Jamal James and Caleb Truax Make Statements from their Hometown
By: Andrew Johnson
The two best boxers in Minnesota delivered distinct messages by scoring early-round knockouts at the Armory last Friday night in Minneapolis. Jamal James (24-1, 11 KOs) told the welterweight division “Here I come!” with his second-round knockout of Mahonry Montes’ (35-8-1, 24 KOs). While Caleb Truax announced “I am still here!” to the Super Middleweight division with a dominating performance against Fabiano Pena (15-11-1, 10 KOs).
Jamal James believes that he belongs among the elite fighters at 147 lbs. Known as a slick boxer who uses his length to frustrate opponents, James surprised many with the power he displayed in the fight.
“He said that he would be coming forward on us so I knew what to expect.” James told the Boxing Insider immediately after the fight. “I had watched his film and my corner told me to keep that jab on him, use the angles and feel him out.”
In the first round, the fighters threw inconsequential punches to size each other up and find their rhythm. Montes launched his attack in the second round and was building momentum until James landed a series of right hands. The first shot landed squarely on Montes’ chin, rattling the veteran fighter from Sinaloa. James capitalized on the moment by continuing to throw his right hand over Montes defense. When Montes finally lifted his gloves to protect his head, James finished him with a vicious left to the body that ended the fight.
“I was able to hurt him early with a right hand and then that body shot just sunk him.” said an exuberant James.
The welterweight division is full of marquee names and big money fights. After successfully headlining two nationally televised cards in his hometown, Jamal James believes that he has earned a shot at a title, most likely a WBA belt, which ranked him as the #3 contender entering the fight.
“Hopefully this brings me closer to a world title opportunity, if not a world title opportunity in my next fight.” James responded when asked what this victory means for his immediate future.
3,754 fans came to the event, so the PBC may want to let “Shango” fight in front of the Armory’s friendly crowd one more time before presenting him with a contract for a title bout. But if it were up to Jamal James, he would likely want to challenge Keith Thurman for his WBA
Even though FS1 turned off their cameras after the James/Montes bout, no one left the arena. Caleb Truax had not fought in his hometown since his shocking upset of James DeGale (24-2-1, 14 KOs) last December. He turned his homecoming match into a sing along by selecting “Purple Rain” to accompany his ring walk and entered the building like a choir conductor.
In April, Truax was sluggish in losing his title to DeGale in their rematch, launching rumors of retirement for the 34 year-old. Though he fought as a Light Heavyweight after weighing-in above the Super Middleweight limit and faced an overmatched Fabiano Pena, Truax looked sharp in the fight. After absorbing a few solid punches from Pena, he took control and pummeled his opponent with a barrage of power shots, ending the fight in the third round with a sensational upper-cut.
The victory put Truax in the mix again at Super Middleweight with the potential to face powerhouses like Jose Uzcategui and David Benavidez, a third fight with DeGale or possibly Julio Cesar Chavez Jr this fall.
A Big Step for Jamal James this Friday Night in Minneapolis
By: Andrew Johnson
For the second time in 45 years, professional boxing returns to the Armory in downtown Minneapolis. Last April, hometown contender Jamal “Shango” James (23-1, 10 KOs) outlasted Abel Ramos (20-3-2, 15 KOs) in a compelling fight that inched him closer to a title shot and introduced the Armory as the Midwest’s most intriguing boxing venue.
Photo Credit: Premier Boxing Champions
This Friday night, James will headline a marathon PBC card by facing Mahonry Montes (35-7-1, 24 KOs) in a 10-round welterweight bout (FS1 and FOX Deportes starting at 8:00 ET). Already ranked as the #3 welterweight by the WBA, a compelling win against Montes will put James in contention for a fight with WBA Super Champion Keith Thurman (27-0, 22 KOs) or WBA World Champion Manny Pacquiao (59-7-2, 38 KOs) in 2019.
Jamal James is taller, faster and has a considerably longer reach than Montes. This isn’t news to the veteran fighting out of Sinaloa, Mexico.
“I know that Jamal James is very tall and uses his range well, but one thing that I always do well in my fights is to bring pressure.” Montes told the media. “I am very aggressive and that is what I am going to do tomorrow.”
In James’ last fight, Abel Ramos came to Minneapolis with the same strategy. A shorter and slower fighter than James, Ramos struggled in the early rounds, but as the fight progressed he figured out how to land his own shots and avoid James’ best weapon, the straight right hand. Ramos lost a very close split decision, but he may have laid the blueprint for how other pressure fighters might counter James’ speed and height.
“This is a step to get to that world title.” James told reporters after he weighed-in at two pounds below the 147 lbs limit. A win would be a significant step in his career and one he will attempt in front of his hometown fans and a national audience. But the staircase that boxers must climb in the welterweight division is steep. A misstep by “Shango” on Friday would send him tumbling down the rankings in boxing’s deepest division and out of the welterweight title conversation.
Fellow Minnesotan, Caleb Truax’s (29-4-2, 18 KOs) fight won’t be televised, but he will be on Friday’s card as he looks to make one last title run at super middleweight. He faces the relatively unknown Brazilian boxer, Fabiano Pena (15-10-1, 11 KOs) in a match that is meant to show Truax still has gas in the tank and is ready for what would be his third fight with James DeGale (24-2-1, 14 KOs).
Jamal James Edges Abel Ramos in Minneapolis
By: Andrew Johnson
Jamal “Shango” James outlasted a sturdy and persistent Abel Ramos last Friday night in front of a loud, partisan crowd at the Armory in snowy Minneapolis. He won by the slimmest of margins, splitting the judges 95-95, 96-94, 96-94.
Clearly enthused to be fighting at home, James came storming out of the gate throwing flurries of punches behind sharp double and triple jabs. He appeared intent on scoring another early knockdown, building on the third-round KO he registered in December against Diego Chaves.
Photo Credit: Brian Schroeder / Premier Boxing Champions
Abel Ramos looked very comfortable at 147 lbs. and weathered the first-round storm. He steadied himself in his corner and launched his own offensive in the 2nd round, catching James with a left hook that nearly flattened the hometown fighter.
“I caught him with some tough shots and he was shaking them off,” James told the Boxing Insider immediately after the fight, “so I knew I had to keep boxing him.”
James’ strategy to use his length and quickness to outbox the shorter, slower Ramos proved to be a winning formula, but the victory wasn’t as easy or as decisive as Shango had hoped. In the first half of the fight, Ramos absorbed combination after combination from James, but he never flinched. In fact, Ramos kept pursuing the quicker fighter and by the middle of the fight he was starting to land with more success.
Solidifying his reputation as a difficult target, James ducked, dodged and leaned away from Ramos’ power shots. “I got slick on the inside because I knew he was going to keep pressuring me.” James said about his mid-fight strategy.
James was also aided by the 3,500 fans who braved the weather to back one of the best prospects Minneapolis has produced in the last two decades. Chants of “Shango! Shango! Shango!” started in the third round and were repeated throughout the fight. James appeared to draw energy from the supporting crowd in the late rounds when he was cut over his ear and losing steam.
