If everything goes as planned, IBF super middleweight champion James “Chunky” DeGale (23-1, 14 KOs) will have the best year of his eight-year pro career in 2017 if he can beat WBC champion Badou Jack (20-1-2, 12 KOs) in their unification fight on January 14, and then beat #1 WBC challenger Callum Smith (22-0, 17 KOs) and finally defeat George Groves (25-3, 18 KOs) in a rematch to avenge his only loss of his career to him in May 2011.
Those are three very hard fights for the 30-year-old DeGale. If he can win them all, he would take his career to the next level. DeGale could then look to get fights against Julio Cesar Chavez Jr., Saul Canelo Alvarez and Gennady “GGG” Golovkin. Those are where the money comes in for DeGale if he can get one or all of those guys to face him. The regular contenders in the division aren’t popular enough for DeGale to make a lot of money fighting them.
DeGale said this to skysports.com about his unification fight against Jack:
“He got confidence from knocking out Mohoumadi, someone I boxed five years ago when I won my European title. It’s crazy, madness,” said DeGale. “It is possibly a massive year for me. It should be a perfect year. Me against Jack, Callum Smith and Groves. Imagine that!”
Callum Smith will be a very difficult fight for DeGale if he gets that far. There’s a mismatch in power against Smith. DeGale will need to use his feet, boxing skills and his speed to try and overcome all the advantages that Smith will have against him. DeGale shouldn’t look too far ahead though, because he still needs to beat Jack in their unification fight on Jan.14, and it’s not a sure thing that he’s going to win that fight. The oddmakers see Badou vs. DeGale as an even fight.