December 20, 2016
December 20, 2016
James DeGale

Esther Lin/Showtime

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It took ages, this [Badou Jack] is the fight I’ve been waiting for. I’m over the moon. I literally can’t wait, this is the best two super-middleweights in the world, going by results and the two belts we’ve got, and we’re fighting to see who’s No. 1. I’m excited to unify the division.

One hundred per cent, this is the biggest fight of my career. There’s two belts on the line, the WBC – the most prestigious belt – and the IBF which is next in line. This is the biggest fight, it’s at the Barclays Center, a lovely venue, in America, on Showtime and Sky Sports, you can’t get any bigger. I’m really looking forward to it and this is when you’ll see the best of me. As Eddie Hearn said, I’m a ‘buzz’ fighter, I honestly believe that. The big arenas, the big fights, with everything on the line.

I’m massively motivated to be going over to America, the press conference actually felt like I was in a big fight this time around. Al Haymon’s pulled it out of the bag.

Badou Jack’s a very good fighter, a very underrated fighter. If you just go through his last four opponents, they’re four very good wins and it’s the same for me as well. We’re both very good fighters and we’re basically in our prime, so you’ve got two quality fighters in their prime boxing to unify the division to see who the best is. This is what boxing needs; the best fighting the best.

It’s what boxing’s about. There are too many fighters out there who think they’re the best but they don’t want to box the best, they don’t want to put their world titles on the line. I think me and Badou Jack will get respect.

I don’t want to keep on saying it, but I’m a road warrior. I don’t care, I’ll go abroad. If anything, I actually like it because the pressure’s off a little bit more. I’m in boxing for the big fights, the titles and the money. I’ll go where the titles are and I’m going to make the most money.

I think I’m a big favourite, it’s crazy. Badou Jack is a serious fighter. He doesn’t do anything spectacular but he’s a solid all-round fighter, he’s got a very good jab, he does the basics well, he works well to the body, he has a nice tight defence. Overall he’s a complete fighter, if I’m not 100 per cent there’s a big possibility I can lose.

I’m fit already. I’m going to be a beast. I’ve actually changed a few things in training as well. Believe it or not, but in my professional career I have never done strength and conditioning until now. I’ve never looked at the sports science side of things. After my last fight I thought, “In my last few fights I’ve fatigued at the end.” My breathing is fine, I was just fatigued, there was something missing. I do a little bit of strength with my trainer Jim McDonnell but I saw that everyone else is doing strength and conditioning, so after my last fight I teamed up with my strength and conditioning coach Nick. For five months I’ve been working a lot on my strength, I can feel the differences and everyone will see.

If I’m being honest, I didn’t pay too much attention to George Groves’ fight. He boxed alright, stuck to the job. He’s struggling at the minute though. Hopefully he can win a world title and if he does, it’ll be against Fedor Chudinov because that’s his only chance. That would set up our rematch, as long as I beat Jack. I’d like to fight him again, the British public want to see it. Hopefully he’ll win the WBA title and we’ll get it on, but you never know with George. He’s a good fighter but I don’t know if he’s a world class fighter. There’s room for improvement. But right now I’ve got Badou Jack, then Callum Smith. After that, it can happen.

This article was originally published in Boxing News