The Armory felt like it was made for the sweet science and is poised to host future fights. It was a reminder that live boxing is best when the crowd has skin in the game and is emotionally invested in the main event. The vocal fans may have nudged a round or two on the judges’ scorecards towards James, as a number of rounds could have gone either way.
The WBA was already on board with Jamal James as a top contender at welterweight and it will be interesting to see if this fight will improve his standing with the other sanctioning bodies.
In the locker room after the victory, Shango was both elated and palpably relieved. He came through in the biggest fight of his life and defeated a tough opponent in front of his friends, family and a national audience.
Jamal “Shango” James: The African God of Thunder…from the Tundra
By: Andrew Johnson
Jamal “Shango” James (22-1, 10 KOs) faces fellow welterweight Abel Ramos (18-2-2, 13 KOs) this Friday night in PBC on FS1’s main event (FS1 9:00 EST) at the historic Armory in downtown Minneapolis.
James is the WBA’s #4 welterweight contender and hopes to use the platform offered by the nationally televised event to legitimize his place among the top fighters at 147 lbs. Proud of his Minnesota roots, James wants to continue the recent momentum in Minnesota boxing that began with Caleb Truax upset of James DeGale last December.
Photo Credit: Mn Fight News
James, whose nickname means “African God of Thunder”, climbed up the rankings as a slick, defensive, counter-puncher with an impressive jab. At 6’2”, he reminds some fans of an early 1980s Thomas Hearns, but Shango employs a very different boxing strategy than the Motor City Cobra.
“The best thing I do in the ring is not get hit.” James told the media during Wednesday’s press conference. “I try to bring a little bit of the art back (to boxing). I am not a super big slugger, but I can still hurt you.”
He hurt Diego Chaves in his last fight and knocked out the rugged, Argentine veteran. James kept his distance in the fight’s early minutes with his long, weaponized jab, but brought the thunder late in the third round with a left hook to the body that put Chaves on the canvas and ended the fight.
Friday’s fight will be the first-time James has fought in Minnesota in over three years. He began boxing at the age of five when his mother brought him to Circle of Discipline gym in South Minneapolis. The trainers at the gym teach footwork and crisp punching to aspiring boxers, but also focus on faith and building character in youth whose backs are against the wall. After nearly 25 years of training at the gym, James embodies the holistic approach to the fight game preached by the Circle of Discipline.
“I am at a place in my life where I can give life back to others. I was able to bring a big event like this to Minnesota and we gave tickets to a ton of kids from low-income homes who may not have been able to afford it.” James told the Boxing Insider after the press conference. “We have given 100 tickets to high schools around the city and more to other organizations. I pray and hope that the more success I have, the more I am able to help my organization and community.”
If Jamal James wants a title shot in the next year, he needs to shine against Ramos on Friday night. Simply avoiding Abel Ramos’ punches and winning an uninspired decision may not be enough to make noise in a division full of marquee names and big money fights.
Ramos moved up to 147 lbs. for his last fight and won via TKO. He said that fighting at a heavier weight will allow him to bring new strength and endurance to the ring on Friday and is confident that he will defeat James in his homecoming and the return of boxing to the Armory.
There will be snow on the streets of Minneapolis, but the atmosphere inside the Armory should be electric as the hometown crowd receives Jamal “Shango” James and welcomes boxing back to a building that hosted legends like Sugar Ray Robinson and Joe Louis decades ago.
Showtime Boxing Results: Hurd Wins Thriller Over Lara, Williams and DeGale Victorious
By: William Holmes
Al Haymon’s Premier Boxing Champions put on a triple header on the Showtime networks live from the Hard Rock Hotel and Casino in Las Vegas, Nevada.
The main event of the evening was between Erislandy Lara and Jarrett Hurd and the co-main event of the evening was between James DeGale and Caleb Truax which was a rematch of a mammoth upset in 2017.
The opening bout of the night was between Julian Williams (24-1-1) and Nathaniel Gallimore (20-1) in the junior middleweight division. The winner of this bout will likely be looking at a title shot in the near future.
Julian Williams was a big step up in competition for Nathaniel Gallimore and he stayed behind a strong jab and good side to side movement in the opening three rounds. Gallimore was able to land some shots on the inside, and landed and received some heavy shots in the fourth round.
Williams had a small mouse under his right eye in the fifth round that opened up from an unintentional headbutt. Williams began to focus on the body more in the middle rounds, though he looked a little tired in the fifth and sixth rounds.
Williams body work continued into the seventh, eight, and ninth rounds and it was visibly sapping the energy of Gallimore. Gallimore’s punches didn’t have much snap in the tenth round and Williams had Gallimore badly hurt in the eleventh round and looked close to stopping him.
It was an entertaining fight, with only one questionable scorecard at the end.
The final scores were 114-114, 116-112, and 117-110 in favor of Julian Williams.
After this bout Floyd Mayweather Jr. was interviewed by Showtime and indicated that if he was going to unretire he would fight in the octagon.
The co-main event of the night was between Caleb Truax (29-3-2) and James DeGale (23-2-1) for the IBF Super Middleweight Title.
Photo Credit: Showtime Twitter Account
DeGale showed the quicker hand speed and more accurate in the opening two rounds, but it featured many headbutts that often happen when a southpaw faces an orthodox fighter.
Truax applied heavy pressure in the third round which featured a hard-right hand to the chin of DeGale that sent him falling backwards into the ropes. DeGale had a cut by his right eye that the referee ruled was caused by a punch, but the video replay showed it was caused by a head-butt.
The Nevada commission informed the announce team in the fourth round that the ruling on the cut being caused by a punch still stood despite the video evidence.
Truax continued to come forward in the fourth through sixth rounds while DeGale badly bled. Truax however wasn’t able to land many effective combinations but he was pressing the action.
DeGale started to land some good counters in the seventh round and land some good short shots on the inside. DeGale had a very strong eighth and ninth rounds and often switched to an orthodox stance from his traditional southpaw stance.
Truax had cuts under both of his eyes by the ninth round and appeared to be tiring. DeGale lost a point in the tenth round for a deliberate shoulder strike.
The final two rounds were close and featured some tight action, but DeGale looked like he was landing the better punches.
The final scores were 117-110, 114-113, and 114-113 for James DeGale.
The main event of the night was between Jarrett Hurd (21-0) and Erislandy Lara (25-2-2) for the IBF and WBA Junior Middleweight Titles .
Photo Credit: Showtime Twitter Account
Hurd looked like he was two weight classes bigger than Lara, but Lara was able to find a home with his straight left hand early on and land some quick combinations in the second.
Hurd didn’t appear to be too bothered with Lara’s power and was able to land some good short shots on the inside and was making Lara back away from him in the fourth rounds.
Hurd showed he had a granite chin in the fifth round and was able to take the shots of Lara and answer with his own shots to the body. Lara appeared to tire in the sixth rounds as his back was against the ropes again, and he took a hard right hook at the end of the seventh round.
