A look back at the weekend sees one of the very best of boxing cards in the US of A for some time. The headline act was the IBF/WBC super-middleweight unification fight between James DeGale and Badou Jack. DeGale was one round away from the lineal championship, lost concentration for one moment but that was all that it took as he lost his teeth and the opportunity of claiming he is the best in his division as Jack knocked him over and got the verdict of a draw from 2 of the judges.
The majority draw decision made it messy for the weight category as now the WBC have ordered Jack to make a match with Callum Smith. Jack has indicated he is going up to light heavyweight, DeGale is likely to face a mandatory and Callum Smith will likely have to face off against Anthony Dirrell.
The world of boxing moves so fast these days and much though it settled nothing, it has given us much more to debate. For the record, I had DeGale winning the fight going into the last round. Scoring is very subjective and a draw was one result against which I and others simply cannot argue. Neither man deserved a loss on his record on this showing and unlike Mr Floyd Mayweather Jr, I think this fight was nothing short of excellent for boxing.
The support act was even better. I thought Jose Pedraza a class act. This for me was going to be at best a difficult defence of his IBF super feather-weight title. It turned out to be the coronation of a new sensation as Gervonta Davis simply destroyed Pedraza and took the win in the 7th round.
Davis certainly announced where he was in terms of the world stage and it has to be said, that I was mightily impressed. Every so often sport throws you these things. It gives you a guy who looks unbeatable and then provides an unknown who can not only step up to the plate but stamp all over it. Davis deserves an incredible amount of praise for his work which was simply exceptional. I cannot wait for his next fight.
The next fights for us are all in Glasgow. Let me quickly remind you of what we can expect.
First up, we have the St Andrews Club at the Radisson Blu in Glasgow on Thursday the 19th January. Top of the bill is the “Scott Allan show” as the diminutive firecracker is back to defend his Scottish title at bantamweight against Ukashir Farooq. Allen is on a mission for a world title and this will be a mere stepping stone on his way to the top, of that he is absolutely certain. So am I. I expect a comfortable points win and hope he gets his ring walk back in play for the STV cameras who shall be there to see him.
On the same bill bantamweight Gary Rae is expected to beat Brett Fidoe and super lightweight Martin Harkin faces and should beat James Gorman.
The following evening, in the Crowne Plaza, Glasgow, MGM Scotland are back with 4 contests and we have opponents for 2 of them. Heavyweight Jay MacFarlane will take on Tomas Vaicickas and be expected to triumph, super featherweight Stephen Tiffney shall have the same burden on his shoulders as he faces Norbert Kalucza. To finish off the bill we expect super middleweight David Brophy and welterweight Gary Murray. Both are great additions to the evening and Brophy in particular shall be expected to give us some impressive action.
Journeyman of the week
We are going to introduce a wee feature weekly which is looking at the backbone of the business of boxing – the journey man. Often overlooked and certainly overshadowed, this is someone without whom the sport would be a far poorer place. Their records make people believe they are pushovers but in actual fact they are highly skilled operators whose evening job is to push their opponents and expose any weaknesses for trainers to work on between this fight and the next one. They can be seen up against many opponents who go on to bigger things but the debt owed to them in the early career of many top class fighters cannot be diminished.
This week we start with Brett Fidoe who is in the ring tomorrow night against Gary Rae. This shall be his 40th professional fight and Fidoe has only won 6 of them. Fidoe is a prized fighter as he fights at super bantamweight and in the UK, in the lower weight categories there are not a lot of options for boxers as far as opponents are concerned.
Fidoe turned pro in 2012 and in that year only got a couple of fights in before 2013 marked the beginning of his busy pathway. In that year, he shared a ring with the likes of Haroon Khan and Don Broadhurst. In 2014 he was to face Broadhurst again as they fought for the Midlands title. 2014 brought him to Scotland and he shared the ring with our own Jamie Wilson and Scott Allen. Allen is headlining the very bill on which Fidoe is appearing this week. He also got in against Thomas Essomba later that same year. The last 2 years has seen him regularly up in Scotland as well as taking on some quality names like Andrew Selby, Jamie Wilson a further twice, Charlie Edwards and Ukashir Farooq. I caught him at the MGM show in October of last year where he was up against Sunny Edwards. Edwards really impressed me that night in his 2nd professional contest and that was in part due to the fight Fidoe gave him. It was a good win for Edwards but also a bit of an education as you saw all of the guile and wily nature of Fidoe come out to play. Thursday night shall be no different and with the TV cameras there I can guarantee you, it shall be a fight and one that Gary Rae should not take lightly.