• Inside Boxing

DeGale insists he won't be chopping wood like Mayweather

Nick Parkinson
March 18, 2015
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Floyd Mayweather Jr was this week photographed chopping wood as part of his preparations for his long-awaited megafight with Manny Pacquiao on May 2. Taking his place on the undercard in Las Vegas could be James DeGale, who is still waiting on a date to fight Andre Dirrell for the vacant IBF world super-middleweight title. In fact, the Briton has yet to be told exactly where and when he will face the American, who lost a split points decision to Carl Froch for the WBC version of the world title in Nottingham in 2009. But wherever the fight happens, DeGale tells ESPN he is confident he can become the first British Olympic gold medalist to win a world title when he takes on Dirrell, whose brother Anthony defends his WBC super-middleweight title against Badou Jack in Chicago on April 24.

I've not been chopping wood like Mayweather has but I like it, it's old school and Mayweather is an old school type of fighter and I've seen how he trains at his gym.

I've been doing all kinds of different things in training, sprints on the track to two hours runs up Hampstead Heath as well as working in the gym.

I've trained at St George's Park [the FA's National Football Centre and home of the England football teams in Burton] and I'm going to be spending a week up there for my fitness because they have got great facilities. They have a hydro pool, an altitude chamber, sports scientists and they have even put some bags up for me. It's going to really help.

I've not got a date yet but I think they have to let me know by next Tuesday. There were rumours it was going to be in Chicago on April 24, but I've been told it's definitely not going to be then, so maybe it will mid May sometime.

Eddie [Hearn] was looking at putting it on in London on April 25 so I'm seven weeks into training camp anyway, so the quicker it happens for me the better.

There's a little chance it could be on the Mayweather-Pacquiao undercard in Las Vegas on May 2. I would love that obviously but I doubt it; I think they would've announced it if it was.

I don't know if they are playing games by keeping the date back as long as possible hoping I'm not training. But I've been training since January for this one because I've known I'm mandatory challenger and Eddie wanted the fight on April 25.

If they come back and say the date is in a couple weeks, I will be ready.

It's in America and I won't be boxing in front of my home fans but I went to Beijing as an 80-1 underdog and I came home with an Olympic gold medal [in 2008]. I travel well and I've fought in Canada and Denmark as a professional.

Them winning the purse bid has proved how much he's worried about me and a lot of good fighters from Britain have gone over to America and won world titles. My trainer Jim McDonnell has been telling me about the Ragamuffin Man Lloyd Honeyghan and how he went over there and ripped away the world welterweight title from Don Curry [in 1986] and recently we've had Kell Brook and Darren Barker winning world titles over there.

So I'm confident of doing it. It's going to be hard, very hard, because I don't think there's a harder fight out there for a world title. His record speaks for itself. He's a very technical fighter, his skill level is very high and he has pedigree because he's an Olympic medalist. He's fought for a world title before and I'm definitely fighting the better of the brothers.

I thought he beat Carl Froch when he fought him but it was close and maybe that put him off coming here again, so I've got Carl to thank again for having to go out there.

But I'm getting well paid and it's on free-to-air TV out there I think, so it's going to be a massive boost to my profile in the States and building my name.

This is my time to shine and there are some big fights potentially for me out there in America. I've got a domestic fight with George Groves which will always be there but there are some massive fights for me in America against the likes of the Dirrells, [Julio Cesar] Chavez Jr and [Gennady] Golovkin is possibly moving up a division in the future.

Golovkin is an extremely good fighter. I'm not sure he has been built into a monster but Martin Murray showed he could get hit. When the time is right I could fight him.

James DeGale stopped Marco Antonio Periban in the third round during his last visit to the ring © Getty Images
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