Hurd was able to land some very hard shots in the eighth round and had Lara’s eye puffed up badly in the ninth.
Lara was able to slow Hurd’s momentum in the 10th round with quick counters and being the first on the attack, and he was able to finish the eleventh round strong and maybe steal the round.
The twelfth round featured both boxers going for the knockout, but it was Hurd who landed a shot that sent his opponent to the mat. Lara looked badly hurt and face was swollen, but he was able to survive the round.
The scores were 114-113 Lara, 114-113 Hurd, and 114-113 Hurd.
Showtime World Championship Boxing Preview: Lara v. Hurd, Truax vs. DeGale
By: William Holmes
On Saturday night Showtime will team up with Al Haymon’s Premier Boxing Champions (PBC) to put on two highly competitive fights live from the Hard Rock Hotel and Casino in Las Vegas Nevada.
The main event will feature a Junior Middleweight Unificaiton bout between Erislandy Lara and the rising Jarrett Hurd. The co-main event of the evening will feature an anticipated rematch between Caleb Truax and James DeGale for the IBF Super Middleweight World Championship.
Photo Credit: Stephanie Trapp/Showtime
Their first match was won by Truax in what many consider to be the biggest upset of the year in 2017.
The undercard will feature fighters such as Julian Williams, Sergio Mora, and Alfredo Angulo.
The following is a preview of the two televised fights.
Caleb Truax (29-3-2) vs. James DeGale (23-2-1); IBF Super Middleweight Title
The expected opening bout of the telecast will be between Caleb Truax and James DeGale for the IBF Super Middleweight Title. Truax was able to pull off a tremendous upset during their first bout and surprisingly is still considered by many to be the underdog, despite the fact he beat DeGale in England.
Truax and DeGale are the same height and DeGale has a slight one inch reach advantage. Truax has been the more active boxer of the two. He fought twice in 2017 and three times in 2016. DeGale fought twice in 2017 and once in 2016.
DeGale clearly has the better amateur resume of the two. He was an Olympic Gold Medalist in 2008 while Truax was an Upper Midwest Golden Gloves Champion. However, while DeGale may be the better amateur boxer Truax appears to have more power in his punches. Truax has stopped eighteen of his opponents while DeGale has stopped fourteen.
Truax has defeated the likes of DeGale, KeAndrae Leatherwood, Melvin Betenacourt, Scott Sigmon, Derek Ennis, and Donovan George. He has lost to the likes of Anthony Dirrell, Daniel Jacobs, and Jermain Taylor.
DeGale has beaten the likes of Rogelio Medina, Lucian Bute, Andre Dirrell, Marco Antonio Periban, and Dyah Davis. His losses were to George Groves and Truax.
Even though DeGale has the edge in amateur experience and defeated opponents, Truax was able to beat DeGale in his own backyard and rather convincingly the first time they faced each other and it wasn’t by a lucky knockout punch.
Truax will have the mental edge going into Saturday night that may be the difference to help him win this rematch.
Jarrett Hurd (21-0) vs. Erislandy Lara (25-2-2); IBF/WBA Junior Middleweight Titles
This is an intriguing fight between a decorated amateur from Cuba that may be coming near the end of his physical peak and a young upcoming champion looking to make a name for him.
Lara is thirty four years old and will be seven years older than Hurd on fight night. He will also be giving up four inches in height and two and a half inches in reach. Hurd has also been the more active fighter of the two. He fought twice in 2017 and twice in 2016, while Lara only fought once in 2016 and fought twice in 2017.
Lara, however, does not appear to be worried about the size difference. He stated at the last press conference, ” “Everyone knows I love to fight his style. I’ve fought better and taller fighters than him and you’ve seen me dominate them. It’s going to be nothing different on Saturday night.”
Hurd has a slight edge in power as he has fifteen stoppage victories on his record, while Lara only has fourteen stoppage victories.
Hurd was a semifinalist in the National Golden Gloves tournament as an amateur while Lara was a Cuban National Amateur Champion and a member of the Cuban National Boxing Team.
Hurd has defeated the likes of Austin Trout, Tonly Harrison, Ionut Dan, Oscar Molina and Frank Galarza. Nobody has yet to defeat Hurd as a professional.
Lara’s two losses were close and were to Canelo Alvarez and to Paul Williams. He has defeated the likes of Terrel Gausha, Yuri Foreman, Vanes Martirosyan, Jan Zaveck, Delvin Rodriguez, Ishe Smith, Austin Trout, Alfredo Angulo, and Freddy Hernandez.
Hurd appears ready to test Lara and take advantage of his size advantage and his age advantage. He stated, “”Lara is a guy who can’t take pressure fighters well. I have some of the best pressure in the game. I’m younger, stronger, taller and longer. He’s not going to be able to run for 12 rounds. “
Has Lara reached the end of his peak? He hasn’t shown signs of slowing down and Hurd leaves himself open to counters. It should be a close fight, but this writer envisions Lara pulling away by the end of the fight.
Showtime World Championship Boxing Results Caleb Truax Defeats Heavy Favorite James DeGale
By: Ste Rowen
James DeGale v Caleb Truax
It was supposed to be a challenging homecoming, not a do-or-die war, but the fight that should’ve propelled James ‘Chunky DeGale into unification fights in 2018 has left him beltless and wondering what’s next. American and one-time challenger for the WBA ‘Regular’ middleweight belt, Caleb ‘Golden’ Truax is the new IBF super middleweight champion of the world, and there can be no complaints against that.
Photo Credit: Sky Sports Boxing
It was DeGale’s first defence on home soil of the belt he won back in 2015 and from the first bell he seemed to be taking a more measured approach until he unleashed a flurry of left hooks, a notable weakness of Truax’s, and left his opponent stunned but not down. Truax did well to recover from that attack and continued into the second.
Caleb brought the fight to the champion from then on, as DeGale began to load up on left hands. The American won the round to even the scorecards going into the third. Through rounds three and four, a stiff jab from the American forced DeGale further and further back and allowed Truax to dictate how the fight would play out.
The fifth was a massive round for ‘Golden’ as he continued to pummel the IBF champ unanswered, with huge right uppercuts and straights. A brief rally at the end of the round from DeGale gave the impression to the home crowd that he was still in the fight.
The middle rounds saw the 2008 Olympic champion adopt a more stick and move style, but it wasn’t enough to keep Truax from coming forward without fear. The final three rounds were nip and tuck as DeGale began to employ a little of the darks arts with the forceful use of head and elbow. His little spurts of activity may have geed the crowd up but they would prove ineffective.
In the middle of the final round Truax lifted his arms in triumph, received mainly by cheers from a crowd that booed him into the ring. He’d won the hearts of the fans inside London’s Copper Box Arena, and with it the red strap that propels him into potentially huge fights in 2018.
The final scorecards came back as 114-114 and 115-112, 116-112 for the American. It was testament to Truax’s performance that when the 114-114 card was announced, it was met by boos. The crowd sensed another terrible 2017 scorecard but thankfully the right man won and a new champion was crowned.
