James DeGale is hoping for a George Groves rematch in 2017

Updated: 

James DeGale's bout with rival George Groves back in 2011 was one of the most tense in recent British boxing history and, if circumstances permit, we could finally get to witness the rematch.

Chunky would have to beat Badou Jack, whom he faces in New York on January 14 for the unified IBF and WBC super-middleweight belt, and then beat WBC mandatory challenger Callum Smith to set up the fight - while it also relies on Groves defeating Fedor Chudinov to win the WBA belt.

It's a lot of conditionals to set up a fight towards the back end of next year, by which point DeGale reckons he could be part of Floyd Mayweather's Money Team, but it's a mouthwatering prospect.

DeGale during his workout at Stonebridge ABC (Adam Davy/PA)
DeGale during his workout at Stonebridge ABC (Adam Davy/PA)

"I'm hoping he comes through his WBA world title shot, because it's his fourth chance," DeGale, who suffered a narrow points defeat against Groves, told Sky Sports. "He's been knocked out before, he's had three chances, so I think he's proven that he's not elite, he's not world class.

"But if he's got any chance, then this is his chance against Chudinov, so hopefully he comes through that and the end of next year - this is all thinking ahead - that can be a massive match-up."

The bad blood between the pair was evident ahead of their previous fight, with the two having known each other since their teenage years and appearing to genuinely not like each other.

George Groves celebrates his victory over James DeGale
The two fought for the British and Commonwealth super-middleweight title (Nick Potts/PA)

Smith, who defended his British title against Luke Blackledge with a huge knockout on the Anthony Joshua undercard last weekend, isn't considered a problem by DeGale - but he is looking forward to what would be his first fight in England for a while.

"I won't be losing sleep over boxing Callum Smith. It's a massive fight over here and I'll be looking forward to it," he said. "Can you imagine that as a homecoming at The O2 or the Emirates?"

If DeGale beats Jack he'll be the first from Great Britain since Joe Calzaghe to prove himself the world's leading super-middleweight. The division has long been a glamorous one in which Chris Eubank, Nigel Benn and Carl Froch as well as Ireland's Steve Collins have also excelled.

"Growing up, Calzaghe, and Prince Naseem Hamed, they're the ones I used to watch and think 'I can't wait to do that'," DeGale, 30, said.

Money Team's Badou Jack with Mayweather Jr and DeGale (Kathy Willens/AP)
Money Team's Badou Jack with Mayweather Jr and DeGale (Kathy Willens/AP)

"To emulate him, and become the proper champ, will mean everything.

"Calzaghe's one of my favourite fighters. He's a bit similar to me. He's a southpaw, throws a lot of punches. He's another one who didn't get the full credit he was due until after he retired. But that's how boxing is.

"I've got to perform. My last couple of performances haven't been vintage James DeGale. This is the best fighting the best, the champ fighting the champ: this is proper."

DeGale, who became Britain's first Olympic gold medallist to win a world title - believes that, like Calzaghe, he does not get the credit he deserves.

Calzaghe lands a punch on Roy Jones Jr. (Frank Franklin II/AP)
Calzaghe lands a punch on Roy Jones Jr (Frank Franklin II/AP)

"I don't get the respect," he said. "I made a bit of history. If I unify the division, going across the pond, no one's ever done that in Britain.

"This is the one. I get love and support, I do have my fans, but it just feels like I look around at different fighters who haven't done half what I've done and they get so much more recognition.

"I don't get the credit, the full recognition, I don't. But after this fight, people will start respecting and knowing I'm the best."