James DeGale and Badou Jack had the first great boxing match of 2017 when they faced off against each other at Barclays Center on January 14th. While we may not see a better boxing match for quite some time, everyone involved in the fight was extremely disappointed with the outcome. Both great fighters were attempting to unify the super-middleweight titles, but that was not able to happen after the judges ruled the fight a draw after 12 rounds. Unifying titles is always a great thing for the sport of boxing, but it unfortunately may not happen for awhile in the super-middleweight division.
Fighting out of his home country of England for the fourth straight time did not stop James DeGale from getting off to a great start in this match. DeGale dodged a big punch from Badou Jack and hit him with a clean left hand to score a knockdown late in the first round. DeGale used his quickness and speed to outclass Jack in the ring for the next five rounds. Jack’s corner must have told him he was getting easily beat on the scorecards because he came into the sixth round with an aggressive style that was not present early in the fight.
Jack’s aggressive style helped him easily win the sixth and seventh rounds. He landed a huge shot on DeGale in the eighth round that sent his mouthpiece flying across the ring. The punch also knocked out one of James DeGale teeth. Jack landed more big punches in the ninth round, and he was even able to knock out DeGale mouthpiece again. The constant flurry of punches helped Badou Jack dominated the second half of the fight, and he thought he put a stamp on his victory by knocking down James DeGale late in the final round.
Jack landed 231 of his 745 punches while DeGale only landed 172 of his 617 punches. Looking at the face of James DeGale and the final fight stats make Badou Jack look like the clear winner, but that is not how boxing matches are scored. Boxing is all about winning rounds, and that is exactly what James DeGale was able to do early in the fight. While the stats may appear lopsided, this clearly was an even fight with both fighters dominating for six rounds each.
A rematch would be great for boxing, but that unfortunately looks unlikely at the moment. Both boxers hold title belts, and those organizations are forcing them to take on different boxers in their next match. The WBC has forced Badou Jack to defend his title against Callum Smith in his next fight. Jack expressed interest in moving up to the light-heavyweight division, so he may make this move instead of entering the ring against Smith. The IBF is making James DeGale fight either Jose Uzcategui or Gilberto Ramirez in his next match. James DeGale and Badou Jack will make a lot of money the next time they step in the ring together, but boxing fans are going to wait a lot longer than they want to see the highly anticipated rematch.