Caleb Truax, now America’s second middleweight champion along with David Benavidez.
The Undercard highlights…
Lee Selby v Eduardo Ramirez
IBF Featherweight Champion, Lee Selby claimed a dominant points decision victory over Mexican challenger, Eduardo Ramirez to solidify his status as one of the best featherweights in the world.
The Welshman was fighting with style early on, whereas Ramirez was seemingly looking for the home run as he swung and swung, but never hit anything significant. Through the early rounds Selby showed his class. The southpaw in Ramirez did it’s best to show some essence of movement, but Selby’s jab was king through three.
Into four Selby began to take one to land two, frequently throwing combinations of hooks to be met by the occasional power shot response from the Mexican. More of the same followed through to round eight as Lee continued to dominate, but he was clearly looking to impress, made obvious by a number of wayward big left hands.
Despite a brief scare in the eleventh, as the Mexican rallied and landed a heavy left that gave Selby something to think about; the final five rounds saw Lee Selby do what Lee Selby does best. With a little more nastiness in the punches compared to previous fights, he established himself behind a dominant jab and chipped away at Ramirez’s remaining defences with consistent straight punches.
The final twelve round scorecards came back as 118-110, 119-109, 116-112.
Selby will now hopefully move onto a big 2018, with potential opponents such as, Josh Warrington, Scott Quigg, Carl Frampton and fellow belt holders, Gary Russell Jr, Oscar Valdez and Leo Santa Cruz.
Anthony Yarde v Nikola Sjekloca
Anthony Yarde became the first man to stop Nikola Sjekloca, as rising light heavyweight star, ‘The Beast’, earnt his fourteenth victory, and twelth straight knockout.
Yarde seemed to be precision personified, but it wasn’t a walkover. A man who has never been stopped is a man who wants to keep that record, but Yarde’s heavy hits only got heavier as he knocked down Sjekloca for the first time in the second round.
Sjekloca came with a reply at the start of round three, but again Yarde’s superior punches and the rate he was landing, kept the London native well on top.
At the start of the fourth Yarde landed big hit after big hit before knocking the Montenegrin down again, and then once more after continuous power punches and the referee stopped the fight with a brave Nikola still on his feet.
Yarde now 14-0 (13KOs) will surely be expecting the biggest fight of his career so far in 2018, a bout for the British light heavyweight title.
Daniel Dubois v Dorian Darch
Daniel Dubois made lightwork of one of Britain’s favourite heavyweight gate keepers in Dorian Darch, achieving his sixth consecutive knockout victory. But Darch didn’t come to lie down. Nearing the end of the first round, Dubois brought the firepower and knocked down his latest foe for the first time. Dorian survived, but not for long.
At the start of the second Dubois picked up where he left off and fired an assault on Darch, knocking him down three times in brutal fashion before the referee ended the fight and Dubois claimed his latest knockout victory. His record now stands at 6-0 (6KOS).
It’s a brave man that steps in with him next.
Joe Mullender v Lee Churcher
In a fantastic give-and-take fight between 10-2, Joe Mullender and 12-3-1, Lee Churcher, Mullender came out the victor, knocking Churcher down twice in round five and then again in the eighth and eleventh, when the referee waved the bout off and Joe Mullender became the new IBF East/West Europe Middleweight Champion.
Showtime World Championship Boxing Preview: DeGale vs. Truax, Selby vs. Ramirez
By: Ste Rowen
On Saturday night, James ‘Chunky’ DeGale headlines a card crammed with current and future British boxing stars at the Copper Box Arena in London.
The IBF champion, 23-1-1 (14KOs) is returning to the ring for the first time since his super middleweight unification attempt vs Badou Jack back in January this year, that ultimately ended in a draw but set the ball rolling for a fantastic year in the sport.
Photo Credit: Box Nation Twitter
Since then, DeGale has been held back by a shoulder injury that ruled him out of competing in the World Boxing Super Series, which resumes for the semi-finals in February next year.
It’ll be just DeGale’s fourth defence of the belt he won back in May 2015 after a unanimous decision victory over Andre Dirrell, and his first fight on home soil since he defeated Marco Antonio Periban on the undercard of Bellew v Cleverly in 2014. Since then the 2008 Olympic gold medallist has racked up decision victories over Lucien Bute, Rogelio ‘Porky’ Medina, and the aforementioned draw with now light heavyweight contender, Badou Jack.
His opponent, Caleb ‘Golden’ Truax, 28-3-2 (18KOs), has fought for a version of the world titles once before when he took on then WBA ‘Regular’ middleweight champion, Daniel Jacobs in 2015. Truax was being soundly beaten even before the twelth-round of that fight when, with 1:24 left on the clock Jacobs landed a right hand sending the Minnesota native sprawling into the ropes. The referee gave Truax the mandatory eight-count but after being allowed to carry on, Jacobs continued to fire off massive, unanswered rights and the referee put an end to the fight with Truax still on his feet.
Caleb attempted to bounce back when he returned ten months later to beat Melvin Betancourt via fourth-round TKO, and then took on Anthony Dirrell in April 2016, but he was simultaneously put on the canvas for the first time, and beaten for a third by the former WBC champion who took just 1:30 of the first round to drop Truax, and then again, his weakness for the right straight showed as Dirrell dropped him again and the referee stopped the fight.
Since then, ‘Golden’ has picked up two fairly routine stoppage victories over 5-15-0, Zachariah Kelley, and American middleweight, KeAndrae Leatherwood.
Caleb was no doubt surprised to get the offer of another world title shot in the form of James DeGale.
Speaking to the BBC about the challenger for his belt ‘Chunky’ said, “Truax is a good fighter, I’m not saying he’s a world beater… He dropped Jermaine Taylor when Jermaine Taylor was hot so he’s mixed it at a good level but he’s always just missed out… So, he’s no mug but this is the perfect opponent where I can look fantastic.”
DeGale also said this week he’s targeting another unification fight, this time with the recently crowned WBC champion, David Benavidez.
Co-main on the night will be IBF featherweight champion Lee Selby who is returning to the ring for the third time this year. He faces Eduardo Ramirez, 20-0-3, in his fifth fight since winning the IBF title from Evgeny Gradovich back in 2015. Last time out ‘The Welsh Mayweather’ fought Jonathon Victor Barros on the Eubank v Abraham undercard, dropping Barros in the twelth en route to a clear unanimous decision.
It’s not a dissimilar setup as Carl Frampton’s recent decision win against Horacio Garcia; the bout is seemingly the gateway to the super fights of 2018 against the likes of Leo Santa Cruz, Oscar Valdez, Gary Russell Jr and of course, former WBA Featherweight champion, Frampton.
