At the Barclays Center, New York, top-ranked Super Middleweights James DeGale and Badou Jack had to settle for a Majority Draw. The decision, pulled from scores of 114-112 and 113-113 (twice), meant neither man could become a unified two-belt champion following a gruelling, close-quarter affair.
DeGale returns to England with a 23-1-1, 14 KO slate, plus the IBF title he brought to the table, while Jack returns to Sweden with 20-1-3, 12 KO. Boxing Base had no real qualms scoring the contest 114-112 in favor of Jack, but found the Draw verdict palatable enough. Jack wasn’t overwhelmingly dominant, but he did seem like the better overall fighter, bossing more of the action, and clearly delivering the greater damage. The ‘it’s what you like’ adage definitely applies.
DeGale got off to a good start, with a straight right dropping Jack in the opener. But Jack returned the favor with interest in the final stanza, flooring his foe with a left-hook, right-uppercut combo. In between, things were competitive, with DeGale taking the early rounds, edging the 10th and 11th, but being forced into very hostile territory in the middle rounds, particularly in a torrid 8th. DeGale certainly received the greater punishment in this fight, and his bloodied face, swollen eyes and cheeks – plus the need for dental work – said it all.
DeGale vs Jack was a fan-friendly way to get 2017 underway. Stylistically it was clean, with both energized boxers firing back-and-forth for 12 rounds. While the event was captivating, it’s the outcome itself that’ll now be ruffling feathers in the boxing fandom. So what of it? Was Jack handed a bitter injustice tonight? Well, the scorecards shouldn’t be considered ‘highly’ controversial. More frustrating is that Super Middleweight supremacy and Top 10 standings continue to remain pretty murky. And with Jack now planning to climb up to 175 pounds (boo), a rematch seems incredibly unlikely.
DeGale vs Jack: Undercard
- Gervonta Davis (17-0, 16 KO) made a huge splash on the Junior Lightweight scene, ripping the IBF title from respected Jose Pedraza (22-1, 12 KO) in the 7th round. Davis’ explosiveness, fluid movement and slick skills are impossible to deny, and, though it’s premature, fans will be drawing parallels with mentor Floyd Mayweather. Pedraza gave his best shot tonight, but was simply outclassed by Davis, a 20-year-old stick of dynamite who looks like a very promising boxer-banger. With just seventeen fights on the slate, he should be firmly on the radar in 2017.
- Amanda Serrano (31-1-1, 23 KO) successfully defended her WBO Junior Featherwieght title for the third time, outclassing veteran challenger Yazmin Rivas (35-10-1, 10 KO) over 10 rounds. Final tallies came in at 99-91, 98-92 and 97-93, all for the top-drawer Serrano.
- In an enthralling clash of unbeaten Middleweights, Immanuwel Aleem (15-0, 13 KO) stopped Ievgen Khytrov (16-1-1, 9 KO) in the 6th stanza. The action see-sawed from round to round, with both prospects finding themselves in serious peril for the first time in their careers. Aleem relied on his greater smarts to conquer a vicious, stalking foe, almost taking out Khytrov in the opener, and going on to score hard knockdowns in the 3rd and 6th, courtesy of a mean left hook and, finally, a hellish right hand. This was a major win – and gut check – for Aleem, but Khytrov deserves a ton of credit for the way he handled his business, showcasing plenty of quality work, and refusing to go down quietly. This is what boxing is about. Period.
- Thomas Dulorme (24-2, 16 KO) stopped an overmatched Brian Jones (13-7, 7 KO), kicking off the night’s action with a 6th round stoppage. This is Dulorme’s second successful outing since being throttled by Junior Welterweight elite Terence Crawford back in 2015. Dulorme doesn’t seem destined for greatness, but is still a fairly strong fringe contender worth keeping an eye on at 140. Still 26-years-young, and boasting a 5′ 10″ frame, the potential is there to carve out a respectable career.
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