James DeGale is thinking big for the future, but for his next fight, he'll stay at about the level he's been on, though he's selling the fight as if it's a major step up.
DeGale will return on March 23, facing Colombia's Alexander Brand, one of the sport's most awkward fighters, in a bout that may not be quite what he's making of it, but could be tough simply because there's really nobody who fights like Brand.
"Brand is a world class fighter that not only had a brilliant amateur career but also he holds a professional record of 19-1. But that could have been 20-0 as his only loss was a split decision over eight rounds and I know the feeling losing on a split decision. ... I will be sitting down with my promoter Mick Hennessy and looking to the big fights later this year maybe against the winner of Kessler v Froch or a rematch against Groves before going after Andre Ward."
DeGale (14-1, 9 KO) hasn't had particularly strong performances in his last two bouts, beating Hadillah Mohoumadi and Fulgencio Zuniga by decision. Both wins were oversold, and if he beats Brand, that likely will be, too. There's no denying that DeGale is a talented young fighter, but there is some legitimate doubt about his true upside.
As for those future fights, the first two could be hard to make. Now that Groves is with Matchroom, he's tied up with Sky Sports, while DeGale and Hennessy are with Channel 5. Froch is in the same boat as Groves in that respect. Kessler, if he beats Froch, might actually be the easiest fight to make of the three, but even that could run into some logistical issues, namely whether or not DeGale would be willing to fight on the road in Denmark.