In an interview from FrankWarren.com, Selby said, ‘Ramirez is a young, hungry Mexican who comes from a very good stable… He’s an undefeated southpaw and highly ranked by the IBF (11th). From clips I’ve seen, Eduardo’s a similar height as myself, if not taller, so I’ll not enjoy the advantages… My record shows I can always make the adjustments needed to win. I’m confident that my class will prevail’
His Mexican opponents’ most recent outing was a controversial draw in Vegas, with unbeaten, Leduan Barthelmy. Ramirez was viewed by most as doing more than enough to grant him the win, but Vegas was Vegas and handed Ramirez a third draw in his twenty-three-fight pro career. This will be Eduardo’s first scheduled twelve-round bout with his longest fight also being the ten-rounder mentioned above. The southpaw should not be an easy touch for Selby, the Welshman will need to box smart early when Ramirez attempts to fire off quick combinations of hooks and big overhand lefts. Experience could be key for Selby who’s been the twelve-round distance six times, three as a world champion.
Hot prospects, Light Heavyweight Anthony Yarde and ‘Dynamite’ Daniel Dubois will also feature on the card.
13-0-0 (12KOs), Anthony Yarde has been busy this year knocking out all four of his 2017 opponents, most recently scoring a third-round stoppage against former super middleweight contender, Robert Nemesapati, now 25-7-0.
He takes on never before stopped, Nicola Sjekloca, 32-4-1 (11KOs), who’s previous opponents include Callum Smith, Arthur Abraham and current WBA ‘Regular’ Super Middleweight champion, Tyron Zeuge. It’s certainly a step up though for Yarde. In his last fight in March, the Montenegrin went the twelve-round distance in a split decision draw to former WBO super middleweight champion Robert Stieglitz.
The only criticism to level against the light heavyweight prospect so far is the quality of opponent he’s come up against, even as early as it is in his career. Some would argue, you can only beat what’s put in front of you and ‘The Beast’ has certainly done so, showing speed, timing and a keen eye for the stoppage. It will be Yarde’s second scheduled twelve round fight; the furthest he’s gone so far is four when he was taken the distance by Latvian, Stanislavs Makarenko in the Englishman’s second pro bout.
Twenty-year-old heavyweight Dubois, 5-0-0 (5KOs) takes on 12-5-1 (1KO), Dorian Darch. Dubois has made an explosive start to his professional career but much like Yarde, is now being encouraged by fans to hurry along his early progress and the young Brit’s promoter obviously feels the same. Frank Warren is reportedly trying to get the British Board of Control to lower the age limit a fighter must be to challenge for the British heavyweight belt, currently set at twenty-one. Daniel’s 21st birthday is in September next year.
Interview with Derrick James, Trainer to Errol Spence Jr.
Boxing Insider Interview with Derrick James
By: Marley Malenfant
Derrick James is busy man.
When he’s not training his stable of boxers, like current IBF Welterweight champion Errol Spence jr or Jermell Charlo, he hosts private and group boxing sessions at the Cooper Aerobics Institute in Dallas.
Photo Credit: Sky Sports
James has trained professionally for over ten years. His career as a professional boxer is 27-7-1 and he’s a former two-time Golden Gloves champion in Texas.
Not one to really hype himself up, James said the formula to his success is to never stop working.
“All of our strength and conditioning work is done at Cooper and our boxing work is done at R&R [Boxing Club in Dallas].”
In a Q&A, James discussed his working relationship with Spence, consideration for trainer of the year, plans to finish out the year and brief talks with the indecipherable Al Haymon.
BI: Do you think boxing media was ignoring you and Errol Spence’s rise prior to a championship because you’re both from Texas?
DJ: I don’t think they ignored Errol as much as they did myself. A couple years ago he was prospect of the year. He was an ESPN prospect of the year and Premier Boxing Champions named him prospect of the year. The boxing media and the boxing world have not ignored him. I think myself, yes. A little bit but not much.
BI: Why do you think that is?
DJ: It’s like a small, small community. I think they like the same ol’ guys. Errol is not my first world champion. It’s Jermell Charlo, who’s from Texas as well. But I don’t know, man. But they almost don’t have a choice now [but to respect it]. I have 23 guys and three champions. So my third guy, Robert Brant, he’s fighting for the world title sometime in August or September for the WBA belt that Danny Jacobs gave up to fight [Gennady Golovkin] GGG. I have three world champions. So there’s no way the public can deny.
BI: Are there things that you do as a trainer that other trainers should be doing?
DJ: Well, I’m happy that they’re not doing what we’re doing. And they don’t need to do it because what works for me does not mean that works for them. They need to stick to what they do and let us stick to what we do. That’s how I’ll say that.
BI: With Spence’s success, has anything changed with the way you two work?
DJ: No not at all, man. Everything thing has been the same. What’s funny is that initially, when I started training him as an amateur, my whole focus was that he would become world champion. Not professional. But it was amateur world champion. I wasn’t thinking that far off because the goal was the amateur world title. And then the Olympic games came. At that point, I never really set a goal except just work hard. For me as a trainer, I don’t feel right pushing my ideas on somebody else. I hope to make him the best he is. We haven’t changed anything. It’s the same pace, same everything since he was an amateur. The only thing we changed is the work we do a little bit. We spar 19 rounds instead of 10 rounds. That’s the difference. We just work a little bit harder and we always work the same pace and the same weight. And that’s why I think it’s getting a little bit harder for everybody to keep up.
BI: What would you like to see for Spence next?
DJ: I really don’t like to interject my personal feelings on who he should fight. I want him to fight whoever he wants to fight. So I listen to him. I go off of whatever he says. He says he wants to fight the best. He wants to fight Keith Thurman. If he can’t fight Keith Thurman because of an injury, then you know whoever the next possible opposition is. It could be Shawn Porter, Danny Garcia. These are the names I’ve heard him say. I’m just repeating what he said. I just get him prepared.
BI: Does he ever mention anyone from Top Rank or Golden Boy? Does he ever say ‘I wouldn’t mind getting at a [Terrance] Crawford or Manny Pacquiao’? Does he mention those guys to you in private?
DJ: Well, Pacquiao… he did say Pacquiao right after the last fight. And really, it’s not about Manny Pacquiao. It’s about that he has that title. So if he didn’t have that WBO belt, he wouldn’t mention his name at all.
BI: What’s it like working with Al Haymon. He’s a mysterious guy and you don’t see him in the media.
DJ: I don’t know, man. I don’t talk to him [laughs]. I’m serious. There’s a liaison that I generally work with and we’ll go from there. I really don’t work with him. I’ve met him before and have talked to him a couple of times. But I really don’t have to talk to him.
Ann Wolfe Interview: “I was a pure Jr. Middleweight and everybody I fought at Jr. Middleweight I put to sleep!”
Ann Wolfe Interview: “I was a pure Jr. Middleweight and everybody I fought at Jr. Middleweight I put to sleep.”
By: Matthew N. Becher
Ann Wolfe is best known as “the baddest woman on the planet”. She was a professional boxer from 1998-2006. Wolfe amassed a professional record of 24 wins, 1 loss (which she avenged, twice) and 16 wins by way of knockout. She did all this while holding 4 weight class titles simultaneously. Ann Wolfe’s story is one of poverty, crime and destitution. Boxing became her salvation and she became, arguably, the greatest female fighter of all time.
