By Kid Hersh
Reigning WBC 168-pound titlist Badou Jack was born on this day, Oct. 31, in 1983 in Stockholm, Sweden. He came to America after winning five consecutive national amateur championships in his native country. As a pro, he continues to impress boxing fans by upsetting the odds against him.
Badou has seemed to be a bit of a late bloomer and that is likely because he didn’t have his first amateur fight until he was 18 years old and then waited until he was 25 years old to turn pro. It was because of this that Badou was moved along fairly fast – fighting the 400+ amateur fight veteran and undefeated professional Alexander Brand after having only ten professional fights under his belt.
After a razor-thin win over Brand, the stiff tests continued. In 2013, after fighting a draw with Marco Antonio Periban, he scored a sixth round stoppage of Rogelio Medina. Then in February of 2014 he had a massive setback when he was stopped in the very first round by Derek Edwards. The Edwards loss was a tough one because Badou was already 30 years old and many fans and journalists were thinking that any mark he planned on making was now beyond his reach.
Badou had other plans though. He trained diligently under former light heavyweight champ Eddie Mustafa Muhammad at the Mayweather Boxing Club in Las Vegas while maintaining that he simply got caught with one punch and that that one punch would not define him as a fighter.
His dedication has paid off. Jack seems to get better every time out in some sort of way. In April of last year he outpointed previously undefeated Anthony Dirrell to win the WBC title. He tamed “The Dog” in that fight as he showed great stamina in a fan pleasing style of pressing and smothering Dirrell, who had no answer.
Following the Dirrell fight he successfully defended his title in a very stiff test against George Groves. Groves has speed and movement that can be hard to figure out, but Badou did just enough with his pressure and work rate to keep his title in a majority decision win. He recently said this was the toughest fight of his career to date.
His last fight against Lucian Bute was scored a draw but the overwhelming opinion was that he deserved the nod. Badou dealt with the speed of a crafty veteran in excellent fashion by boxing his man and using his straight punches to score the harder blows more frequently.
We now have a title unification fight between Jack and IBF champ James DeGale to look forward to, as it was announced by Showtime just last week that it is on the calendar for Jan. 14, 2017. Hopefully it doesn’t fall prey to injuries or other issues as so many fights have in recent months. It will be interesting to see how Badou does under his new trainer Lou Del Valle against an opponent that is not just crafty but very unorthodox at times.
Happy 33rd birthday to Badou Jack – a fighter that came back from a devastating loss to prove that he is indeed of world championship quality.