IBF World Super-Middleweight champion James DeGale takes on WBC holder Badou Jack in a unification fight to start what could be a massive year for the winner. Whoever emerges triumphant will likely match up against the highly impressive Callum Smith, who many are touting as the next big Super-Middleweight. Furthermore, if DeGale is victorious in New York this weekend, 2017 could potentially be hosting another all-British world title fight on these shores. Additionally, with George Groves also waiting in the wings, the future looks bright for a number of exciting clashes in the division.
- On paper, the two fighters are an even match with similar total fights, wins, wins by KO and losses (just one apiece).
- Although DeGale is giving away one inch in height, he actually gains an inch in reach which could prove to be the difference between them.
DeGale has fought 29 more rounds than Jack, including one more points win and two further knockouts.
- Both fighters have won 12 fights apiece inside the first six rounds.
- They have similar records of finishing fights early as well as going the distance in points wins.
- Significantly, DeGale has won twice during the latter stages of a fight in rounds nine and 11, pointing to his stamina and relentless punch power.
- Conversely, neither fighter has won in rounds seven, eight, 10 or 12 - and with such similar records, the likelihood of this fight going the full distance is probable.
Let's take a look at the combined statistics of each fighter's last six opponents;
- DeGale’s and Jack’s last six opponents have comparable total career victories with 150 and 147 respectively. However, Jack’s opponents have lost on six more occasions.
- Both fighters have spent a similar amount of time in the ring in their previous six fights.
- Notably, with DeGale performing poorly in his points win against Rogelio Medina on the undercard of Jack’s previous fight and Jack himself only gaining a draw against Lucian Bute, neither fighter has the ideal preparation for this fight, making this an even tougher one to call.
Both fighters have faced Lucian Bute in recent times, so let’s take a look at their punch stats against the Romanian;
Punch stats provided by CompuBox
- DeGale threw a total of 710 punches against Bute and landed 211, recording a 30% success rate.
- In return Bute threw just 521 punches and landed 140, which equates to a 27% success rate. This suggests that DeGale nullified his opponent’s attack on route to a unanimous points victory.
- Jack threw a similar total of 703 punches against Bute and landed 278, with an impressive 40% conversion.
- Nonetheless, in return Bute threw an immense 857 punches but landed just 179 with an exchange rate of 21% on route to a draw.
- The third judge scored the fight 117-111 in favour of Jack and judging by the stats it is a surprise the fight was awarded a draw.
- Nevertheless, Bute was extremely busy during the Jack fight but was kept quiet by DeGale, suggesting that the Brit has the advantage in skills and tactics.
In summary, there is very little to choose between DeGale and Jack with both fighters in their prime. Both warriors have fought many of the same opponents on their way to becoming word champions so this meeting was inevitable. When taking into account the statistics in the pair’s recent bouts against Lucian Bute, it would appear that DeGale has the ability to nullify the attack of world class opponents which could be the key to success. All the same, it is likely the fight will be decided on points and whoever does unify the belts, their next opponent will not be any easier.