James DeGale is taking what he admits is a legitimate risk on November 22, when he'll face Mexico's Marco Antonio Periban on the Cleverly-Bellew II undercard in Liverpool, just before he hopes to cash in on his IBF mandatory challenger status.
DeGale (19-1, 13 KO) wants to land a fight with Carl Froch, maybe for January 31 of next year, when Froch is slated to return to action.
"It's a massive risk. I'm No 1 challenger for the IBF. I didn't have to take this fight. I'm fighting Periban, he's a good fighter, fought for the world title against Sakio Bika. I know he lost on points but there was nothing in it and he's boxed at a good, good level. ... First things first I've got to get past Periban and then, early part next year, I'll be boxing for a world title."
DeGale, 28, says it's "not about Carl Froch," but of course it is, since Froch holds the IBF super middleweight title, along with the WBA belt. Unless Froch wants to vacate his IBF belt, he'll have to deal with DeGale, assuming DeGale does get past Periban, which is not a given.
Periban (20-2-1, 13 KO) last fought on May 3, losing a 10-round decision to J'Leon Love. That loss followed a draw with Badou Jack in September 2013, and a June 2013 loss to Sakio Bika with the then-vacant WBC super middleweight belt on the line.