Badou Jack and James DeGale met in a super middleweight title unification tonight on Showtime, but no belts were unified, as the two fought to a tremendously spirited majority draw, with each man leaving with the belt he defended.
DeGale (23-1-1, 14 KO) keeps his IBF belt, and won one scorecard, 114-112, while Jack (20-1-3, 12 KO) retains his WBC belt. The other two cards were 113-113. BLH had the fight 114-112 for Jack.
The fight started well for DeGale, who dropped Jack in the opening round. Jack would get that knockdown back in the 12th and final round. Between those frames, we saw terrific, high-level pro boxing and a lot of heart from both fighters, who proved, at least to me, that they are indeed the two best super middleweights in boxing.
The scene after the fight soured the crowd a bit. Both fighters, of course, said they felt they’d won, which was fine and understandable. Each man had a decent argument. Jack did out-land DeGale by a good bit, but it was a close fight, scored by the round, as boxing is.
But when DeGale asked for a rematch, Jack balked and said he’d do it at 175. DeGale scoffed at that idea. Jack then said he’d do it at 168 “if it were a rematch.” This was confusing. Floyd Mayweather, Jack’s promoter, then interjected and said (1) that Jack can no longer make 168 pounds, (2) that Jack got a second straight bad decision with this fight, (3) that one time a judge scored “a unanimous decision” for Oscar De La Hoya over him, and (4) that in the long run things like this were bad for boxing. The crowd in Brooklyn booed pretty much every second of Mayweather’s plea.
Realistically, there should be a rematch, but Jack is 33 years old and I’m not going to dismiss the idea that maybe he’s having trouble making 168, and it would be best for him to move to 175. Maybe that is truly the case. It’s perhaps not a good look to bring it up so immediately, but at the same time it tells me that Jack did absolutely plan to move up after this fight.
Of course, if there’s not going to be a rematch, do we really need them to pay lip service to the idea?
Hopefully, Jack can still make 168 OK, and we do see them run this back, because it was a hell of a fight, and there’s unfinished business. But right now, it doesn’t seem likely.
How did you score this one?