Hearn doubts DeGale will fight again after loss to Truax
By Scott Gilfoid: Promoter Eddie Hearn considers James DeGale’s once promising pro career on the brink of implosion following his upset loss to Caleb Truax last Saturday night in London, UK. Hearn has doubts whether DeGale (23-2-1, 14 KOs) has enough interest in boxing for him to carry on with his career and come back from the defeat to become a world champion again at super middleweight.
DeGale. 31, was beaten by Truax (29-3-2, 18 KOs) by a 12 round majority decision in a fight in which he soaked up huge punishment though most of the bout. The judges had the fight close, but it wasn’t hardly a close fight. DeGale was a tired out punching bag from the 3rd round, and he’s lucky to have been given any rounds at all after the 1st. That was his best round. It was one prolonged beating for DeGale after round 1. DeGale claimed he should have won the fight. You can give DeGale a break for him being a little deluded, because he took a lot of head shots in the fight and he might not have been thinking clearly. DeGale then second guessed his decision to come back so soon after his shoulder surgery on his right shoulder. He says his shoulder didn’t feel right during the fight. However, DeGale wasn’t doing much with his left hand in the fight either. If it was just a problem with DeGale’s right shoulder, then he should have been able to fire off shots with his left hand. We didn’t see that from DeGale. He was covering up against the ropes for most of the fight.
Hearn firmly believes that he would have turned DeGale into a pay-per-view star if he’d stayed in the UK following his win over Andre Dirrell in 2015. Of course, even if DeGale did turn into a PPV star, he would still be right where he is today if he had fought Badou Jack and Lucian Bute. Those fighters landed a lot of shots on DeGale, and they put some mileage on him. That seems to be the biggest problem with DeGale. It’s the wear and tear from his difficult fights.
It was a mistake on DeGale’s part to take the fight with the 34-year-old Truax without a rematch clause in place. DeGale should have thought ahead instead of assuming he’d win the fight. In fairness to DeGale, he might have noted how Truax was obliterated by Anthony Dirrell in a 1st round knockout in 2016, and thought that he could do the same thing with him. The problem is, DeGale isn’t a puncher like Dirrell. He doesn’t have his power, pinpoint accuracy or his same attack-oriented instincts. Dirrell has always been a monster inside the ring. DeGale is nothing like Dirrell, and it’s not surprising that he couldn’t do what the talented American did in smashing Truax.
“Unless he has the desire to come back, he should leave the sport,” said Hearn to IFL TV. “You want to go into a fight in a voluntary defence and not have a rematch clause? What are you playing at? Who’s responsible for that? You know why? Because he doesn’t have a promoter. It’s been a shambles since he won that world title,” said Hearn.
Hearn probably wouldn’t have done any better with DeGale even if he’d followed his path by staying in the UK instead of becoming a road warrior. For DeGale to get popular in the UK, he would have had to fight the likes of George Groves, Callum Smith and Chris Eubank Jr. It’s extremely doubtful Hearn could have made any of those fights for DeGale in the last 2 years. DeGale wouldn’t have gained any traction with his career if he’d stayed in the UK and fought lower level fringe contenders, which is likely what we would have seen Hearn feeding him. My guess is Hearn would have matched DeGale the way he’s matched heavyweight Anthony Joshua by putting him in with a lot of weak opposition to make him look better than he is. Now that Joshua is stepping it up slightly in facing old timers like 41-year-old Wladimir Klitschko and Carlos Takam, we’re seeing that he’s not the fighter that many boxing fans thought he was. Hearn wouldn’t turn DeGale into a superstar by feeding him fringe level fighters one after another. Without the actual talent to succeed and stay at the top, DeGale would be right where he is today having been beaten soundly by Truax and looking at a bleak future.
Hearn sees DeGale in a terrible position when getting fights with Chris Eubank Jr. and Groves. He sees DeGale in a weak negotiating position where he would have to take the small money to get either of those fights. It goes without saying that DeGale would have to take the smaller cut to get a fight against Groves or Eubank Jr. But if he beats them, then he’ll be right back at the top in getting a much better deal for the rematch. Unfortunately, I don’t see DeGale beating either of those guys. If DeGale can’t beat a guy like Truax, he certainly won’t defeat Eubank Jr. and Groves.
“They [potential fights with the pair] are in a terrible position,” Hearn said. “They’re probably dead, but they’re certainly dead in terms of how much he’s going to get. It would have been hard enough as him as world champion.”
DeGale isn’t going in the direction of a fight with Groves or Eubank Jr. He’s talking about wanting to fight Truax again. It’s still unclear whether DeGale will be able to get a rematch with Truax. It’ll be up to Truax’s management whether they want to take that fight with DeGale. If Truax can sit on his IBF 168 lb. title and wait for the World Boxing Super Series tournament to end, he can fight the winner of that fight in a unification contest and likely make a ton of money against the likes of Groves, Eubank Jr. or Callum Smith. That’s a far better deal for Truax than it would be for him to throw a bone to DeGale and give him a rematch right now. Truax can always fight DeGale again in the future after he’s fought the WBSS tournament winner. DeGale isn’t going anywhere. If DeGale was a big star and capable of bringing in a lot of money, then a second fight against him would make sense. It’s better for Truax to wait until the WBSS tournament concludes before he looks to fight again.
“I’m not sure he’ll fight again,” Hearn said about DeGale. “If you’re not in love with the sport, if you’re cutting corners, if you’re not living the life, it will catch up with you. He should be eating people like Truax for breakfast,” said Hearn.
DeGale hasn’t been eating any of his opponents for breakfast in quite some time. Why would he all of a sudden show talent that wasn’t there to begin with to blow out a fighter like Truax? DeGale struggled against Badou Jack, Lucian Bute, Andre Dirrell and Rogelio Medina. Those fights showed that DeGale is not a major talent at 167. Hearn doesn’t seem to understand that DeGale is not the kind of fighter that could ever destroy a guy like Truax.