By Steven Donnell

Asylum writer Steven is looking forward to the big unification clash next weekend

Well folks it’s nearly time to kick off a great start to 2017 with a mouthwatering unification fight between IBF super-middleweight champion James DeGale and WBC champion Badou Jack, in Brooklyn.

For me, James DeGale is the most underrated boxer in the UK today. Not only  did DeGale pick up his IBF title up on the road against Andre Dirrell but this will also be his third time defending it away from home, following tough tests against Lucian Bute and ‘Porky’ Medina. On his day, DeGale is brilliant to watch. There are few that can switch from southpaw to orthodox as naturally as he can and these switches open up angles for DeGale to land his lightening quick combinations, and, when it comes off, it really is a joy to watch. DeGale lacks power but after sending Dirrell to the canvas twice, he did prove that his timing can make up for that. However, on DeGale’s last outing against Medina he had a howler for his high standards. Medina’s high volume punching and constant pressure seemed to throw DeGale, resulting in him eating some big shots and spending most of the night fighting off the ropes, as well as long periods covering and tying up. Although his skills got him the victory on the cards, it was far too close for comfort.

Press Conference: The pair faced off in a recent presser

Badou Jack has a totally different style to DeGale. Jack is really one of those guys with limited ability but what he can do, he does very well. When Jack fought Groves, he bossed Groves from start to finish also sending Groves to the canvas in a stand out performance from the Swede. His judgement of distance really was superb in that fight; he completely nullified Groves’ attacks before he could get inside (to expose what I suspect is his Achilles heel). It really was a great performance against a George Groves that had given James DeGale his only loss to date. In Jack’s last fight against Lucian Bute, he was dragged into a fight that I didn’t think he had in him. Bute came for a war (as he did with DeGale) but in fairness to Jack, he stood up and a showed heart and grit that I’ve never seen from him before in a very entertaining  fight that finished a fair draw .

Prediction

For this fight I just can’t see past James DeGale

I have a feeling Jack might just be tailor-made for him. I think the way DeGale works his way inside will see him take this fight on the cards if not by a late stoppage. DeGale does have flaws that Jack has to exploit and Jack can’t let DeGale dictate the pace at which he fights. One big criticism of DeGale is he takes too much time off during the fight and as Medina showed, he can be got-at and put off his stride. This should be a good, intriguing fight.

Follow Steven on Twitter @Dinobhoy86   @DJayboxingblog

Steven also ran the rule over Joseph Parker in his fight with Andy Ruiz Jnr in a recent piece.

Image Credit: Boxingsphere (via YouTube)