James DeGale admits it’s make or break for him on Saturday evening.
If he wins his tough contest against unbeaten Brandon Gonzales in an IBF eliminator, the Harlesden fighter should get a crack at the winner of the bill topper from Wembley Stadium.
Lose, and it’s back down a treacherous snake that might see Chunky relegated to other prestigious undercards, but undercards nevertheless.
The 2008 Olympic champion would prefer to face Carl Froch in a mandatory defence of the belt rather than fierce foe and two-time nemesis George Groves, but the 28-year-old is not picky.
“It will be a massive fight whoever it is, but I would like it to be Carl Froch,” DeGale said. “Got to have more respect for someone who’s been there and down it. Who’s Groves really beat? Everybody goes on about me, but who big as he beaten apart from me controversially.”
It still goes deep his former Dale Youth club-mate from North Kensington has a title shot, and more important has twice come out on top: once as an amateur, and the other a close decision, as he alludes to, almost three years ago to the day.
But Degale picked up on the current Groves phrase: ‘everything for a reason,’ at this week's public workout in Westfield, and insists he’s a much better fighter than he was in 2011.
He explained: “I have a fantastic opportunity, and I’m not going to let it go.
The better the opposition, the better I fight. I know this guy is serious; and I know it’s going to be a tough fight.
“But I’m expecting a career best performance. I’m injury free on a massive show and in a good place mentally when I wasn’t before.”