Most recently, Ms. Wolfe starred in the box office smash hit “Wonder Woman”, where she was specifically casted by director Patty Jenkins to play the role of “Artemis”. Jenkins announced on Twitter when Wolfe got the part, “Who else should be one of the greatest warrior Amazons, but the best female boxer in history”.
We were able to speak with Ann Wolfe about her humble beginnings, her thoughts on the state of boxing, Wonder Woman, and being a role model for young females.
Boxing Insider: What was it like filming a big blockbuster movie? Did you enjoy the filmmaking process?
Ann Wolfe: It was OK. As long as I have something to do, I’m happy.
Boxing Insider: Did the people on set know you are this great boxer or did they just think you were some unknown actor?
Ann Wolfe: No, Patty Jenkins personally looked for me. She wanted me to play Artemis. Her husband was a Thai boxer and they wanted me. So she looked for me, so I didn’t cast for Artemis.
The other actors knew who I was, because Patty filled them in. Gal (Gadot) would walk up and talk to me, she was really nice. Chris (Pine) was also very nice. Gal looked at me and then at Patty Jenkins and said “that is Artemis”. They knew, and it was weird because they are actors and big Hollywood stars and they were excited to meet me.
Boxing Insider: Did any of your boxing training help translate to your role as Artemis?
Ann Wolfe: Yes, all of it did. Because using a sword, in boxing you are taught to keep your hands in tight, but with the weapons they wanted you to be more open. It was easy because I was able to use the balance that I have,to use the Axe really well.
Boxing Insider: As an ambassador for female boxing, why do you think it hasn’t caught on in the same way that the UFC female fighters have?
Ann Wolfe: Number one, the UFC is a little more engaging. It’s a new sport itself, so you don’t have to have a lot of skill. Boxing is the sweet science. So if you want to begin in the grass roots of boxing where women are on the same level as guys, you are talking hundreds of years. Men have been boxing everyday all day for a hundred years. So it will take some time. You will need to bring more young girls into the gym starting at 6, 7, 8, 9, and 10. And it would have to be 100,000 of them. If you look at MMA, you don’t have an amateur MMA. You have some of these young men like James Kirkland who had 140 amateur fights, I had 3. My skill level was I was just powerful as hell, I didn’t know how to actually box in the beginning. I was just punching them, the skill level wasn’t there. You will have one or two females that are really skillful, but who are they gonna box to get better. MMA is just more exciting because you kick and throw people on the ground and whatever. But people tuned into a fighter like me because I put people to sleep.
Boxing Insider: Who are some of your favorite fighters?
Ann Wolfe: Its gonna sound weird, but Glenn Johnson is one of my favorite fighters, because he was one of those throwback fighters that could lose a fight, and then come back and win. I like Andre Ward, I like Alfredo Angulo, he had a great passion. Most people would think that I don’t like Floyd Mayweather, but I like Floyd. He understood on how to keep winning, I don’t care what anyone says, he kept the passion in his boxing and in his training to win. A lot of people lose that. They get the money and they don’t want to train and Mayweather trained the same as when he had no money and persisted to win. And my favorite fighter is the greatest fighter to ever walk on this earth, and that is Sugar Ray Robinson.
Boxing Insider: Do you expect a call from the Hall of Fame pretty soon?
Ann Wolfe: No, I am already inducted into the female boxing hall of fame and I don’t know if the International Boxing Hall of Fame has any females in it. I don’t know and if I don’t, I’m ok with it. At this time in my life I understand that. I never want to say I’m the greatest fighter as a female, but if you go back and look at my career. I have 3 or 4 amateur fights and in two and a half years I cleaned out the entire, from welterweight to Super Heavyweight. Everybody doesn’t understand that I was going down to 152, up to 175, down to 168. I was a pure Jr. Middleweight and everybody I fought at Jr. Middleweight I put to sleep. If you look at what I was doing and how I did it, I just don’t see no one doing what I did. I held and defended 8 titles in 4 different weight classes. That is like a 106 pounder fighting someone at 175. If I would have just stayed at Jr. Middleweight I wouldn’t have made it exciting, because I’m 150lbs and I’m fighting the Super Heavyweight champion of the world and knocking her out. That’s what people don’t realize, we were never the same size. So I was putting middleweights, Light heavy’s, heavies and Super Heavy’s to sleep. And it got to a point where no one would fight me, so I retired. I will never box again because I went 2 years and no one would fight me at all, zero. That’s when I started training fighters.
Boxing Insider: So what is next for Ann Wolfe? Will we see you return to training fighters or is acting now a serious thing?
Ann Wolfe: I really want to turn toward the acting, because I liked it and a lot of kids can get, what people don’t realize I have put 160 kids through school. I had a gym full of children. Some of those kids slept in the gym. Some of those kids lived in the gyms. I went to those kids schools. I think with the training, I can’t make a fighter have that passion that I have, and it takes years to develop a fighter. Right now I don’t have it in my heart to pour out all of me into that one person, because you don’t know if they are gonna have that same passion when it’s time to have it. I’ve never trained anyone that I haven’t known as a child. I knew Kirkland when he was 12. Every one of them I started training when they were kids. This is not about just the fight game for me. It is a sport for troubled children that are drawn to violence and that type of life. Boxing has that violence part in it, but it also has structure and dedication and the whole nine yards. You get that little bit of violence that you were drawn towards, but it can save a lot of kids.
Boxing Insider: Whatever happened to Vonda Ward after that famous KO?
Ann Wolfe: She had to go to the hospital. I sent a lot of ladies to the hospital. If you go and look at my record, a lot of the people I knocked out never fought again, or maybe one time and that was it. Valerie Mahfood was my only loss and I came back and beat her twice. She said that was the hardest she had ever been hit in her natural life, man or woman.
Why Jeffries Came Back for Johnson & Marciano Didn’t for Johansson!
Why Jeffries Came Back for Johnson & Marciano Didn’t for Johansson!
By: Ken Hissner
James J “The Boilermaker” Jeffries was considered one of the all-time great heavyweight champions when he retired after defeating Jack Munroe in 2 rounds in August of 1904. His record was 19-0-2 (16).
When Jack “The Galvestan Giant” Johnson became the first black champion defeating Tommy Burns in December of 1908 the white race seemed to be quite upset especially due to the arrogance of Johnson. Johnson had four defenses with the first a draw with light heavyweight champion Philadelphia Jack O’Brien, NWS decisions with Tony Ross 11-6-2, NWS with Al Kauffman 18-1 and came off the canvas to KO12 middleweight champion Stanley Ketchell.
Johnson as you can see was running out of opponents though also drawing “the color line” not defending against any of the black opponents since becoming champion. On the other hand even Jeffries Pastor in front of his congregation was embarrassing him saying “we have a coward amongst us” in trying to bring him back to take back the title from the black champion.
Jeffries had gained over 100 pounds and hadn’t fought in 6 years minus a month. He unwisely came back at 227 to Johnson’s 208. Jeffries was 224 in his last fight some 6 years before. Jeffries was stopped in the 15th of a scheduled 45 round scheduled battle. In those days if you took a knee the round was over. Johnson was 38-5-7 going into this fight outdoors in Reno, NV.
