The 30-year old landed the cleaner, crisp, more precise and accurate punches over the distance, but leaked many rounds as Rogelio Medina enjoyed spells of success during the middle and latter rounds.
"I am very disappointed, but the main thing is I’m still IBF champ. It’s a learning curve; I’ve got to work on things still.
"Skills pay the bills."
The champion, emanating from Harlesden, London, utilized his southpaw jab in the opener and left awkward angles for Medina to work through. The Mexican, 5ft 8ins tall, implemented a 'bull' style of fighting - recklessly maneuvering on the inside in pursuit of a toe-to-toe scrap. DeGale, who used his superior footwork and reflexes, made the challenger miss badly on several occasions.
Medina briefly found difficulty in rouging through DeGale's southpaw jab, but began to seize traction in the second stanza. Plodding forward, hands high, chin down - he exchanged hooks with DeGale, who, against a notably big puncher, shouldn't have committed to doing so.
Medina found range landing a solid left hook in the intermediate stage of the rounds, and to the champion's concern, forced DeGale onto the backfoot into defensive mode; bobbing and weaving, desperately trying to avoid his shots, yet at the same time arrogantly showcasing his superior head movement and overall defense.
Subsequent to losing the second round, DeGale obtained large patches of success - altering between southpaw and orthodox stances with super punch variety including pummelling right jabs, uppercuts and hooks from each hand.
While his offensive game was evidently strong, the champion conceded shots on the backfoot through unnecessarily keeping his hands low. The majority of Medina's success occurred when DeGale kept his gloves at hip-height, and further underlined the demoralization felt by Medina who, when at one time clawed his way back into proceedings, was humiliated in the fourth round where he pinned DeGale against the ropes and offloaded shots, yet failed to land a single one courtesy of DeGale's classy head movement to swiftly avoid a tide of fire.
In the seventh session of action, DeGale and Medina both increased the pace and exchanged bombs. Switching from southpaw to orthodox, DeGale watched a savage right hook rip through the guard of Medina, who evidently felt the power yet wouldn't be discouraged.
DeGale ridiculously binned the majority of the latter rounds - keeping his hands low while entering range allowed Medina to land countless straight right hands and hooks. Given the quality of
opposition, DeGale hadn't impressed many considering he previously promised to stop Medina.
During the final three rounds, Medina's relentless onslaughts kept on coming. Charging forward with a tight guard, he pinned DeGale onto the ropes and unleashed barrages of scoring shots. Some missed, but more significantly, more crept through the guard.
DeGale's workrate slowed in the eleventh stanza, with Medina solidifying his case as the potential winner. While his attacks lacked consistent accuracy, he was still landing more eye-catching shots over DeGale who lost the majority of rounds, including the twelfth.
Despite the valiant effort from Rogelio Medina throughout the contest, James DeGale successfully retained his IBF super-middleweight title with a unanimous decision victory 117-111 x2, 115-113.