Badou Jack retained his WBC Super Middleweight title in a draw against Lucian Bute Saturday on Showtime, setting up a fall unification with IBF champion James DeGale, who defended his IBF crown against Rogelio Medina in the opening bout of the telecast from the DC Armory.
“Let’s unify the division and see who the best is,” DeGale said to Jack in a post-fight interview moderated by reporter Jim Gray.
“I’m ready in September, ready in August,” responded Jack.” “I’m ready whenever. Let’s do it where it makes the most sense financially.”
Jack was the sharper fighter from the opening bell, committing to pounding the body of the former long-time titlist. Facing his second southpaw, Jack prevented Bute from fighting his game, smothering the Romania-born Canadian whenever he attempted to fight on the inside.
While Jack varied his punches with a diverse attack to the body and head, he slowed in the latter rounds and allowed Bute to climb his way back into the fight. Bute had perhaps his best round in the 10th and closed the show well, in the 11th and 12th. But it was too little too late for Bute, who escaped D.C. with what most felt was an undeserved draw.
“Bullshit, but is what it is. Ask Bute as well, he knows what time it is,” said Jack, who landed nearly 100 more punches than Bute, including 61 percent of his power punches, and 40 percent total of his total shots. “His punches weren’t hurting me. I feel I won the fight. Maybe I lost the last round. He’s a great guy and a great champion, but I know I won the fight.
“It’s not Bute’s fault, it’s the judges. People saw I won the fight.”
The 36-year-old Bute certainly looked like a fighter with plenty left in the tank, rejuvenated under trainer Howard Grant with his sights set on the new crop of stars in the super middleweight division.
“It was a close fight,” said Bute, who connected at just a 21 percent rate with his total punches. “Believe me, it was very close fight. My last fight with DeGale was very close, tonight was a very close fight. I showed everyone I’m still at the top.”
James DeGale defended his IBF Super Middleweight World Championship with a close, hard-fought unanimous decision against Rogelio Medina in the opening bout of the SHOWTIME CHAMPIONSHIP BOXING telecast.
DeGale was supremely accurate, landing 51 percent of his power punches compared to just 23 for Medina, including a staggering 66 percent of his power punches. The switch-hitting southpaw attacked from unorthodox angles, and was most effective when he snuck in a right uppercut to back up Medina. But the British titlist – a record 12th from Great Britain – failed to utilize his jab and was not able to deliver on his prediction of a knockout inside of six rounds.
“The boxing skills are too good,” DeGale said. “If I’m being honest, he’s a very strong fighter, but skills pay the bills. I watched this guy years ago and he didn’t have the engine like that. He’s gotten better and stronger in the last year and a half.
“I’m a bit disappointed – I should be taking out people like Porky Medina, no disrespect to him.
“I’m always learning in the gym. My inside work, my defense, my concentration. I’m going to go back to the gym, I’m going to work and I’ll be ready in September.
“I want Badou Jack. I want a fresh name on my record.”
Medina, on the other hand, nearly doubled DeGale, throwing 1,140 total punches, compared to 612 in the best performance of his career, but not enough to dethrone the champion. The Mexican challenger pounded the body and was at his best with DeGale against the ropes, striking the British champion with a killer left hook to the body.
“He said he was going to stop me. He was running all around and he didn’t stop me like he said he would,” said Medina, who’s seven losses have come against fighters with a combined record of 131-2-2. “He’s the only one who thinks he won. The fans think I won. I definitely want the rematch.”