on which Jack retained his WBC belt with a controversial majority draw against former champ Lucian Bute – a decision Jack dismissed as “Bullshit”.

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“After the Medina fight because I boxed rubbish because Medina went full rounds on me, Badou Jack has got lot of confidence,” said DeGale, who said he won’t make the mistake of underestimating the Swede.

Jack has rebuilt his career after a crushing first-round knockout loss to Derek Edwards in 2014.

He won his first world title with a victory of Anthony Dirrell in 2015 and Mayweather says Jack has come a long way since that shocking 2014 defeat.

“He’s definitely a more complete fighter,” Mayweather said. “Badou is very comfortable now. Everything in his life is going the way it’s supposed to go. He’s putting in the hard work and has dedicated himself to his craft.”

On the undercard, Mayweather Promotions rising star Gervonta Davis (16-0, 15 knockouts) challenges unbeaten Jose Pedraza for the Puerto Rican’s IBF super featherweight title.

Pedraza, 22-0 with 12 knockouts, is making the third defence of the title he claimed in 2015.