The first super-fight of 2017 certainly lived up to its billing on Saturday night (14 January) as James DeGale and Badou Jack fought out an electrifying draw in New York. DeGale may have lost his two front teeth during their battle, but he didn't lose his IBF title, with both men leaving the Barclays Arena with their respective belts after two judges were unable to split the pair.
A rematch to such a thrilling battle seems the next logical move. But Jack's plans to move up to light-heavyweight don't appear to have changed despite Saturday's result. So what is next for both men?
Possible next opponents for James DeGale
Had DeGale come out victorious on Saturday night, it would have set things up perfectly for an all-British showdown with Callum Smith, the mandatory challenger for the WBC crown. The draw complicates matters however, and given the battle DeGale has just been through the Smith fight may be put on the back-burner for later this year. The Liverpudlian will likely go ahead and challenge for the WBC belt as soon as Jack vacates it, with a meeting against no.3 Anthony Dirrell likely to see who succeeds him.
A 2011 defeat to Groves remains the only real blemish on DeGale's professional record. Given their history, a rematch between the two would perhaps garner greater intrigue than DeGale vs Smith, despite not having the frenzied backing of Eddie Hearn and Matchroom. DeGale is desperate to avenge the loss to his fellow Londoner, but Groves' immediate focus will be on Fedor Chudinov, with negotiations over WBA title fight ongoing. Having lost three times in his three previous world title fights, it is perhaps the 28-year-old's last chance to win gold.
With Jack moving on up, DeGale remains the super-middleweight division's star attraction. Another title unification opponent could beckon in the shape of Gilberto Ramirez. The 26-year-old is undefeated in his 34 professional fights and has held the WBC championship since stopping Arthur Abraham in April last year, beating the battle-scarred Armenian via an unanimous decision. In a diary series with The Mirror last December, DeGale made it clear conquering his weight was his plan for 2017. The WBC title may have to take a back seat for now, but WBO gold and Ramirez could wait in the summer.
A rematch at light-heavyweight?
Jack says he is too big to fight at super-middleweight and made it clear after his fight that the only way a rematch can happen is if the Briton follows him in taking the step up. "Let's do this again at light heavyweight. It's time to move to light heavyweight," he said, Boxing Scene report. DeGale may feel he has unfinished business at 168lbs, however.
Possible next opponents for Badou Jack
Despite the closely fought battle, Jack and his promoter Floyd Mayweather Jnr were adamant it should have been win no. 25 for 'Jack the Ripper'. It didn't change the plans to move up to 175lbs however, with Mayweather already mapping out opponents at that level. WBC champion Adonis Stevenson is first on that list. "We're looking forward to Badou Jack and Adonis Stevenson fighting," Mayweather said, Boxing News Online reported. "End of June, we're looking forward to going at the end of June."
Sergey Kovalev or Andre Ward?
The two light-heavyweight kings fought out a gripping encounter in November 2016 where the American sealed a controversial points victory over the Russian to take his WBA, WBO and IBF titles, a result that caused plenty more arguments than DeGale/Jack did on Saturday. Jack said prior to that fight he would "absolutely" be interested in meeting the winner. But his hopes of mixing it up with one of the weight's most prominent names so soon after making the step up himself seem ambitious, particularly given the hunger for a Ward vs Kovalev rematch.