DeGale vs Jack: This Is James DeGale's Jeff Lacy moment, says Joe Calzaghe
By Matt Horan
Last Updated: 14/01/17 9:39am
Joe Calzaghe believes that James DeGale can emulate his defining win over Jeff Lacy by beating Badou Jack to become the No 1 super-middleweight in the world.
IBF super-middleweight champion DeGale (23-1) will unify belts with WBC champion Jack (20-1-2) on Sunday morning at the Barclays Center, New York, live on Sky Sports.
Calzaghe knows all about the position DeGale finds himself in and the 'Pride of Wales' draws upon many similarities between both him and the 30-year-old Londoner.
After a lengthy stint as the WBO world champion, Calzaghe faced a career-defining moment when coming up against undefeated IBF titlist Jeff Lacy in Manchester. It was a moment he grasped with both hands and Calzaghe is sure that DeGale can emulate his success.
Speaking exclusively to Sky Sports, he said: "This is a tough fight for DeGale, it will be close, but he has all the tools to do the job and become the No 1 super-middleweight in the world.
"I've always been a fan of his and he is a very skilful southpaw. Jack is a good, strong, all-round fighter of course - we saw that against [George] Groves and [Anthony] Dirrell - but I'm sure DeGale will raise his game for this one.
"He has had a lot of criticism and I see a lot of things in his career that I saw when I was coming through, he's been winning fights but has been criticised, while he has had his share of inactivity and frustration.
You want to be the best of the best and unify the belts - there is nothing sweeter than beating another champion. This is massive for DeGale's career.
"Now though he has his Jeff Lacy moment, a unification fight and a massive opportunity to shut everyone up and say I'm the No 1 in the division.
"Every fighter wants to be world champ, but beyond that, you want to be the best of the best and unify the belts - there is nothing sweeter than beating another champion. This is massive for his career."
Calzaghe, who himself thought stateside in his final two fights, has been impressed by DeGale's willingness to go on the road and thinks that it speaks volumes about the fighter.
He continued: "Any fighter wants to fight in the USA, my dream as a kid was always to go to Las Vegas and Madison Square Garden and if I didn't go I would have been disappointed.
"It may be a dream, but you also have to be brave to go, staying at home is more comfortable. For DeGale to go to Canada, Washington and now New York shows what he is all about, a man willing to travel and face the best.
"When I fought Lacy I knew I would not be denied, everything I achieved in my career was on that night, it was my opportunity to show that I am the man. I'm looking at that and thinking that's what DeGale will feel like.
"It's a massive step, being the No 1 in the division is huge and to be able to do it in front of the Americans on the big stage is huge as well."
Watch James DeGale v Badou Jack in a unification fight from the Barclays Center, New York, live on Sky Sports 1, 2am, Sunday, January 15.