Saurday’s super-middleweight unification bout between James DeGale and Badou Jack in New York ended in a majority draw (two judges scoring 113-113 even, one judge 114-112 for Degale) meaning both men retained their 168lb titles at the Barclays Center.
Badou Jack promoter Floyd Mayweather Jr. was furious. The unbeaten former five-weight world champion stormed the ring to protest after he felt his charge was given a raw deal by the official scoring, that saw both fighter’s arms raised by virtue of a majority draw at the Barclays Center in New York.
Jack and James DeGale had traded knockdowns, with the former rallying in the later rounds to cancel out an impressive start by the Englishman. Opinion at ringside and online was split, but only the opinions of Glen Feldman (114-112 DeGale), Julie Lederman and Steve Weisfeld (both a 113-113 draw) ultimately matter. A rematch could materialise with both fighters expressing their interest after the bout, though the suggestion from Jack’s team is that he now struggles to make 168lbs and could instead look to a future at light heavyweight.
Renowned as an explosive starter, DeGale may rue the fact that he didn’t put Jack away after dropping the Swedish-born fighter in the opening round, or that having subsequently built up a lead on the scorecards he didn’t do enough to get the decision. On the other hand, when he was then floored in the final round by an uppercut that had him badly hurt, he may be counting his blessings that – with almost two minutes remaining – he even survived until the final bell.
All things told, a draw was probably a fair assessment. Statistically however, Jack out-threw and out-landed DeGale, connecting with 231 of his 745 punches (31%) compared to the Londoner’s 172 of 617 (27.9%).
It was certainly a fight that captivated and it had a bit of everything; both fighters hitting the canvas, a fast start, a comeback, debatable scoring. DeGale lost a tooth after it fell out with his mouthpiece during the ninth round and at one point Jack even landed a punch on the referee, as he inadvertently clocked Arthur Mercante Jr at the end of the fifth round when the official leaned in to call for the break. Mercante’s knees buckled but he showed decent punch resistance to stay on his feet.
A rematch would certainly be welcomed then, even if at a catchweight, but after Jack’s admission that he’d be happy to do it again it wasn’t a prospect that his promoter seemed particularly keen on embracing, jumping in to intercept the mic during the post-fight interviews in the ring:
“James DeGale is a helluva fighter, but tonight he didn’t win,” Mayweather said. “Badou Jack was the better man tonight.”
“I’m the promoter. This is my fighter. It’s all about being fair. At the end of the day, this is really bad for boxing.”