Tuesday, March 21, 2023  |


Presser for DeGale vs. Jack set for Wednesday in Brooklyn

Photo by: Naoki Fukuda

In a bold leap of faith, officials are planning to stage the super middleweight unification match between James DeGale and Badou Jack on Jan. 14 at Barclays Center in Brooklyn.

The event is booked even though the New York State Athletic Commission still hasn’t found an insurance company to underwrite the exorbitant new health insurance regulations that were attached to the recent MMA bill.

But that didn’t stop organizers from announcing a big press conference set for Wednesday at Barclays Center to formally announce the fight, which will air on Showtime. Floyd Mayweather Jr., who promotes Jack, is set to attend. Organizers will try to tip-toe around the fact that a still unresolved insurance policy has kept the state from holding any boxing cards since August.

But that’s sort of the point. Fight officials are hoping the act of holding a press conference and putting tickets on sale will motivate the state to find a policy that is workable for those involved. “To be honest, this is somewhat of an effort to say, ‘Come on, you can’t continue to stop us from earning a living. You can’t continue to stop New York fighters from getting into the ring in their own state,’” said the New York-based promoter Lou DiBella, who is co-promoting the event on Jan. 14. “This isn’t coming out of optimism. This is coming out of the necessity and the willingness to stand up and say, ‘Stop already. Why did this happen in the first place?’ I have no idea. But if it was a mistake- fix it.”

A spokesman for the New York State Athletic Commission reiterated on Monday the Department of Financial Services is reviewing a submitted insurance policy for approval. This evaluation has been going on for more than a month, so currently it’s impossible for a boxing promoter to put on a card in New York because no policy is available. “The State is working tirelessly with the boxing community and insurance industry to find a policy that is reasonable and affordable to ensure that boxing continues its proud tradition in New York,” Commission spokesman Laz Benitez wrote in an email to RingTV.com.

The New York commission voted on Aug. 31 to approve regulations that would spike health insurance costs for combat sports. Included in the MMA law was a provision requiring $1 million of coverage per boxer in the event of a serious head injury that promoters say is simply untenable and impractical for putting on shows. DiBella is hoping for the best and that a resolution is found by Jan. 14.

A show hasn’t taken place in New York since Errol Spence Jr. fought Leonard Bundu on Aug. 21 in Coney Island. “I have faith that in time for Jan. 14 to happen, they’ll make a policy available even if it’s not the kind of policy that will let boxing thrive in the sate,” DiBella said. “I’m sure that something will get through that will allow that event to happen.”

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