In Marciano’s decision not to return after retiring coming off the canvas to knockout light heavyweight champion Archie Moore in his last bout in September of 1959 he had no plans to return to the ring. Floyd Patterson would defeat Moore for the vacant title. There was talk of a Marciano Patterson fight but Marciano who would take months prior to a fight away from his family wanted to spend time lost with his wife and children. At retirement he was 49-0 (43) with 6 title defenses the first was a KO1 over “Jersey” Joe Walcott whom he won the title over with a KO13 while behind in the scoring 4-7, 5-7 and 4-8 needing a knockout to win.
Marciano went onto KO11 Roland LaStarza in 1953 who he had won a split decision over in 1950 before becoming champion. He then defeated the former champion Ezzard Charles twice. The first was a decision 8-5, 9-5 and 8-6 and in the rematch Charles split Marciano’s nose so bad a only a knockout would save his title from the referee or ring physician possibly stopping the fight though ahead 5-1 and 6-1 twice. Then after 8 months he knocked out the British Empire champion Don Cockell 66-11-1 in 9 rounds with the Moore fight to follow.
Patterson after defeating Moore for the vacant defended his title 6 times all by knockout until he was knocked out by Sweden’s Ingemar Johansson. This is when Marciano felt he would come back to bring the title back to America. He spent time alone nearby his home trying to get back in shape. He said the desire wasn’t there anymore. Patterson would come back to win the title from Johansson bringing back the title to America.
More Boxing History
Did A Boxing Match Give Birth To Pop Culture?
Did A Boxing Match Give Birth To Pop Culture?
By: Sean Crose
After having been regarded as heavyweight champion of the world for about a full decade, John L Sullivan was still the man to beat in 1892. While it was true the guy hadn’t had a major fight for himself since 1889, Sullivan was still “the champ,” and, until bested, would remain “the champ” until he finally retired. No matter that he didn’t defend his title against black fighters. No matter that he didn’t defend his title against anyone at all for years on end. It was a different era, one where popular culture as we know it seems to have been on the cusp of being born. Sports icons, too, appear to have been a new development of the time.
And so, since Sullivan was basically the sole founding father of sports celebrities – and perhaps even all celebrities – the guy could pretty much do as he pleased until someone proved to be the better man in the ring. Yet boxing, like time, waits for no man, and there was no denying the fact that John L was now in his thirties and had led quite a hard, boozy life for himself on top of it. He had money. He had fame. He had influence. He undoubtedly still had power in his fists. Sullivan did not, however, have much time left in his reign as the dominant figure in the fight game. For up and coming fighter James J Corbett was calling.
The days of tough guys beating the hell out of each other with bare knuckles were over. The days of physical contests being held on barges away from the grasp of authorities were done, as well. In other words, the world that made Sullivan famous was fading away. To be sure, it was Sullivan himself who chose to fight under the Marquis of Queensbury rules when he agreed to face Corbett in September of that year. That meant the fight would go down in a ring, with three minute rounds and with both fighters wearing padded gloves.
What’s more, the bout would be held at night, in an indoor arena equipped with electronic lighting. Make no mistake about it, the Sullivan-Corbett bout may have rung in the dawn of modern American pop culture. Sport, spectacle and the latest in technological advancement were employed. To be sure, the lead up to the match was such a big deal that round by round updates were to be delivered to Times Square in New York City, so that the world could be kept up to snuff on the action in New Orleans, where the fight was to be held. America at the time was in the midst of a Presidential election. Guess what event, however, is said to have generated bigger headlines?
In truth, it’s hard to think of any other boxing match, or Super Bowl, or modern Olympic Games, or World Series that could match the significance of this single contest between two men from a looked down upon ethnic background. Yet Sullivan and Corbett, unalike accept for the fact that both were Americans of Irish stock who fought for a living, might well have ushered in a new era. Never mind the gamblers who placed money on the fight, masses of people were now keenly interested in a single event which had no direct bearing on their everyday lives. Attention was now being paid to something that didn’t directly involve politics, war, the overall state of the economy or scientific advancement. The times, quite simply, were changing.
As was the sport of boxing. Sullivan was a world class tough guy, but Corbett was a BOXER. More than anyone else, the San Francisco native drew the line between brawler and sportsman. Corbett’s style may not have made for good fighting, but it made for great boxing. Sullivan was essentially a fighter. Corbett was essentially a skilled boxer who employed a scientific and psychological approach to his craft in order to maximize the rules of the prize ring. Considering Sullivan’s age and lifestyle, the bout, for all intents and purposes, was over before it even began.
As Corbett went on to state in his autobiography, however, it was Sullivan, the bigger man with the meaner reputation, who was the betting favorite of the two. When the match finally began on the evening of September 7th, though, it soon became clear who the night belonged to. For Corbett employed footwork and timing to thoroughly frustrate his opponent for round after round. What’s more, when he unloaded on the famed champion, Sullivan felt it. Sure enough, in the 21st round, Corbett gave Sullivan everything he had. Sullivan went to the floor, the referee counted to ten…and an age was over. James J Corbett, who weighed less than one hundred eighty pounds, was now heavyweight champion of the world.
Corbett, ironically enough, was turned off by the crowd’s fickleness. The fans had started off being Sullivan’s supporters, Corbett later wrote. The fact that they were now cheering for the victor after Sullivan had been bested simply seemed tasteless to the newly crowned champ. It’s worth noting that Corbett also had the good grace to go on to write in his autobiography that the Sullivan he defeated in New Orleans was not the Sullivan of earlier times. As for Sullivan, he addressed the crowd after the fight to announce he was glad to have been bested by an American. For Sullivan, despite his flaws, was game enough to admit he’d been beaten, and grateful enough to give credit to the country that offered opportunity for men such as he and Corbett to find true success in. `
He may have been an alcoholic, a racist and a braggart, but Sullivan managed to leave the ring in good taste. It was, simply put, the man’s greatest moment.
Defeat brought out the best in him. As for Corbett, it was his moment in the sun. And, in more than one sense, it was boxing’s moment in the sun, as well. For a new type of athlete had arguably dragged boxing across the line from brawling to legitimate sport. And a quite popular one at that.
More Boxing History
Breaking: Cotto-Kirkland Bout Cancelled
Breaking: Cotto-Kirkland Bout Cancelled
By: Sean Crose
Roc Nation Sports has announced the upcoming pay per view fight between Miguel Cotto and James Kirkland has been cancelled. It appears that Kirkland has fractured his nose, therefore making the fight a no go. To be sure, Cotto-Kirkland was never promising as a pay per view event. Now, it’s been announced that the entire card has been called off. ESPN reports that Kirkland was hurt while sparring. The Texas native is an exciting fighter, but rarely finds himself in the ring. In truth, the last fights both he and Cotto have had have been against Canelo Alvarez. Cotto lost a close fight to Canelo, while Kirkland was knocked out in brutal, highlight reel fashion.
