Across the pond at the 02 Arena in the United Kingdom, James DeGale (25-2-1, 15 KOs) and Chris Eubank Jr. (27-2, 21 KOs) square off in a contest that has been in the making for several years now.
On the line will be the vacant IBO Super Middleweight championship. This contest goes much beyond the irrelevant IBO title. Something more important will be decided when these two face off and that will be both bragging rights and pride.
The winner of this contest is set up for future title shots and big money pay days in the very near future while the loser will be relegated to an unknown future with very little options. Both men can’t afford to lose this contest.
The match should be a closely contested one with both men bringing very different skill sets to the table.
TALE OF THE TAPE
The measurable’s for both men are very similar. DeGale comes in with a one inch height advantage and a two inch advantage in terms of reach. DeGale stands at six feet tall and has a 74 inch reach advantage while Eubank Jr. stands at five foot eleven and he possesses as 72 inch reach.
The differences for both men begin as we dive deeper. Eubank Jr. has the clear edge in terms of power. He has knocked out 72 percent of his opponents while DeGale has only stopped 54 percent of his opposition.
That stat can be a little misleading as DeGale has not only fought the better opposition but he has also defeated the majority of them as well.
There is nothing better than a good ole fashion grudge match between two fighters who flat out don’t like each other. With both men coming from the United Kingdom it seemed as though it was inevitable that these two would be matched up with one another. However at one point it seemed as though contest would never come to fruition as their careers began to go in completely different directions.
For DeGale he won the IBF Super Middleweight title in 2015 against Andre Dirrell and would take on a murderous row of competition. Defeating Lucian Bute, Rogelio Medina and drawing against Badou Jack. DeGale’s rank amongst the best in boxing continued to rise. Even as he lost his title to Caleb Truax in a massive upset DeGale returned the favor and easily defeated Truax in the rematch.
Eubank Jr. on the other hand was having a hard time competing at the elite level. He looked sensational when he took on lower competition. However when he stepped up his level of opposition he lost convincingly. Eubank Jr.’s father has even expressed a bit of doubt in terms of if he truly believes his son will be able to upend the former champion.
A third loss will all but seal the fate of Eubank Jr. as a fighter that just cannot compete with the very best. DeGale on the other hand has a lot to prove in this contest. Was his loss to Truax just a blimp on the radar or was it a sign that his best days are behind him?
STRENGTHS FOR EACH FIGHTER
The former Super Middleweight champion is a skillful boxer and has the clear edge in that department. His ability to use his jab to keep his opponents off balance along with his awkward style can be tricky for opponents to figure out.
DeGale also holds a decided advantage in terms of level of opposition. It’s not that Eubank Jr. has faced bad competition because that just isn’t true.
The problem is that he hasn’t beaten any fighter of note. DeGale on the other hand has been competing at an elite level for a number of years now.
If DeGale is focused will be able to box circles around not just Eubank Jr. but almost any Super Middleweight in the world.
Chris Eubank Jr.
Eubank Jr is a very physical fighter. He loves to bully his opponents and go for the early stoppage. Once he has his man hurt make no mistake about it he is going for the kill.
He also has himself quite the chin as he has never been knocked out or down in his entire career. Forget about hitting the canvas, Eubank Jr. has never even seemed to be hurt at any point in his career. DeGale isn’t known for being the biggest puncher so Eubank Jr. will have no fear of the shots that will be coming in his direction.
WEAKNESSES FOR EACH FIGHTER
The biggest issue that has plagued DeGale is his gas tank. He seems to always start fast but as the contest goes on his body fails him. In his match against Badou Jack, DeGale was winning comfortably until the second half of the contest where he began to fatigue. There has been numerous fights where DeGale has struggled with his fitness.
If he brings that issue into the contest with Eubank Jr. then he will have a major problem on his hands. Eubank Jr. has a seemingly endless gas tank as he seems to never get tired.
The game plan for DeGale will be to simply out box his opponent but will he be able to do this for 12 rounds? If he is fit and focused he should be able to. If not it will be a long night.
Chris Eubank Jr.
Boxing is the name of the game and Eubank Jr.’s ability in that department is sorely lacking. He is tough and rugged but his flat out boxing ability needs work. He swings for the fences and fails to throw many jabs in any contest.
Another problem for Eubank Jr. is his lack of power. Sure he has 21 knockouts in his 29 fights but the majority of them came at Middleweight.
He has only been campaigning at Super Middleweight for just over two years. DeGale on the other hand has been fighting there for his entire career.
THE WINNER AND WHY
Many are calling this contest a 50/50 fight, however James DeGale holds so many advantages over his opponent. Not only is he a former world champion but he is also an Olympic gold medalist. He is getting a bit up there in age as he is 33 years old.
Let’s also not forget about the wars that he has been in. That punishment can accumulate and eventually put a fighter down. We have already seen all of those rough years catch up to DeGale as he does seem a step slower. However this contest against Eubank Jr. is one that he undoubtedly will be up for.
DeGale doesn’t have much time left at the elite level but dont expect him to lose this matchup. Eubank Jr. will try to walk his man down and force him to fight in front of him, however DeGale is much to slick to fall in to that type of contest.
Expect DeGale to walk away with a close but clear decision victory. He is just the better all around fighter and expect him to prove that against his rival.