James DeGale announced his retirement from boxing this week after a 10-year long professional career.
The 33-year-old bowed out after a surprise defeat to Chris Eubank Jr at the O2 Arena in London.
DeGale boasts an Olympic gold from 2008, and also held the IBF super-middleweight title between 2015 and 2018.
Although DeGale relinquished his crown last year and was shocked by Eubank Jr last time out, many will be taken aback by his decision to withdraw from the sport, having been ranked as the sixth-best active super-middleweight by The Ring Magazine.
DeGale won 25 of his 29 career fights, but suffered three defeats, including an unexpected reverse to George Groves in a British title fight back in 2011.
DeGale has, however, rightfully earned his place among some of the sport’s best in recent years, and reactions to his retirement proved this.
Groves, who himself is a long-term rival of DeGale, said: “You reached the highest level. Congratulations.”
Andre Ward described DeGale as a ‘champion’, and said that he had had a great career.
Carl Froch, a three-time super-middleweight champion, took a slightly different approach, however.
“If we’d have met in my career, I’d have been too strong for him. I’d have backed him up onto the ropes, he’d have sat there with his guard up. I’d have absolutely smashed him to bits.”
Froch did praise DeGale, however, saying that he boasted remarkable career highlights.
“He was a great fighter and he was an IBF champion. Won the world title,” Froch told talkSPORT.
“He made history, he was the first guy to ever win a gold medal and then go on to win a world title.”
Froch clearly did not see DeGale as a member of the sport’s elite, though, adding: “Was he the best of the best? He wasn’t.”
Froch may have a reputation for his self-confidence and aggressive style, but he may struggle to retain respect from fans for his attack on DeGale as he exits the sport.
Especially considering that DeGale’s ex-rival Groves paid respect so diligently