Mega star Cotto, who many believe will be a first ballot Hal of Fame inductee, is wrapping up a long and illustrious career. Yet the choice of Kirkland as an opponent was never going to get many fans to cough up money in order to view the affair on pay per view (though it may have made a solid traditional HBO card). Needless to say, fights with the likes of Tim Bradley, Juan Manuel Marquez or even Kell Brook would have generated far more buzz.
James DeGale comes of age in a bloody steak of a fight with Badou Jack – so what next?
James DeGale comes of age in a bloody steak of a fight with Badou Jack – so what next?
By G.E. Simons
Since his split decision loss in a British super-middleweight title fight against George Groves in May 2011, James DeGale has enjoyed an impressive uneaten run collecting wins in the UK, Denmark, Canada and the US, picking up the IBF World super-middleweight title along the way.
DeGale became Word champion by edging out Andre Dirrell almost four years to the day since collecting that only professional career loss against Groves and has successfully defended the strap three times since, against Lucian Bute, Rogelio Medina and Badou Jack.
Whether by design or circumstance, DeGale has made all three defences on foreign soil against opponents that have all given him more problems than he or the oddsmakers had anticipated or predicted.
His January unification fight with WBC title-holder Badou Jack got 2017 off to a great start in New York and is probably one of the best drawn contests that you will see this year. It was a rough, tough and bloody rare steak of a fight, albeit one with a seam of skill and will running right through the heart of it.
Jack walked away from the encounter and almost certainly into a light-heavyweight future, exhibiting more frustration with the majority draw scorecards than he was entitled to, as neither combatant really deserved to win and neither combatant really deserved to lose.
A more pragmatic DeGale walked away from the Brooklyn ring without a couple of teeth but with a perforated ear drum and broken nose, his reputation greatly enhanced through the incredible toughness, machismo and taste for a proper tear up that he showed in a real mano a mano.
Which leaves us with two fundamental questions. Just how good is James DeGale and what comes next for him?
DeGale is clearly a very, very good fighter with quick hands, athleticism, tremendous footwork and real snap in his punching. He is also the first British pugilist to win both an Olympic gold medal (Beijing 2008), before going on to win a version of a professional World title.
Further, he has lost only once against another very good fighter in George Groves and beaten solid operators in Brandon Gonzales, Marco Antonio Periban, Andre Dirrell and Lucian Bute.
But even in these victories and especially in the loss to Groves and the draw with Jack, he has lacked that extra gear, that reserve of stamina or that mercurial divining rod of something unexpected which elevates fighters and invites them to breath that rarefied air surrounding mount greatness.
In the build up to the Badou Jack fight and in an interview with iFIlm TV, James DeGale described his opponent as “A quality operator.” and “a good all round fighter.”
Ironically he could have been describing himself and there’s nothing wrong with that description especially within the context of a super-middleweight landscape where there are a number of other quality operators, if no obvious standout.
Which leads onto what or who is next for James DeGale.
Speaking to The Daily Telegraph and following the Badou Jack decision, promoter Eddie Hearn said “James has just gone through a war and it will take him until the summer to come back. He’ll need that time.”
The Matchroom Boxing supremo is right, but come the summer there are no shortage of interesting options out there, including:
Badou Jack’s vacation of the WBC title has muddied the waters a little, as had DeGale taken the belt with a victory, a first defence against Callum Smith would already be signed. Instead we will likely see Smith challenge Antony Dirrell for the vacant belt in late spring. Victory there would guarantee a terrific unification civil war with DeGale in the late summer. Likelihood of it happening next 5/5.
That DeGale and Groves will meet again is inevitable, whether it is next for DeGale is debatable. The Saint has his own commitments in the shape of a tilt at the WBA Super super-middleweight title against Fedor Chudinov confirmed for early 2017. Get through that and Wembley Stadium could beckon once more for a domestic dust up of the super-middles, with titles on the line. Likelihood of it happening next 4/5.
Chris Eubank Jnr.
Agent provocateur Eubank Jnr. called out DeGale after the Jack fight saying “He (DeGale) came out of a 12-round fight and he’s got no teeth – that’s embarrassing in my opinion.” Middleweight Junior fights Renold Quinlan for an IBO bauble in February and who knows his goading might just draw DeGale into a blockbuster summer payday. Likelihood of it happening next 3/5.
Jack has now officially vacated his WBC super-middleweight title as he prepares for a move to light-heavyweight, barring a move up in weight for DeGale a rematch seems highly unlikely. An appetite remains however with both claiming unfinished business, a residual interest from Mayweather promotions in James DeGale and more dollars to be made with fighters who match up well. Likelihood of it happening next 2/5.
Just as Froch was frustrated by Joe Calzaghe’s retirement before they could meet, so James DeGale was frustrated by Carl Froch hanging them up nearly a decade later. The Cobra clearly retains an itch that would be scratched by lacing them up one more time but his head seems to continue to rule his heart. That said, this is boxing so never say never. Likelihood of it happening next 1/5.
DeGale-Jack Shows That Not All 10-9 Rounds Are Alike
DeGale-Jack Shows That Not All 10-9 Rounds Are Alike
By: Sean Crose
Let’s face it, James DeGale got his ass kicked Saturday night in Brooklyn. That’s right, Badu Jack took it to the English super middleweight in a big way. While DeGale, slick and skilled, dominated early, Badu’s hard, grinding style, consisting of body work and hard shots to the head, carried the day. At least it did if we look on the affair as a fight instead of as a boxing match.
Unfortunately for Jack, the title unifier was a boxing match and was judged accordingly, as such. The lighter punching, but faster DeGale escaped with a draw. Indeed, one of the judges had the man actually beating Jack.
I myself had Jack dominating six rounds while DeGale owned four of his own outright. I also had two rounds open to interpretation. In other words, I felt they could have gone either way. So indeed, the final decision wasn’t a bad one if I’m to use my own scoring as a guide. Still, it’s hard for me to get over the fact that DeGale took a beating on Saturday night. Boxing may not be “real” fighting, but it’s real close and there’s little doubt who won Saturday on the “who dished out violence more effectively” scale.
I’ve wondered for a while now if there’s a better way to grade fights than on a round by round basis. It would be hard to find criteria for a successful revision of judging, but perhaps it’s time to seriously consider if such a move is feasible. Not all 10-9 rounds are alike. The proof of that is on DeGale’s face and in his newly toothless smile. Seriously, I was concerned about the guy’s well being on Saturday. He was taking some hellacious punishment and the last thing this world needed was another Magaomed Abdusalamov tragedy.
Again, though, I myself had scored it so that DeGale could conceivably have earned the draw he ended up earning. Still, there seems to just be something off about it. For this was a case where flashy combinations and slick movement couldn’t carry the day. Lots of those DeGale shots landed on gloves. And lots of those Jack shots did some serious damage. As a rule, I tend to admire polished fighters, but when polished fighters get knocked around like DeGale did on Saturday, I have to be honest with myself. Simply put, the scores on Saturday evening did not tell the whole story. And there might be something wrong with that.