Jackpot: Badou Gets His Shot at the Crown

By Robert Ecksel on April 24, 2015
Jackpot: Badou Gets His Shot at the Crown
“Most people know I’m a humble guy. I don’t talk a lot of trash. I just try to keep it real.”

Floyd spotted Badou Jack in 2012 during a sparring session with Andre Dirrell, liked his style and asked him to join Mayweather Promotions…

Tonight at the UIC Pavilion in Chicago, Illinois, in a fight broadcast live on Spike TV, Badou Jack (18-1-1, 12 KOs), from Las Vegas by way of Stockholm, Sweden, challenges Anthony Dirrell (27-0-1 22 KOs), from Flint, Michigan for his WBC super middleweight title.

Badou Jack was born October 31, 1983, in Stockholm, Sweden. “My mother is Swedish,” he told Boxing.com. “My father is from Gambia. Stockholm is a great city. It’s kind of cold, like Chicago where I’m gonna fight at. I had a good childhood. I grew up with my mom mostly, but my dad was loyal. He’s a Muslim, so we were Muslims.”

Many pro boxers were problem children. Others were athletes who were drawn to boxing. Badou Jack was neither.

“I started late,” he said. “I started when I was 18. A friend brought me to the gym in 2001 and I’ve been in the gym ever since.”

As an amateur Jack went 150-25. In 2007 the Swedish Boxing Federation named him Boxer of the Year. The following year he qualified for the 2008 Olympic Games, representing his father’s home country of Gambia.

“I’ve been to the Olympics—and now I’m fighting for the world title.”

Jack first five professional fights were in Sweden and Finland. His sixth fight was in Atlantic City, New Jersey in 2011.

“They know more about boxing here in the States” Badou said. “Here I got more fans in America actually than Sweden, because boxing’s not that big over there. Boxing is better in America. This is the place you want to go if you want to make it. Las Vegas is the fight capital of the world. I’m glad to be here.”

Professional boxing was banned in Sweden for 26 years, after a 1970 study found that it involved severe and sometimes life-threatening injuries, allegedly had a brutalizing effect on the audience, and was governed by unsound economic interests, none of which is news to anyone even remotely aware the fight game.

“Boxing is a dangerous sport,” Jack said. “The ban was from 1970 to 2007. And from 2007 I think you could only box four rounds. That’s all we ever had there.”

I mentioned that it’s ironic that Sweden, the country that bequeathed former heavyweight champion Ingemar Johansson to the world, brought down the hammer on the sport we love.

“We had like a memory show for Ingemar Johansson,” recalled Badou, “and they had a lot of American fighters and Shannon Briggs was one of them. He was there. We became friends. He signed me with his promotional company at the time. I moved to his house, I moved to Florida, and then I ended up in Vegas and now I’m here with Floyd.”

Mayweather spotted Badou in 2012 during a sparring session with Andre Dirrell. Floyd liked his style and asked Jack to join Mayweather Promotions.

“Floyd’s got my back,” Badou said.

Jack won his first 15 fights, setting up a shot at the NABF super middleweight title against Marco Antonio Periban on Sept. 12, 2013, at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas. The fight was ruled a draw after 10 rounds.

“That’s supposed to be a win. Everybody who saw that fight knows that I won that fight. His corner, Golden Boy, everybody told me, ‘You won that fight. You were lucky to get a draw.’ That’s what they told me.”

Jack’s one loss was to Derek Edwards on Feb. 28, 2014.

“I got caught. I threw a lazy jab. I made a mistake and you can’t do that. One shot. Even though I’m a 10 times better fighter than that guy, I got caught with a lucky shot. I was embarrassed. I just jumped up when I should have stayed down, let my legs recover a little bit. I was okay in my head, but my legs were a little shaky. He caught me, not on the chin. He caught me right on the temple. We were trying to get a rematch and we didn’t get it, but look where I’m at right now. I’m fighting for the title.”

Dirrell is a good fighter. I asked Badou what he sees when he studies the WBC champ.

“To be honest, I don’t really know until I get in there with him. He seems to be a boxer-puncher like myself. I like to box. But I can fight. I can brawl. I can do it all. The longer the fight goes, the better it is. I’m always in top condition. My style is to break an opponent down and then knock him out. We’ll see how the fight plays out. I figure it’s going to be a fan-friendly fight and I’m ready to go.”

I asked Badou Jack if tonight’s fight, his first shot at the world title, is a dream come true.

“Yes and no,” he said. “It doesn’t get any bigger than this. But for me, it’s not a dream come true until I win the title. Everybody can fight for the title, but to win the title, that’s the main thing. When Floyd called me and told me he’s got the fight for me, I was very happy and very excited, but that’s when the hard work needs to be done. So it wasn’t like, ‘Oh yeah, I finally made it.’ No, not yet. Not until I beat him.”

Badou Jack is smart and low-key and I hope it works out.

“Most people know I’m a humble guy. I don’t talk a lot of trash. I just try to keep it real.”

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Badou Jack confident he will beat Anthony Dirrell & claim 1st world title

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  1. Clarence George 03:08am, 04/25/2015

    Congratulations to Badou Jack and the other winners, but I found everyone’s performance underwhelming.  Particularly true of Caleb Truax, who was stopped by an only marginally more interesting Daniel Jacobs in the 12th.  I last saw Truax fight in early 2014, when he drew against Ossie Duran.  He was dun-colored dull then, and no more colorful last night.

    I don’t like fights that consist of two men clinching like a couple of drunks every time a punch is thrown.  C’mon, mix it up, for Pete’s sake!

  2. Clarence George 01:25pm, 04/24/2015

    Nice coup, getting an interview with Badou Jack.  And I’m glad oft-neglected Ingemar Johansson got mentioned.

    Tough fight to call, but I give a slight edge to Anthony Dirrell.  Best of luck to both gents.

    Hey, Irish, don’t forget Ann-Margret.

  3. Irish Frankie Crawford Beat Saijo aka Gimpel 06:46am, 04/24/2015

    Ingemar Johansson, Anita Ekberg and now Badou Jack, a tasty Swedish meatball for Dirrell.

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