WHEN James DeGale lost his IBF 12st belt to unheralded Minnesotan, Caleb Truax, in December, talk within the boxing community centred on the fallen fighter, as it often does after a high-profile, upset, replacing his long-term trainer, Jim McDonnell. McDonnell will still be the main man in “Chunky’s” corner on April 7 when he tackles Truax for his old title at the Hard Rock in Las Vegas, but his coaching duties will be shared as DeGale has brought in former two-weight world champion, Paulie Malignaggi to assist with his training needs.
The articulate New Yorker, a face of both Showtime and Sky, walked away from active competition last March when losing to Sam Eggington in the UK. Talk of a comeback against MMA superstar, Connor McGregor, blazed throughout last summer following a well-documented spar between the pair, but that rivalry seems to have simmered since McGregor’s boxing ambitions were exposed by Floyd Mayweather. With Malignaggi’s fighting career over, then, DeGale has made the bold decision to make him part of his close knit team.
“He’s someone who’s got so many great ideas on the sport,” revealed DeGale to Boxing News from his Los Angeles camp. “We got speaking to each other after the Badou Jack fight last year and we just clicked straight away when he was telling me things about my career. Everything he seemed to say was what I needed to hear and the advice he provided was never far from my mind. He’s got me looking at the sport in a whole new different way since joining up with the team, and I do fully believe that I needed to add a little something fresh to the set-up.”