Former Olympian James DeGale (21-1, 14 KOs) makes the first defence of his IBF World super-middleweight title against Lucian Bute (32-2, 25 KOs) at the Centre Videotron, Quebec this Saturday.
DeGale 29, confirmed to Sky Sports that he was happy to face his opponent Bute in his native Quebec because he is “too good,” for the former world champion.
“The way I’m feeling, I’m in top shape,” Degale told Sky Sports, “it’s going to be hard to beat me. My journey is just starting, his is coming to an end.”
DeGale has done a fantastic job of rebuilding his career following his sole career loss, to George Groves in a closely contested fight for the British and Commonwealth titles in 2011. Since then he has won eleven consecutive fights, six inside the distance, including the victory against Andre Dirrell in May for the vacant IBF world super-middleweight title.
DeGale’s career is certainly on an upwards trajectory unlike his opponent on Saturday night.
Lucian Bute 35, is the former IBF world super-middleweight champion, having defended it nine times between 2007 and 2011. He is known for his lethal left hook to the body and has an impressive record with notable victories over Sakia Bika, William Joppy, Brian Magee, and Glen Johnson.
In 2012, Bute was dismantled in five rounds by Carl Froch in what was considered at the time as something of an upset. Bute was considered a dominate champion but he was completely outclassed by Froch on the night and many felt that he was left a shadow of his former self following this result.
Bute was unimpressive in his next two fights including a loss to former WBC light heavyweight world champion Jean Pascal. In that fight Bute was completely dominated by Pascal, his reaction times were non-existent and was completely outworked and outpunched by Pascal who won by a wide points margin.
In his last fight in August, after a 19 month lay-off, Bute stopped Andrea Di Luisa in four rounds but the Italian was a heavy underdog and cannot be considered a significant test for the former champion.
It may still be an interesting fight, as DeGale will have to negotiate the pro Bute crowd on the night. Bute is a superstar in Quebec and this defence for DeGale will be akin to Daniel in the Lion’s Den.
Despite that it is hard to see how DeGale would lose this one. Bute is no longer the fighter he once was and it certainly could be the end of the road for him if DeGale forced a stoppage. On the other hand Bute remains a tough opponent and DeGale lacks the same power as Carl Froch. Add to that mix the fact this will be a battle between two southpaws and we can expect a long night as boxing fans.
The most probable outcome is DeGale winning a unanimous points decision against a faded by still game Bute.
DeGale v Bute is live on Sky Sports 1 from 3AM on Saturday the 28th November 2015.