7th June 2011

James DeGale pic by: www.globalsportincolour.com
James DeGale went from Olympic Gold medal hero to pantomime villain in just a short space of time. Deemed in the trade as one of the most naturally gifted prospects for many a year and a cert to be a future world title winner.

But at the O2 Arena in London last month, DeGale suffered his first defeat as a professional, and the majority of the crowed booed and heckled ‘Oh No he isnt’! when rival and stage side kick ‘good guy character’ George ‘The Saint’ Groves defeated him on points, handing ‘Chunky’ his first loss and with it, plenty of the proverbial ‘Egg on face’

DeGale 25, had ridiculed Groves in the build-up to the fight and targeted him with some punishing verbal cusses! That were frankly at times, ‘well below the belt’ and to a maturer viewer a little bit cringing! But it all made for riveting must watch tv and if it was partly staged in parts, to help generate interest and sell the fight then it worked! Making good ticket returns and PPV buys, giving each boxer their biggest ever career purse.

In hindsight, it now looks like DeGale’s plan to rattle Groves and make him stand and fight, had tragically failed and he had put that much wasted energy into his ‘bad guy role,’ he had played into the hands of Groves, when he failed to bring out the fiery red head in him, with shouts of ‘How can that ugly ginger kid beat me’? Groves (13-0, 10KOs) had kept his cool and focused on the job at hand, not letting DeGale get under his skin.

Groves 23, is a professional product of the Hayemaker boxing camp, fronted by the heavyweight champion of the world David Haye and trainer and friend Adam Booth, who signed him after a very successful amateur career. Groves was initiated not only into the successful boxing and training environment of Hayemaker, but also benefits from the positive thoughts and energies this close nit dedicated and ultra professional team project, with their Law of attraction type philosophy.

DeGale (10-1, 8KOs) in contrast seemed agitated in the build up and ultimately in the fight, looking for the answers, trying to adapt different approaches to trap Groves, who stuck to one carefully crafted tactic to neutralise DeGale’s assets, and it work beautifully.
Make no mistake DeGale 100% believed he was going to beat Groves. These guys are boxers, they are not scared to face any man in the ring. It is in a fighters DNA and it is the competition of combat that is the addiction. So it didn’t matter what was said, what matters is fight night and who performs, when the spot lights are glaring on their Vaselined faces.

And that is where it went wrong for DeGale, he took his eye off the ball, he under estimated Groves, believed his own hype, created in large by his own ego! Both men deserve the up most respect for the fight they produced and the pressure they both endured. Fighting in front of a massive crowd, all on the edge of their seats! With the eyes of pressure piercing into their souls! It was not a moment for the faint hearted of boxers and DeGale was up against not only Groves but the negative vibrations, he himself had created.

The result was a close majority decision in favor of Groves, the one who kept his composure and nerve and fought the perfect game plan to outfox his bitter foe! The DeGale camp questioned the decision and argued for an immediate rematch. But the truth was that Groves was the busier boxer throughout the fight and DeGale just waited too long to get his shots off and was stuck in one gear the whole fight.

A loss in life, or in the ring can herald a new beginning, pain can become ones strength and the strongest students survive, live to tell the tail and fight another day. The loss to Groves could be Mr DeGale’s saving grace, he has the chance now to drop the bullshit, knuckle down and fight! DeGale will be wounded deep after losing, but absolutely sick has a parrot that it was to Groves.
It wasn’t an humiliation, it was a close fight, James just got a good old fashioned humbling! But If he holds his hands up accepts it and moves on, he can evolve into a better boxer and fulfill his massive potential, because of the loss. Ultimately becoming a person that the majority of British boxing fans will adhere to and want to get behind and support.
A rematch with Groves is a forgone conclusion, somewhere down the line their paths will inevitably cross. But until his date with redemption, a new approach to public relations and future conduct would be welcomed…. Make us all fans of the new James DeGale, James!
So lets give the lad some slack and get behind him. Let his lesson be one for all us mere mortals, that actions speak louder than words! –

By Chris Maylett – BritishBoxers. 

Degale, Groves Aftermath / What’s next for both fighters? video by
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