This fight pits the current two best boxers at super-middleweight - with the victor earning the right to be recognised as the number one super-middleweight in the world. Two fighters with similar styles but different career paths will meet in an intriguing fight, but who will win?
Similar fighting styles
Both DeGale (1.352*) and Jack (3.450*) are distance fighters, particularly when fighting at championship level. DeGale has a slightly better knockout percentage (58%) than Jack (52%) but nonetheless, both will be preparing for a distance fight.
Since stepping up his level of opponent, DeGale has largely been dependent on his proficiency rather than power, although the Londoner does hit hard enough to keep world-class opposition honest.
The Brit has won his last three fights by decision, while Jack has also gone the full 12 round distance in his last three outings. Both fighters will usually follow a comparable game plan and know how to dig deep into the trenches to grind out a result.
DeGale building on his reputation
“Chunky” became the first British boxer to win both an Olympic gold medal and a professional world title in 2015 when he outpointed the game Andre Dirrell in Boston - A fight in which the Brit looked glittering at times, but also showed a chink in his armour by taking time off in-between rounds.
Jack has proven himself to be a very commendable champion but the best James DeGale is better than the best Badou Jack.
If Jack wants to claim the scalp of DeGale, the WBC titleholder will need to capitalise on this, push DeGale back and make the Londoner work hard for every minute of every round and engineer a game plan that makes him fight at an uncomfortable pace.
After flying stateside to Las Vegas, Jack met with Floyd Mayweather in 2012 and boxing’s biggest star is now firmly part of the Badou Jack furniture. Mayweather earmarked Jack as a future elite operator after watching him spar with Andre Dirrell. The outspoken pound for pound star was so captivated with his distinctive elegance that he instantly asked Jack to hone his skills as a member of Mayweather Promotions.
The DeGale vs. Jack betting odds may well be influenced by the fact that the outsider already has one heavy defeat on his record. In 2014, Jack was beaten quite compellingly against little known Derek Edwards - being knocked out in 61 seconds by the Las Vegas native. Edwards, known as The Black Lion, came out swinging from the off and landed heavy concussive shots on Jack’s chin, ending the fight in vigorous fashion.
Since then, Jack has edged a split-decision win over the favoured Anthony Dirrell to claim the WBC strap, whilst holding wins against George Groves and Jason Escalera. A slight blot on his record is the unfortunate majority draw from last time out against Lucien Bute.
Strengths vs. Weaknesses
Taking on the handle as “The Road warrior” DeGale has to some extent gone quietly about his business since his sole loss to rival George Groves back in 2011. The fight against Jack will be his fourth consecutive fight across the Atlantic, and the Londoner has built up a vast amount of experience at championship level in the process.
The fact that DeGale is also an ex Olympic gold medalist means he could be given the edge when it comes to experience at the highest level - all this despite being the younger man (30) with Jack (33).
DeGale has a slightly better knockout percentage (58%) than Jack (52%) but nonetheless, both will be preparing for a distance fight.
Jack has good pedigree and is an astute boxer with plentiful experience himself. He went to the same Olympics as DeGale, but unfortunately lost his first fight. He held a record of 150 wins as an amateur with 25 losses, winning Sweden's national championship five years in a row.
Both fighters share a few familiar adversaries, with the stand out being British contender George Groves. Despite being a heavy favourite going into their 2011 battle, DeGale was beaten by Groves over 12 rounds - Groves still remains the only man to put a blemish on DeGale’s professional slate.
Groves went on to lose a razor-close decision to Jack on points in September 2015. Although the decision was a close one, Jack dropped Groves in the first round with a heavy overhand right, showing that “The Ripper” does have the power to hurt opponents at world level.
What can we expect?
Jack, is a fighter who doesn't do anything extraordinary, but he does everything well. DeGale is a fighter who does everything well, and occasionally does things excellently. Triumph for DeGale over Jack would set up an intriguing clash with fellow Brit Callum Smith, who is mandatory challenger for the WBC belt - something that should motivate DeGale to put on a professional and efficient display.
The charismatic Londoner will also have the chance to emulate recent success of British boxing legends Joe Calzaghe and Carl Froch, who both reigned supreme at super-middleweight - this will be more than enough to keep DeGale focused on victory.
Jack has proven himself to be a very commendable champion, getting wins over Anthony Direll, George Groves, and Rogelio Medina is no easy feat. But the best James DeGale is better than the best Badou Jack.
Can “Chunky” demonstrate his superior skills stateside under the lights and make everything come together? We will find out on January 14.Ready to get into the big fight action? Get the best James DeGale vs. Badou Jack betting odds at Pinnacle.
*Odds subject to change.