It looks as though it won't be too long before we find ourselves with a new IBF super-middleweight title holder. Reigning champ James DeGale barely held onto the the title when he fought Badou Jack earlier this year, and is apparently having second thoughts on his future as a boxer. DeGale is already looking ahead toward retirement, and that day could end up coming sooner rather than later.
We talked about how shocked we were back in January that DeGale managed to end his fight against Jack in a draw. Some people, us included, felt that Jack was treated unfairly, and it was a controversial decision for those that actually saw the bout. Jack wiped the floor with the DeGale in the later rounds and even knocked out one of his teeth. If you were to take a look at the two guys after the fight, you never would have guessed that it ended in a tie.
DeGale entered as 2 the fight but quickly found himself completely outclassed by Jack “The Ripper.” Both competitors came in with similar records, but many experts expected a far more capable showing from the champ than he actually put in. Jack landed 231 out of 745 punches for a 31 percent connect rate while DeGale only connected on 172 of 617 for a rate of 28 percent. DeGale is downright lucky to have gotten a draw even if he probably didn't deserve one. This marks the first draw in DeGale's career and his record now stands at 23-1-1.
DeGale was clearly shook after getting hammered by Badou, and was extremely fortunate to come away with the result that he did. The IBF champ has said that he's looking forward to retirement and that it could come as soon as after only two more fights. He previously said that he only expects to have to a max of four fights left, but his career could end even sooner than expected. DeGale is now 31 years old and told the press that his fight against Jack made him realize just how brutal the sport could actually be. Now he's looking to take the money and run with retirement on his mind.
The next challenger for the IBF super-middleweight title will likely be Callum Smith. We expect to DeGale to have his hands full as he attempts to retain the belt, and we wouldn't be surprised if this is where he picked up his second loss. He's expected to fight this summer after receiving a medical exception in March that allowed him to postpone his title defense.
It's likely that DeGale is holding onto his dream of unifying the IBF and WBC belts before he does in fact retire. However, given how he performed against Jack, he's more likely to end up on the mat than with a new belt. We'll have to wait and see, but James will definitely have to put in one of the best fights of his life if he hopes to take down Smith.