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Froch v Groves II: James DeGale has a tough test back in the spotlight, says Johnny Nelson

Johnny Nelson - Johnny Nelson Posted 20th May 2014 view comments

James DeGale has come out of the dark and into the light but don't think for a minute it has got any easier.

Wembley is going to be one hell of an occasion but for him it is going to be a really, really tough test.

I am not talking about the event itself, I am talking about the guy he is facing for the right to challenge either Carl Froch or George Groves for their world titles: Brandon Gonzales.

James DeGale: is back in the spotlight with a tough assignment, says Johnny

James DeGale: is back in the spotlight with a tough assignment, says Johnny

Trust me, he is good. He is trained by Virgil Hunter, as does Amir Khan and when the latter came in for Ringside he made no bones about it, he thinks DeGale is in for a really hard night.

Gonzales spars regularly with Amir and of course Andre Ward, the king of the super-middleweight division, so you know that of all the guys trying to crash this British boxing party, he could be the one.

He might well get people booing him at Wembley but James DeGale has been through all that before. He is no longer worried about the showbiz and the glitz and glamour, but he will be back in the public eye and that should bring the best out of him.

Johnny Nelson
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I hope not because DeGale will keep the fires burning if he does come through and takes on the winner and the IBF and WBA holder - even if it ends up being only for the IBF.

Whether he gets the credit if he does is another matter. He might not need it anymore though because James has been through the dark times and has been wounded, badly, watching his rivals getting all the glory and stand in the spotlight.

It must have been hard watching Groves and Froch do just that and it must've been frustrating. He had to go away and lick his wounds but it also left him with no option but to learn the game the hard way, so I suppose it is par for the course that he has such a tough fight to get back into that spotlight.

And does that Groves hatred still exist? You bet. He looks to have matured and does seem less erratic and more calculated, but when emotions come into it play, you can't always control that.

Worried

James has already said that he thinks fighting Froch would be the easiest of the two but when it was time to talk about Groves, he immediately admitted that it still hurts to talk about him and he still grates him inside. Well they are sure to bump into each other for the first time in long time on May 31!

A certain fighter aside, the venue will not affect him I am sure. He might well get people booing him at Wembley but DeGale has been through all that before. He is no longer worried about the showbiz and the glitz and glamour, but he will be back in the public eye and that should bring the best out of him.

Gonzales could ruin it, he really could. If he beats James everybody will hark back to his loss to Groves and it will be the same-old, same-old. It is a real risk this one, it really is.

But for all the worry and all the pressure, if James DeGale comes through this he really has stepped out of the dark into the light.

Book Froch-Groves II: Unfinished Business now, online at skysports.com/frochgroves2 or via your telephone on 08442 410888

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