SAN DIEGO, April 29, 2016 – British boxing is enjoying a major renaissance with 11 current British champions. IBF super middleweight champion James DeGale (22-1, 14 KOs) is one of the men making it happen. DeGale will bring his action packed style to the DC Armory Saturday night against Mexican challenger Rogelio Medina (35-6, 29 KOs) in his second title defense.
DeGale won a unanimous decision over Romanian born Canadian challenger Lucian Bute (32-3, 25 KOs) last November. Bute won a lot of respect in his effort against DeGale to make himself a legitimate player in the division. He will get the opportunity for a rematch with a win in the co-main event against Swedish born super middleweight Badou Jack (20-1-1, 12 KOs). Both fights will air on Showtime starting at 10 p.m. ET/7 p.m. PT. Jack puts his WBC title on the line in the fight.
Jack, perhaps the best boxer currently in the Mayweather Promotions stable, comes off a strong year after defeating Anthony Dirrell and showing up Britain’s George Groves on the Mayweather vs. Berto undercard.
Boxing fans who know what these four athletes bring to the fight are salivating over the three fight tournament. All fighters involved are aggressive, with plenty of boxing skills to go with their punching power. All came in to Friday’s weigh-in in good condition, all making the 168-pound limit with a bit to spare. Don’t let Medina’s losses fool you, they were all to quality opposition including Badou Jack with only one loss among all six. In late 2014, Medina beat one of Jack’s Money Team stablemates, J’Leon Love. He is the mandatory IBF challenger for DeGale.
An amusing side note: DeGale’s nickname is “Chunky.” Medina’s nickname is “Porky.” Yes, it’s a fight between Chunky and Porky. You know this one was meant to happen. DeGale got the nickname as a 10-year-old at his first gym, and like many childhood nicknames it stuck. We have no idea where Medina got his similar nickname, but it wouldn’t be a surprise if the origin was similar to DeGale.
DeGale has recently referred to himself by a new nickname, “The Road Warrior,” and it’s a fitting change. DeGale, a 2008 Olympic gold medalist, is the first British boxer to win both Olympic gold and a world title, which is hard to believe. The 30 year old is a big star at home, but he’d like to extend his fame beyond Britain’s borders. Fighting in the United States gives DeGale an opportunity to build his American fan base and get the big money fights under the bright lights in big venues such as Las Vegas.
DeGale can’t throw caution to the wind against Medina, but his skills should allow him to prevail in a fight that should be fun to watch.
DeGale and Jack are the class of the field, and some critics would have preferred to dispense with these “preliminary” fights to get DeGale and Jack in the ring. It speaks well for Bute that he is also considered a fan draw. The 35-year-old former super middleweight champion from 2007-2012 seems to have found new energy and enthusiasm for boxing. He knows the clock is ticking and if he is going to win back a championship belt, he’s got very few chances left.
Jack is four years younger than Bute but far less experienced against lesser opposition. His victory over Groves was a surprise. He’s also under pressure to prove it wasn’t a fluke. Bute says DeGale is the tougher opponent, and Jack will not pose as much as a challenge to him. Bute is a southpaw, and Jack has only faced one other southpaw in his career.
Bute and Jack are in a true 50-50 contest between two hungry competitors. One wants to prove he’s the real thing. The other want to prove he’s still got it. This is the formula for fan friendly boxing entertainment. If the same Bute shows up who fought DeGale, and he gets off to a faster start, he should defeat Jack by decision and set up the rematch everyone would love to see.
Either way, the fans don’t lose, because DeGale vs. Jack would be a superb match. And if Medina scores a serious upset, he’ll get the chance for his own rematch and revenge.
Ringside Seat loves the tournament approach to boxing. This DC double is the first quality tournament since the Super Six in 2011 which made Andre Ward a star.* Any of the four men participating in this tournament would be elated if they achieved anything close to the same outcome. *“Boxcino” doesn’t count.
James DeGale versus Rogelio Medina and Badou Jack vs. Lucien Bute airs live on Showtime at 10 p.m. ET/7 p.m. PT.
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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