Sunday, November 29, 2015

James Degale Retains IBF Title With a Hard Fought Win Over Bute

Photo: BBC Sports

By Peter Silkov

James Degale (22-1, 14koes) beat Lucian Bute (32-3, 25koes) last night at the Videotron Centre in Quebec City, after a hard fought contest, which saw the British fighter stretched to his limits.  Bute had been considered by many to be a spent force since his destruction at the hands of Carl Froch a few years back, yet against Degale, he produced a performance that showed that he is far from washed up as a fighter.  After a slightly tentative start, it was Bute who forced the action for much of the contest, often driving Degale into the ropes and landing with both hands. Degale started brightly and aggressively. He and seemed to be looking for the early knockout that he had predicted. By the middle rounds, (Degale had predicted a 5th round knockout) it was Bute who was coming on strong, while Degale fell into his old habit of easing off the gas, and going on the back-foot.

The second half of the fight found Bute pressing and attacking, while Degale was looking to counter. While the quality of Degale’s boxing was world class at times, his lack of work rate and constant retreating often made him appear far too negative in comparison to Bute.  Cheered on throughout by a very vociferous Quebec crowd, it seemed in the later rounds that Bute had done enough to wrest the title from Degale.  In the end, however, Degale retained his title with scores of 116-112, 117-111, and 117-111.  If Bute had not done quite enough to regain the world title he had certainly done enough to make the fight very close, and the judges scoring certainly did not reflect the fight that this writer watched.  The Boxing Glove scored the fight 115-112 for Bute.

Degale now is looking towards a possible unification fight with WBC world super-middleweight champion Badou Jack.  There are also possible fights with Gennady Golovkin if he decides to move up and Andre Ward, should he finally decide that he is still a super-middleweight, rather than a light-heavyweight.  Add to this the rumours of a comeback by former champion Carl Froch, and Degale has some lucrative opportunities ahead of him.  Whether he would be able to emerge victorious against any of the aforementioned fighters, by boxing in the manner that he did against Bute last night,  is another thing entirely.

Watch the final post-fight press conference:

 Watch the fight:

Copyright © 2015 The Boxing Glove, Inc. Peter Silkov Art. All Rights Reserved. Peter Silkov contributes to

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