After fighting James DeGale (23-1-1, 14 KOs) in what could easily be remembered in the future as a classic battle of skill and will that confluenced into knockdowns, lost teeth and momentum shifts galore, Badou Jack (20-1-3, 12 KOs) faces a variety of options going forward in his career–all of them likely being steps up in both competition and popularity.
Jack’s promoter Floyd Mayweather Jr. may have felt the majority draw scorecard was bad for boxing, but the twittersphere and blogosphere seems to have different opinions.
Most, it would appear, saw the fight either slightly in favor of one man or as a dead draw. The draw outcome appears to make the most sense. Both men were knocked down, and DeGale controlled the whole first half of the bout while Jack came on incredibly strong in the latter half.
Given the fan-accepted draw, some might assume an immediate rematch is at hand, but as for now Mayweather and Jack have other plans.
When the cards were read, Jack said he’d fight DeGale again but seemed to stick to the idea that any rematch would have to be at a higher weight, citing his trouble making the 168-pound Super Middleweight limit.
This all begs the question: if Jack is committed to moving up to 175, with or without DeGale, how would he fare?
The answer as of right now? Probably not so well.
Jack, while a solid technical boxer who can really sit down on his punches if given the opportunity, would be expected to face some killers and virtuosos if he were to move up to 175.
Fights with Sergey Kovalev, Artur Beterbiev, Adonis Stevenson and Andre Ward wouldn’t be out of the realm of possibility for late 2017 or 2018 if he made that jump. In this scribe’s humble opinion, Jack likely gets iced by the likes of Kovalev and Beterbiev, outclassed by Ward and is given a handful even with the aging Stevenson.
Jack gave a competitive, tough fight to DeGale who was the betting favorite coming into the night, and deserves all the respect in the world for putting on a great show, but if there’s any possibility for him to stay at 168, he should.
A fight against another 168 brawling technician Gilberto Ramirez could make for more fireworks–huge fights across the pond against the likes of Callum Smith or even the DeGale rematch in London could all be massive moneymakers and star-power fights for Jack.
The Swede’s bravery in wanting the best there is in the 175-division is admirable, but he could stretch himself too thin. The 168 division was lit aflame once more last night–and Jack could be a part of the wildfire.
All photos by Marilyn Paulino/RBRBoxing