James DeGale
James DeGale at his gym in Essex

James DeGale will be looking to produce a memorable performance against Pablo Farias on March 23 after his promoter Mick Hennessey outlined their plan to secure a world title shot against one of the biggest names in the division.

The 27-year-old claimed the WBC Silver title when he won a unanimous decision against Fulgenico Zuniga back in December and it seems as though his team believe that he is ready to challenge the likes of Carl Froch, Mikkel Kessler and Andre Ward.

All three men hold world titles in the super-middleweight division and Hennessey believes that by the end of the year they will have secured a shot at one of these world class fighters.

"This is the year when James will be chasing the big names like Carl Froch and Mikkel Kessler," Hennessy told the Daily Mail. "Froch knows what it's like to be avoided because he could never get his dream fight against Joe Calzaghe before he retired.

"We are hoping he won't do to James what Joe did to him. It's a big year for him," added Hennessey. "By the end of this year, we are looking to become the mandatory challenger for WBC world champion Andre Ward."

Ward is regarded as the king of the super-middleweight division after defeating Kessler, Arthur Abraham and Froch on the way to winning the Super Six title. He then further enhanced his reputation with a 10<sup>th round TKO win over Chad Dawson before injuries prevented him from facing Kelly Pavlik.

The undefeated American would be a severe test for DeGale who has failed to progress as quickly as some would have imagined when he won the British title in just his ninth professional bout.

He has gained just one stoppage in his last five fights, against Cristian Sanavia, and there have been questions raised over his fitness after seemingly switching off in fights and being backed against the ropes.

However, getting in the ring with Ward may be a no lose situation for the Londoner as he would be regarded as a massive underdog. The WBC champion also prefers to outbox his opponents and there is an outside chance that DeGale would actually last a number of rounds, something that may not happen if he stepped in the ring with warriors like Froch or Kessler.

For while DeGale has demonstrated good footwork, fast hands and a great boxing brain; he is not known for his power. This was demonstrated in his only loss he struggled to make a dent in George Groves who looked far stronger and looks more likely to cause an upset against one of the big names.

DeGale confirmed to The Sun that he wanted Froch later this year, saying: "I've read that after those three fights he will consider ending his career. All I am asking is for him fight me before hanging up his gloves.

"Looking at Froch, he is not the kind of man to swerve anyone or anything. Froch was always calling out Calzaghe but never got that fight - and I think he would have beaten him at that stage. It would be great if Froch stayed around long enough for us to meet."

The problem for DeGale is that he is simply not at the level to register on Froch's radar. The 'Cobra' is simply fighting the very best out there and that does not include his fellow Brit.

Unfortunately for DeGale even Groves seems to have moved beyond his reach with Adam Booth suggesting a rematch would only happen if a world title was on the line.

The best thing DeGale can do is position himself as a mandatory challenger for the WBC title and a shot at Ward. There would be no disgrace in losing to the highly-skilled American and he would certainly learn plenty from a world class operator.