Boxing Expert & Columnist
James DeGale must not take it easy against Lucian Bute, warns Jim Watt
Last Updated: 25/11/15 4:33pm
James DeGale coasted to the finish line as he won the world title against Andre Dirrell, says Jim Watt, who wants to see him be less forgiving with Lucian Bute...
James DeGale's performance in winning the title was a strange one.
He got himself well in front, scored a couple of knock-downs then let his foot off the pedal. He ended up winning by the skin of his teeth and, going away from home again, I hope he's learned from that.
That wasn't how to box away from home. If you get yourself in a handy position then build on it, don't start coasting.
It wasn't a mistake, he was terrific in the first half of the fight. But then he started boxing on the back foot and wasn't putting the same spite on his punches. He must learn from that because he could have blown it - not because he wasn't good enough but because he didn't apply himself properly.
His three performances before his world title fight were top class so he fully deserved his shot, then made the best of it.
This is a good match for him against a fighter who, at one time, was considered one of the best in the world until Carl Froch put a huge dent in that. If this fight was taking place three years ago Bute would be the favourite but he hasn't been the same fighter - Froch shattered him and he's been nervous ever since.
He could have blown it - not because he wasn't good enough but because he didn't apply himself properly.
Jim Watt on DeGale's IBF title win
A lot hinges on how much Bute has recovered of his old self. DeGale is a guy at the start of his career while Bute is coming to the end of his, which gives DeGale the advantage - I just hope he uses it.
It depends which Bute turns up but DeGale must train for the best Bute that there's ever been. He's looked nervy, and not been keen to engage.
DeGale needs to have the same start that he did against Dirrell - jump on him early and don't let up. He needs to knock the confidence out of Bute.
Watch DeGale v Bute for the IBF super-middleweight title in the early hours of Sunday morning at 3am, live on Sky Sports 1 HD.