By Keith Idec
Fittingly, James DeGale was quick to point out what he considers his greatest advantages over Badou Jack.
“Oh, there’s loads,” DeGale said during a recent conference call. “But I’m going to throw you one that stands out – it’s just speed, movement.”
London’s DeGale (23-1, 14 KOs) didn’t divulge details from his game plan, yet he made it clear his speed and athletic ability are among the primary reasons he’ll handle Jack (20-1-2, 12 KOs) on Saturday night in their super middleweight title unification fight at Brooklyn’s Barclays Center (Showtime; 9:30 p.m. ET/6:30 p.m. PT).
“I’m not gonna tell you what I’m going to do because he’s going to be very shocked by what I’m gonna do,” DeGale continued. “But speed, I’m so much faster. There’s movement. I move my feet so much better than him. There’s two things there that’s gonna confuse him, that’s gonna make things a whole lot harder for him. See, I’m not Lucian Bute. Who else has he boxed? I’m not [Anthony] Dirrell. I watched the Dirrell fight the other day. Dirrell blew up after six rounds … he was bolloxed. It was only because Badou Jack was fit and could hold his shape a lot better, that’s why he came through the fight.”
Sweden’s Jack drew with Canada’s Bute in his last bout, though most fans and media believe Jack did enough to win that 12-round fight for Jack’s WBC world super middleweight title April 30 in Washington, D.C. Two bouts before he settled for a majority draw with Bute (32-3-1, 25 KOs), Jack defeated Andre Dirrell (29-1-1, 23 KOs), of Flint, Michigan, by majority decision in another 12-rounder to win the WBC world super middleweight title.
Jack thinks he demonstrated during those two fights, as well as in previous bouts, that he has a significant edge against DeGale, a 2008 Olympic gold medalist and the IBF super middleweight champion.
“I’m the smarter fighter, period,” Jack said. “I believe I’m the more fundamentally sound fighter. I believe I’m the more technical fighter. I take nothing away from DeGale, who is a good fighter as well. But I believe in my skills. I believe in myself. I believe I’m the smarter fighter. It’s not just about throwing millions of combinations or looking flashy and stuff like that. It’s about winning fights. It’s about being smart. That’s what it should mean.”
Keith Idec is a senior writer/columnist for BoxingScene.com. He can be reached on Twitter @Idecboxing.