James DeGale lost his IBF super middleweight this past weekend in what was a shocking loss to then-challenger Caleb Truax. Now Matchroom’s Eddie Hearn, who used to promote DeGale, used to the word “shambles” to describe his former fighter’s career since winning a world title, and isn’t sure DeGale’s heart is still in the fight game.
The promoter also believes DeGale is partly to blame for his current situation since he opted to run his career without any formal ties to a promoter.
“The worst thing you can be in boxing is a free agent. And they want to celebrate the fact that they’re a free agent. Let me tell you what happens when you’re a free agent: nobody gives a fuck about you. I’m not talking about the public, I’m talking about in the business.
“You wanna go into a fight, in a voluntary defense, and not have a rematch clause?! What are you playing at? Who’s responsible for that? You know why, because he ain’t got a promoter. Or the promoter that was with him...how upset do you think Frank Warren was [when that decision was read]? I’ll tell you what, I don’t think he could give a monkey’s [ass], why, because there’s no attachment...
“...to put James DeGale in that fight without a rematch clause is amateurish...and now with James DeGale it all comes down to desire. Because if you don’t have the desire in this sport, man, you better get out quick or you’re gonna get hurt.
“But if he doesn’t have the desire I’m not sure that he’ll fight again...I messaged him yesterday and I said ‘Maybe this is what you need. Maybe you need a new challenge. A challenge to regain your belt,’ but if you’re not in love with the sport, if you’re cutting corners, if you’re not living the life, it will catch up with you...”
Prior to this fight DeGale had been targeting a couple of big domestic showdowns, including ones against either Chris Eubank Jr. or George Groves, but Hearn thinks this loss has all but killed the potential for those to happen.
“They’re probably dead. But they’re certainly dead in terms of how much [DeGale’s] gonna get. I mean can you imagine the negotiations now? I mean it would’ve be hard enough with him as world champion. What’s Groves or Eubank wanna give you, 10 percent? 15 percent as a voluntary challenger?
“This is why James probably won’t fight again, because he’s gonna get an offer to have a comeback fight — he’s gonna look at it and go ‘Are you joking?! You want me to go and fight for that kind of money?’ So if it’s about the money and it’s not about the desire, it’s the end.
“It’s shambles, it’s been in shambles since he won that world title. If he would’ve come back [to Matchroom], listened to us, he would’ve been a pay-per-view fighter after the Dirrell fight. Any by the way, he ain’t made a lot of money. He’s talking about ‘oh, yeah, I’m making money!’ Groves and Eubank are making more money than him.”