SAN DIEGO, January 14, 2017 – When boxing fans are treated to an action-packed fight between two worthy champions, it’s hard to see either of them lose. Thanks to the judges at the Barclay Center in Brooklyn, we were spared a loss by either British boxing hopes IBF super middleweight champion James DeGale (23-1-1, 14 KOs) or WBC super middleweight champion Badou Jack (21-1-2, 12 KOs) as they battled back and forth over 12 rounds only to end in a majority draw.
Judges Glen Feldman had it 114-112 for DeGale; Julie Lederman and Steve Weisfeld had it 113-113.
DeGale came roaring out at the opening bell, and it didn’t take long for “Chunky” to make the first of many statements in this bout, setting Jack down on the canvas with a straight left near the end of the round. Jack popped right back to his feet, but the momentum was in DeGale’s favor.
Jack settled down as DeGale was unable to stop him early, and the pair began to trade their best punches. For several rounds the judges disagreed on who prevailed on the scorecards, with DeGale having a slight edge. The fifth round went to Jack, the sixth to DeGale. The judges diverged against in the seventh and eighth round. It was that kind of a fight.
The momentum began turning Jack’s way in the eighth round. He hit DeGale flush to the mouth, which caused him to lose a front tooth and his mouthpiece came out for a significant stretch of the round. In the ninth round, DeGale purposely spit out the mouthpiece, possibly due to a poor fit because of the lost tooth and because it was affecting his breathing. Referee Arthur Mercante warned DeGale he would lose a point if he did it again.
The judges split again over the ninth round, but gave the last three rounds to Jack, including the 12th and final round by a 10-8 score when Jack put DeGale on the canvas for the first time in his professional career. DeGale got to his feet with just under two minutes left in the round. At first he tried to engage, but he thought the better of the situation with the clock ticking down and he held and stayed cautious to end the fight on his feet. The knockdown in the final round saved Jack from a loss; the additional point difference in a 10-8 round made the fight a draw on two scorecards. DeGale won on the third judges’ card either way.
With a knockdown apiece, and with terrific moments on both sides of the slate, a majority draw wasn’t a robbery for either man. Both Jack and DeGale said they felt they’d won after the fight. DeGale was eager to set up a rematch. Before he left the ring to head to a local hospital for treatment, DeGale had his say.
“I’ve got huge respect for this man. He showed he’s tough, he’s durable,” said DeGale of Jack. “I won the fight, I threw the cleaner shots. He said he was going to outbox me, but I moved my feet and took his head off. But listen, let’s do it again, let’s do it again.”
Jack responded, “Let’s do it again at light heavyweight.” DeGale said, “I’m going to take over anyway. Come to London next, I’ll pay you. See Eddie (Hearn, DeGale’s promoter) over there, he’ll pay you.”
With the post-fight news conference to himself, a disappointed Badou and his promoter Floyd Mayweather had plenty to say. He made it clear he wasn’t interested in a rematch. “What can I say? This is the second time in a row this **** happened. I don’t know why … I just want to be treated fair. Look at his face. I knocked his tooth out… and almost the referee. That’s why you can’t leave it in the judges’ hands, you got to knock them out.
“Once again, everybody says the same thing. You beat (Lucien) Bute’s ass and you beat this guy, but where’s my two belts?”
Jack said DeGale isn’t strong enough to move up to light heavyweight. “I already proved I won the fight, why would I do that? Give me the best guys. If I win, I win, if I lose, I lose. I want the big money fight.” That might be a matchup with current lineal light heavyweight champion Adonis Stevenson. Jack said he’s ready to fight him.”
Floyd Mayweather said he’s reluctant to bring his fighters to the East Coast due to the judging. “James DeGale is a hell of a fighter, but tonight he didn’t win. I respect him as a fighter, but Badou Jack was the better man tonight.
“This is the second time this has happened. It’s all about being fair. At the end of the day, a lot of times, I don’t know what the judges be looking at. When I fought Oscar De La Hoya, one of the judges had him up by decision. When I fought, Canelo, one of the judges had him up on the scorecard. This is bad for boxing.”
The plan for DeGale if he won was to face unbeaten Callum Smith in an all-British showdown. It’s unclear whether this is still in the cards.
Gayle Lynn Falkenthal, APR, is President/Owner of the Falcon Valley Group in San Diego, California. She is also a serious boxing fan covering the Sweet Science for Communities. Read more Ringside Seat in Communities Digital News. Follow Gayle on Facebook and on Twitter @PRProSanDiego. Gayle can be reached via Google +
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