James DeGale’s Date With Destiny


James DeGale – looks to become Britain’s first gold medalist world champion. Photo courtesy: Matchroom Boxing/Lawrence Lustig.

James DeGale is an exceptional talent – of that there is little doubt. He stands squarely at the threshold of a unique form of pugilistic greatness when he enters the ring against Andre Dirrell on Saturday 23 May 2015 – a place in a club that thus far no Briton has yet joined is his for the taking. Current members of this elite strata of men include Muhammad Ali; Sugar Ray Leonard; Oscar De La Hoya; Frankie Genaro; Yuriorkis Gamboa; Guillermo Rigondeaux; Joel Casamayor; Kennedy McKinney; Pernell Whitaker; Vasyl Lomachenko; Mark Breland; Floyd Patterson; Michael Spinks; Leon Spinks; Andre Ward; Joe Frazier; George Foreman; Ray Mercer; Lennox Lewis*; Wladimir Klitschko; Aleksandr Povetkin; Meldrick Taylor; Frank Tate & David Reid. Each holds the distinction of winning both an Olympic gold medal & a world title as a professional.

DeGale, we should remember, has lost one of his 21 fights and will have to go on the road to win a world title after his promoter, Eddie Hearn, was about $1 million short during the purse bids to win the right to stage the fight. DeGale was only the second British gold medal winner in 40 years and yet, here we are, seven years later, with him fighting for a world title in front of a few thousand people in Boston. He is, by the way, making about $1m for his troubles.Steve Bunce

Bunce neglects to add that the fight will be aired on US Network television on NBC & is likely to attract anywhere between 1.8 & 4.25 million American viewers. He is also factually incorrect in his ascertain that DeGale is making $1 million for this bout – he is in fact making $1,550,000.00 which is a fairly simple calculation at 50% of the successful purse bid by Warriors Boxing of $3,100,000.00. The loss which the Box Nation employee speaks of is of course the widely decried & ridiculed robbery against George Groves in 2011 when most ringside observers (especially the ones not engaging in flagrant racial abuse of the Olympic gold medalist & Member of the British Empire by order of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II) had DeGale ahead by three to five points on the cards.

Such frankly biased, small minded mutterings are not those of a genuine fan of the sport nor of a fighter Britons can be proud to call their own – one, who, with or without immature & nonsensical paid criticisms is standing on the threshold of an historic first for a British fighter. Perhaps Bunce would prefer DeGale to take a shot at ring immortality on the least watched channel in the United Kingdom (as per the Broadcaster’s Audience Research Board) instead.

I’ve had a tough couple of years but I’ve switched promoters to Matchroom and in Gonzales and Periban I’ve beaten some serious guys. Perhaps I didn’t get the credit I deserved in some quarters for beating Gonzales – some people thought I stole the show at Wembley – but there is no doubt my last couple of performances have made people sit up and say: ‘This flashy Londoner – he can fight’. And if I win that world title, I’m willing to fight anyone. I’m in boxing for big fights, big names and big money.James DeGale

*Lennox Lewis won his Gold Medal for Canada.