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Boxing Breakdown: James DeGale vs. Badou Jack fight preview and prediction

Check out our full preview for the first big boxing event of 2017 as James DeGale faces Badou Jack on Showtime.

Showtime Championship Boxing Washington DC Landmark Shoot

This Saturday, Showtime kicks off 2017 with a good match, as James DeGale (23-1; 14 KO) meets Badou Jack (20-1-2; 12 KO). This Super Middleweight (168 lb.) fight will unify DeGale’s IBF title and Jack’s WBC belt. Ring Magazine has DeGale ranked at #1 in the division and Jack at #2, so this will also crown a new Ring Super MW champ. Showtime Championship Boxing Jack vs. DeGale airs live this Saturday, January 14 on Showtime with a fight time of 9:30 p.m. ET. Also included on the broadcast is Jose Pedraza vs. Gervonta Davis.

How do these two stack up?

DeGale: 30 years old | 6’0" | 74" reach | southpaw stance
Jack: 33 years old | 6’1" | 73" reach | orthodox stance

What have these two done recently?

DeGale: W - Rogelio Medina (UD) | W - Lucian Bute (UD) | W - Andre Dirrell (UD)
Jack: D - Lucian Bute (MD) | W - George Groves (SD) | W - Anthony Dirrell (MD)

How did these two get here?

James DeGale is a 2008 Olympic gold medalist, who has successfully translated that amateur experience into a strong pro career. He had an early career setback against George Groves in just his 11th fight, but has been undefeated ever since. Like Jack, he has been in there against mostly good opposition lately, and comes in off a win over Mexico’s Rogelio Medina. DeGale is clearly a fighter capable of greatness, but he has at times struggled with consistency.

Badou Jack first came onto the scene as a much hyped Team Mayweather prospect. During that hype period, he suffered a huge upset KO loss on ShoBox. He’s recovered nicely since that 2014 setback, going 4-0-1 since against mostly strong opposition. But he’s always struggled to really excel, with his last three fights all being very close contests. Those all came against talented opponents, so you could tout his wins, or point to his struggle to achieve those wins. All of this adds up to make getting a read on the real Jack and not the hyped Jack always a little tough.

What can fans expect?

This is a very weird fight because it’s the #1 vs. #2 (and those rankings are justified), but it’s also two fighters who both have clear shortcomings. It’s not hard to make a case for either one losing. With DeGale, it’s the inconsistencies, highlighted by the pretty lackluster performance last time out. With Jack, it’s the overall “solid” but never “special” aspect of his game. We know what to expect from Jack, and I do think his solid, steady performances can beat an off his game DeGale, who certainly has the potential to show up. But I’m expecting DeGale to be ready for this one and to turn in one of those showings that makes you think he truly is a special fighter - even if it only lasts one fight.
Prediction: DeGale, UD

Who should watch?

Fans who truly want to see who is the best in a division. We don’t get those kinds of fights as often as we should in boxing, so savor the opportunity.

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