A great deal is at stake as James DeGale and Chris Eubank Jnr prepare to contest the IBO world super middleweight title in London this month.
<p>Chris Eubank Jnr and James DeGale will <a href="https://www.oddsmarket.com/fighting/int/boxing/james-de-gale-vs-chris-eubank-jr-3704950/" target="_blank">battle it out</a> for the IBO world super middleweight title at the O2 Arena in London on Saturday, February 23. The oft-maligned belt is considered less credible than those offered by the four main organisations – WBO, WBA, WBC and IBF – but the stakes are nevertheless high for this bout. Whoever wins will see his career reignited, while the loser will surely be pushed into retirement. Eubank Jnr is the odds-on favourite in the early odds, but the betting public is split down the middle over who will triumph.</p><p>DeGale is a former super middleweight world champion and Olympic Gold medallist, with a 25-2-1 record in 28 professional fights. The only two defeats of his career came at the hands of George Groves and Caleb Traux. The defeat to Traux came via a controversial mixed decision and he had an immediate rematch against the American, winning via a unanimous decision in April 2018. He then beat Fidel Munoz in his last fight, so he should go into this one full of confidence.</p><p>Eubank has a very similar record – 27-2 – and he has also lost to Groves. That was an eagerly anticipated WBA super middleweight title bout in February last year. Eubank Jnr was the clear favourite heading into the fight, but Groves took him apart with a supremely composed performance. Eubank Jnr then went off to lick his wounds and plot a comeback. He re-emerged in September, with a third round stoppage win against JJ McDonagh. Now he is hoping to be catapulted back towards the summit of the division by claiming a huge scalp in the form of DeGale.</p><p>Eubank Jnr is best priced at 4/5 with Betfair and DeGale is 13/10 with <a href="https://a.oddsmarket.com/record/v?c=150&a=b2e07733-b156-44ba-bdcb-83e67b8f8c27" target="_blank">Sportingbet</a> and 5/4 with <a href="https://a.oddsmarket.com/record/v?c=150&a=df66db4b-b019-4343-9fc7-6c4f20e2a356" target="_blank">Paddy Power</a>, Betfair and <a href="https://a.oddsmarket.com/record/v?c=150&a=1ba923f3-5341-4bda-b457-0138ac61ae7a" target="_blank">Betfred</a>. There is a similar amount of money going on each fighter, so it should prove to be a tight, tense clash. Who will pull off victory? Groves has beaten the pair of them and he is opting for Eubank Jr, simply because he feels the younger fighter has more left in the tank.</p><p>“A friend of mine said it’d DeGale’s to lose, but I’m not so sure,” said Groves, who recently retired following a defeat to Callum Smith. “If Eubank is genuinely up for it, if he has someone to nudge him in the right direction. You can’t walk through punches with DeGale. Because he can plant his feet and let his hands go and he throws loopy, swinging shots outside of your peripheral vision at times. But he also only works for 30 seconds a round, and he might go to sleep for rounds for to 10. If he does that, Eubank should jump on him, make him work, fluster him and I think Eubank beats him. But I don’t know. If I was going to put money on it I’d say Eubank – he’s got a lot left than DeGale.”</p><p>Eubank is 29, while DeGale is 33 and the older man has been making noises about retiring soon. Yet DeGale claims he will deliver a “12-round schooling” when he takes on Eubank. “I’ll beat him and I'll beat him well,” he said. “I see weaknesses and I see how I’m going to beat him. Chris thinks he’s better than he is.” Anyone that watched Eubank’s defeat to Groves last year would find it hard to agree with that sentiment. He was overly cocky and he came unstuck against a far more experienced fighter.</p><p>DeGale is a more technically gifted boxer, so the 13/10 on him is going to tempt many punters. But DeGale has looked knackered in recent fights, while Eubank is younger and a better athlete and he appears to have picked the fight at the right time, so he could well seize victory. An interesting approach would be to swerve the outrights and take odds of 4/6 at Paddy Power, Betfair and Sky Bet on the fight going the distance. Neither man has ever been knocked out and it is hard to imagine that happening in this fight.</p>