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DeGale silences doubters
Supreme display from former Olympic champion
Posted Dec 16, 2010 by Jeff Dawson
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I’ve had my doubts over the quality of James DeGale. I’ve wondered whether he is all hot air or if he is really as good as he believes he is. And having seen him dismantle Liverpudlian Paul Smith and win the British super-middleweight crown in front of 11,000 Scousers with a supreme performance, I think he has answered the questions being posed.
The Olympic champion was as confident as he always is before this fight and many, including myself, felt this would be where he met his match. Thrown into the bear-pit, in a hostile environment, DeGale wasn’t meant to be able to survive, he was meant to wilt under the immense pressure of the crowd and Smith and that was meant to be that.
But, and all those millions who watched either on the TV or in the crowd, saw something special on Saturday night and we saw the birth of possibly one of the greatest British boxers of all-time.
Elaborate statement perhaps, but in my eyes, well worthy. It was a performance of great skill and something that he had been threatening from the moment he turned professional. His ninth round stoppage of Smith was a sensational result.
DeGale was quick, slick and powerful. He was smart and boxed brilliantly. He was a worthy winner of the British title and now it’s just a question of how far he can go.
It all boils down to him. He has the ability to mix it with the best in his weight division and he has the talent to clean up and unify all the super-middleweight belts. And he has the assuredness to back up this talent.
It is clear that he is a dedicated athlete and when your trainers asks you not to train, you know the fighter has the dedication to go all the way.
Next up for him? Well who knows. I would love to see an all-British fight with world champion Carl Froch one day in the near future whilst the likes of Andre Ward, Lucien Bute, Robert Stieglitz and Isaac Chilemba will all have stood up and taken notice of this performance.
DeGale has announced himself as too good to simply fight on these shores and European and world success is only a matter of time. He has brought excitement back to British boxing and with the likes of Amir Khan and David Haye grabbing headlines, it is amazing to have three boxers of this calibre from these shores.
DeGale has the chance to be as good, if not, better than the great, legendary Joe Calzaghe but he has a long way to go before he can emulate the Welsh superstar was unbeaten throughout his career. The super-middleweight division has been calling out for something to take on the mantle left by Calzaghe following his retirement from the sport a few years ago.