As much as it pains me to write this and anyone to read it, James Degale (20-1) can’t be ignored anymore. Talented charismatic and outspoken, he has all the attributes to be liked and willed on, but it’s never really happened for James. His battle and subsequent defeat to George Groves (21-2) triggered a slide that not even his biggest detractors could have predicted. There was little sympathy. It was hard (and sometimes still is) to like the brashness, the vanity and sometimes the sheer bluntness of Degale. Yet no one can deny that this has been an incredible comeback, culminating into potentially the biggest moment in his career a chance to dethrone current WBC middleweight champion Andre Dirrell (24-1).
Degale has a chance to become the first man to capture a world title and have won an Olympic gold medal and would be viewed as an incredible achievement especially when considering the painful route that he has taken to get back to the top table. No matter how his comeback was spun, it would have hurt Degale to have to rebuild his career in arenas and venues perhaps not worthy of a gold medalist. His residency in Bluewater becoming an all too familiar running joke amongst fans and fighters, he’ll tell you it was part of the journey to the top and I’ll tell you most didn’t see it coming.
Since his very controversial defeat to George Groves, Degale has travelled to Denmark, Canada and has only had one fight in London, on the undercard of Froch vs. Groves II (which would have also stung). Yet his comeback is almost complete, a career best stoppage win over Brandon Gonzales (18-1-1) and now Degale is starting to look every bit the future middleweight champion. He now has the very realistic and probable chance of becoming Britain’s first ever Olympic gold medalist and recognized world champion (no matter what Audley Harrison says the WBF is not recognized).
There have been rumours that the fight could be on the undercard of the Mayweather vs. Pacquiao fight at the MGM Grand and that would be the most fitting venue for history to be made and potentially for Degale to complete his rehabilitation and become start to feel some of the vindication that he rightly deserves, as much as it hurts to admit.