Boxing Report DeGale V Jack 16/01/17
The super middleweight unification fight between Britain’s James DeGale and Nevada based Swede Badou Jack ended in a draw in an excellent fight amid major controversy and excitement.
The 12 round bout was to unite DeGale’s IBF belt with his Stockholm born opponents WBC title but after the judges scorecards were read out a verdict of majority draw was given meaning in layman’s terms that as two judges had their fight scorecards even on DeGale 113 Jack 113 then each fighter gets to keep his own belt and title. The third judge had given the fight to DeGale by 114 to 112 and if only DeGale hadn’t been floored in the final round he would have won on all three cards.
In truth a draw was the best outcome simply because neither fighter deserved to lose in a gripping encounter that already has the hallmarks of ‘Fight Of The Year’.
DeGale the Harlesden based St. Albans boxer came into the fight with a record of 23 wins and a single loss, 14 of those victories were via knock out. Badou Jack’s record was equaling appealing with a record of 20 victories, a defeat and two draws and with this much hyped fight taking place in the famous Barclay Centre in Brooklyn, New York it was a winner take all proposition.
Both fighters stood facing each other in the ring for a few seconds as the bell rang for round one and it seemed to be a slow start with little action in the first minute and a half before sensationally DeGale caught Jack with a deft punch while Jack was off balance and down Jack went. Although up on his feet it was a shock for Jack as he hit the canvas for only the third time in his career. Off balance or not off balance it still counted as a knock down. On the referee’s restart the two fighters with Jack more embarrassed than hurt traded body blows for the rest of the round. DeGale’s round.
Round 2 was much more even with DeGale shading it as Jack recovered from the previous rounds knockdown. Some good trades between the two Europeans. At this early stage DeGale’s movement was excellent changing angles frequently and the positioning of his feet was all important to deter Jack from any openings.
The third round saw plenty of combinations from DeGale although incredibly fast they were mainly hitting the arms of Badou Jack. Meanwhile Jack replied with a couple of decent uppercuts as both boxers upped the tempo. It was already turning into a decent fight but it would get better. Round went to Jack.
Round 4 saw Badou Jack really coming into his own rallied by a vociferous crowd in Brooklyn. Lightning hand speed from both at one stage but Jack was really stating to turn the tide and although fairly even yet again with some wonderful boxing DeGale just about won this round.
Solid combination punching from both parties again into the fifth with DeGale edging it. Best moment was the end of the round when as the bell rang the referee stepped in to halt the fighting and Jack accidentally caught the ref with a full punch to the chin. He was Ok though.
DeGale switched from Southpaw to orthodox to Southpaw again but it was all Jack for the most part although towards the end of the round some great trading. Fantastic boxing and Jack won this round but not the seventh where DeGale was using long range jabs and some uppercuts.
The eighth was a different matter entirely as Jack took full control with some monstrous punches including a straight right that could have knocked the stars out of the sky.
DeGale’s mouthpiece came out for the first of four occasions as both fighters had moments of success with DeGale shading the ninth round by a whisker. Whilst the tenth was stunning and fairly even as again both fighters gave everything. A wonderful right from DeGale but Jack replied well in the tenth as these two honest pros were hitting seven bells out of each other, Jack shaded the round. DeGale was looking the more tired of the two by now with bruising and a problem with the lip.
In the eleventh this topsy turvy clash swung back in DeGales’s favour as he gave everything to try to knock out his opponent but all to no avail. DeGale lost a tooth and the two were exchanging punches blow by blow in a fabulous fight.
The final round did not let us down either as this violent but skilled fight reached a crescendo. DeGale had given his all but there was little left in the tank. A ferocious right from Jack knocked the British champ down but DeGale rises following a count of 8 and hangs on to Jack literally for the final minute and a half between interludes of jabs and uppercut exchanges. Absolutely fantastic bums off seats boxing. Beautiful and brutal. As one onlooker said ringside ‘That Was A War!’
Following the final bell a couple of minutes later the majority draw was revealed with both fighters thinking they had won it. It may have been beautiful and brutal but what a great night for boxing. Bring on the rematch.
”Main Photo: Jeff Feverston/Shutterstock”
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