Badou Jack: ‘I’m Still a Few Years Away From Being At My Absolute Best’

By Mike Sloan Apr 29, 2016
When Derek Edwards stopped him in just 61 seconds two years ago, many of the fickle boxing “experts” cast aside the notion that Badou Jack was going to ever going to live up to his potential.

After all, Edwards was a lousy 1-3-1 in his previous five bouts before squaring off against Jack and scoring one of the biggest upsets of 2014. Fast forward to today and the Swede has not only bounced back from the defeat, he captured the WBC super middleweight championship and is on the cusp of really making a name for himself in the Sweet Science.

Jack (20-1-1, 12 KOs) edged Anthony Dirrell last April via majority decision to capture the first world title of his career and then defended it against George Groves in September, knocking the Brit down in the first and winning a split decision. Next up is another tough test: former IBF super middleweight king Lucian Bute.

“Lucian is a great fighter,” Jack told in a recent interview. “He’s taken on a lot of tough opponents and he knows what it takes to be a champion. I look forward to fighting him and proving that I am the best in the world at super middleweight.”

Bute (32-3, 25 KOs) will be the most experienced foe that the Las Vegas transplant will have faced up to this point. But even though the Romanian has conquered the likes of Glen Johnson, Librado Andrade, Jean-Paul Mendy, Sakio Bika and Edison Miranda, many within the sport believe he’s on the decline. Bute is coming off a loss to James DeGale and has lost three of his last fight bouts. But when asked whether he thinks he’ll be taking a shell of Bute’s former self, Jack scoffed.

“He has a lot of experience and that is what makes this such a dangerous fight,” he said. “He has been in there with the best and he knows every trick in the book. But these are the fights that I want. If you want to be the best, you have to beat the best. I know he’s older than me but it’s not by a lot; I don’t think he’ll be old or washed up when we fight. I expect the best possible Lucian Bute when we fight.”

Jack also stated that he doesn’t feel any pressure to dazzle anybody or try to force a knockout of the former champ. “The Ripper” has been ripped by boxing critics who claim he lacks the killer instinct to eliminate his foes and have pointed to his two razor-thin decisions in the two biggest fights of his career.

“I won the world title; I’m a world champion,” he declared. “I beat Dirrell for the title and he is a great fighter; one of the best. Then I made my first defense against Groves. Did I knock them out? No, I didn’t but you can’t knock everybody out. Besides, when you fight the best there is you aren’t always going to stop them. But I did what I had to and I won; that’s what matters. Anybody who criticizes me for not scoring knockouts in my two world title fights, I’d like to see them do it.”

If Jack impresses by thwarting Bute’s comeback, he will clearly be ranked among the best between 160 and 175 pounds. The question is, though, at 32 years of age, how long will it be before Jack is ready to enter the discussions as perhaps the best in the entire sport?

“Right now I’m not worried about what people think or where they rank me,” he said. “I am not even thinking about pound-for-pound titles right now. I’m at 168 pounds and I’ll be here for a little while, maybe two more fights before I move up to 175. I still have a lot to learn and I think I’m still a few years away from being at my absolute best. After that, then maybe we can discuss that stuff.”


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