James DeGale has long believed that it is his destiny to be at the top of the boxing tree.
This weekend, the slick southpaw, from Harlesden, gets the opportunity to do just that as he takes on Badou Jack, the WBC champion, in a Britain vs. America super-middleweight unification showdown.
DeGale, who just under three years ago was fighting in front of fewer than 1000 people at a leisure centre in Bristol, has now reached the top, the pinnacle, after two relatively straightforward defences against Lucian Bute and Rogelio Medina.
Jack, meanwhile, has had two defences of the WBC belt he won against Anthony Dirrell –– the brother of Andre, who DeGale beat to win his crown back in May 2015 –– and goes into this clash ahead of a potential move up in weight.
Floyd Mayweather of Mayweather Promotions, by whom Swedish-born Jack is promoted, said during fight week that his charge would switch to the light-heavyweight division and chase Andre Ward, win, lose or draw against DeGale.
The winner must defend against mandatory challenger Callum Smith. There will be a purse bid after immediate 28-day negotiations, if no deal is reached and the fight must then take place within 90 days of that date.
So as James DeGale closes in on his moment of supremacy and Badou Jack aims to cement his spot as the best in the division, Instant Boxing has an all-you-need-to-know guide on the big fight.
What is it?
It’s the WBC and IBF super-middleweight unification fight between Badou Jack (20-1-2, 12 KOs) and James DeGale (23-1, 14 KOs).
When is it?
It’s this weekend –– Saturday, January 14, though if you’re watching in the UK it will be in the early hours of Sunday morning.
Where is it?
The fight is taking place at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn, New York.
What time does it start?
As with all boxing nights, it largely depends on how quickly the undercard fights progress. It should be around 3am GMT.
What TV channel is it on?
Sky Sports 1 will be broadcasting the fight night from 2am GMT.
Alternatively –– and if you can’t get to a television –– you can follow the action courtesy of Elliot Foster on our live-blog.
When is the weigh-in?
The weigh-in took place at around 6pm GMT on Friday, with both fighters making weight reasonably well.
DeGale was in the best shape many had ever seen him as he came in at 166.5lbs, comfortably inside the 168lb super-middleweight limit, while Jack tipped the scales at 167.25lbs.
What are the fighters’ records?
Fights – 23
Won – 20
KOs – 12
Lost – 1
Fights – 24
Won – 23
KOs – 14
Lost – 1
What are they saying?
Badou Jack: “This is going to be one hell of a fight.
“DeGale is the real deal, he’s a road warrior who comes to America to fight the best and this is the two best fighting each other, but I’m the number one.”
James DeGale: “I’ve done it the hard way my whole career.
“Even the Olympics was away from home in China. I’ve had to go to America. I’ve had injuries and boxed in leisure centres and shopping centres.
“We’ve had different paths, me and [Anthony] Joshua, [with whom he compared his journey].
“We’re both Olympic gold medallists and world champions, but I won mine away from home and he won both of his at home.
“Don’t get me wrong, he’s a great talent and a superstar. Everyone loves him.”
Who are the officials?
Arthur Mercante Jr. is tasked with keeping the fight clean after being appointed the third man in the ring, while the three scoring ringside judges will be Glenn Feldman, Julie Lederman and Steve Weisfeld.
Which other fights are on the card?
José Pedraza vs. Gervonta Davis: 12 rounds at super-featherweight for the former’s IBF world title
Amanda Serrano vs. Yazmin Rivas: 10 two-minute rounds at super-bantamweight for the former’s WBO world title
Ievgen Khytrov vs. Immanuwel Aleem: 10 rounds at middleweight for the vacant WBC Silver title
Adam Kownacki vs. Joshua Tufte: eight rounds at heavyweight
Thomas Dulorme vs. Brian Jones: eight rounds at welterweight
Noel Murphy vs. Maxito Sainvil: six rounds at welterweight
Julian Sosa vs. Gabriel Solario: six rounds at welterweight
Kenny Robles vs. Latorie Woodberry: four rounds at welterweight