DEGALE HAPPY TO PLAY THE VILLAIN
By Tom Watt on May 3rd 2016
This past weekend in Washington the IBF World Champion, James DeGale successfully defended his Title against his mandatory challenger in Rogelio ‘Porky’ Medina. It was a mixed performance from DeGale who was obviously levels above the tough Mexican as he had predicted in his pre-fight press conference but was still unable to capitalise and dispatch his opponent inside the distance.
Once again, accusations that DeGale coasted through latter parts of the fight were aplenty at the final bell but the decision was never in doubt and Badou Jack’s successful defence against Lucian Bute immediately afterwards has set up a unification for the pair later this year.
Performance aside much of the talk after the fight has centred around DeGale’s supposed disrespect at the end of rounds and more poignantly at the end of the fight with many fans and pundits dismissing the Brit as disrespectful as a chorus of boos echoed around the arena. The boos erupted every time DeGale was on the big screens but the Brit seemed to revel in the attention – ‘Chunky’ has never been one to worry about being the ‘bad guy’ from a promotional stand-point and with Floyd Mayweather also ringside, the rewards for playing the villain card correctly are easy to see.
DeGale has made no secret that he wishes to build his profile in the US and his recent wins over Bute and Medina have certainly helped build an appreciation of his undoubted talent but at this point he is far from a household name to the American fan. By playing into the role of the villain at the weekend DeGale immediately raised his profile with US fans and although they might not be buying ‘Team Chunky’ T Shirts anytime soon, they will want to see Badou Jack put him in his place – and that’s bums on seats and dollars in DeGale’s pockets.
Money aside DeGale has now defended his Title and has unification fight in September with Jack to look forward to, outside of that fight his old rival George Groves and new Matchroom Boxing starlet, Callum Smith will both be waiting in the wings for their chance to become Britain and the World’s leading Super-Middleweight.