Badou Jack, James DeGale prevail in DC Saturday, will meet in unification fight

Two decisions at the DC Armory left many fans and two fighters dissatisfied with the results. They should have followed the lead of the fighters in Carson, California.

Badou Jack (left) won a decision over Lucien Bute, allowing Jack to advance to the tournament final. Photo: Esther Lin, Showtime Sports
Badou Jack (left) won a decision over Lucien Bute, allowing Jack to advance to Saturday's bout against James DeGale. Photo: Esther Lin, Showtime Sports

SAN DIEGO, April 30, 2016 – Badou Jack and James DeGale are bound for a unification fight after Jack kept his WBC Super Middleweight belt by the skin of his teeth in a controversial draw against Lucian Bute, while IBF title holder DeGale managed a decision against rugged Rogelio Medina in the opening bout of a super middleweight doubleheader tournament at the DC Armory.

Were the scorecards preordained, given everyone wanted to see the current titleholders DeGale and Jack square off in the tournament final? Especially in DeGale’s case, he seemed to get a gift which enabled him to move forward.

James DeGale (left) escaped with a draw against a determined Rogelio Medina Saturday. Photo: Esther LIn, Showtime Sports
James DeGale (left) escaped against a determined Rogelio Medina Saturday. Photo: Esther LIn, Showtime Sports

Medina threw double the number of punches DeGale did, 1,140 total punches to 612 punches for DeGale. He punished DeGale against the ropes, going to the body and hitting DeGale with one of the best punches in boxing, the left hook to the liver. DeGale was more accurate, landing 51 percent of his power punches, compared to 23 percent for Medina. His best punch of the night was a right upper cut that rocked Medina. DeGale’s problem was the lack of any jab to keep Medina from pressing his attack.

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“If I’m being honest, he’s a very strong fighter, but skills pay the bills,” said DeGale. “I watched this guy years ago and he didn’t have the engine like that. He’s gotten better and stronger in the last year and a half. I’m a bit disappointed – I should be taking out people like Porky Medina, no disrespect to him.”

After tough losses against seven fighters who have all of two losses among them, Medina was far more disappointed. Medina gave the best effort of his career. It still wasn’t enough to take away DeGale’s title.

“He said he was going to stop me. He was running all around and he didn’t stop me like he said he would,” said Medina. “He’s the only one who thinks he won. The fans think I won. I definitely want the rematch.”

Badou Jack worked to the body of Lucien Bute with efficiency Saturday. Photo: Esther LIn, Showtime Sports
Badou Jack worked to the body of Lucien Bute with efficiency Saturday. Photo: Esther LIn, Showtime Sports

In the second bout of the night, Jack concentrated on working the body of his southpaw opponent. and smothering any attempt by the Romania-born Canadian Bute when he tried to come inside on Jack. Jack slowed down significantly in the later rounds of the fight. Bute showed impressive conditioning at age 36, closing the fight with a strong performance in rounds 10, 11, and 12.  But it was the same mistake in his fight against DeGale, starting to step on the gas just a little too late to catch up once again by Bute, who at least managed a draw in this effort against Jack.

“It was a close fight,” said Bute. “Believe me, it was very close fight. My last fight with DeGale was very close, tonight was a very close fight. I showed everyone I’m still at the top.”

Jack didn’t see it as a close fight. He felt he won outright, without question. “Bullsh-t, but is what it is. Ask Bute as well, he knows what time it is,” said Jack. “His punches weren’t hurting me. I feel I won the fight. Maybe I lost the last round. He’s a great guy and a great champion, but I know I won the fight. It’s not Bute’s fault, it’s the judges. People saw I won the fight.’

Jack and DeGale will now meet at a date to be determined, putting both their belts on the line in a super middleweight unification fight. “Let’s unify the decision and see who the best is,” DeGale told Showtime’s Jim Gray after the bout. Jack said, “I’m ready in September, ready in August. I’m ready whenever. Let’s do it where it makes the most sense financially.

“I’m always learning in the gym. My inside work, my defense, my concentration. I’m going to go back to the gym, I’m going to work and I’ll be ready in September. I want Badou Jack. I want a fresh name on my record.”

For the two losing fighters and the fans who were dissatisfied with what they saw as questionable results from the judges, it’s a shame they didn’t follow the example from earlier Saturday evening to the west at the StubHub Center in Carson, California, where 10 of 11 bouts ended in knockouts.

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.

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