Caleb Truax vs. James DeGale 2 on April 7
By Jim Dower: IBF super middleweight champion Caleb ‘Golden’ Truax (29-3-2, 18 KOs) and former IBF 168lb champion James ‘Chunky’ DeGale (23-2-1, 14 KOs) will be fighting each other in a rematch on April 27 in the co-feature bout on the Erislsandy Lara vs. Jarrett Hurd unification match at The Joint at Hard Rock Hotel and Casino in Las Vegas. The card will be televised on Showtime Boxing. The start time is at 10:00 p.m. ET.
This is 34-year-old Truax’s chance to prove that his 12 round majority decision win over DeGale last December wasn’t a fluke thing. Truax wasn’t given much credit from boxing fans for beating DeGale, as they blamed his defeat on him coming back from shoulder surgery and a long layoff. It was a monstrous upset for Truax to hand the 32-year-old DeGale a defeat.
Before that fight, DeGale had looked almost unbeatable during a 6-year period from 2011 to 2017. DeGale fought to a 12 round draw against Badou Jack last year in January 2017. That was a hard fight for DeGale and came out of it with a shoulder injury as well as him his front teeth knocked out. DeGale had surgery on his shoulder after the fight, and then used 11 months to slowly come back.
It obviously wasn’t enough time for DeGale to rehab the shoulder because he looked like a shell of his former self when he got inside the ring with Truax. DeGale was backed up over and over against the ropes by Truax and was hit hard frequently. Traux beat DeGale in front of his own home fans in London, England.
If the Truax vs. DeGale fight were to take place in the UK, it likely would be a main event level fight, but in the U.S, it’s not a big enough match-up to make it a top of the bill level contest.
Truax showed that champions like DeGale can’t afford to take someone lightly just because they’re ranked low at No.15 and have been beaten in the past more than once.
Truax literally was picked from the bottom of the IBF’s top 15 by DeGale and his management last December. On paper, DeGale had the perfect opponent in Truax. He was a guy that had been knocked out in the 1st round by Anthony Dirrell in April 2016 and stopped in the 12th round by Daniel Jacobs in a failed title challenger in April of 2015. April has been a bad month for Truax for 2015 and 2016.
Truax can snap out of his April funk by beating DeGale for a second time. Last time Truax fought DeGale, he had to beat him in front of a large crowd of pro-DeGale boxing fans at the Copper Box Arena in London. On April 7th, Truax will have the boxing fans on his side when he faces DeGae, as the fights taking place in Las Vegas. That should help Truax. Things are looking good for Truax, He has a 3-fight winning streak going for him, he’s facing a guy he already showed he can beat with ease in DeGale, and he’ll be fighting in front of a fan-friendly audience.
“They made the right call on the decision in England, and I expect to be even more dominant this time around,” Truax said. “I am planning to really just beat up James DeGale and get the job done in more efficient fashion this time.”
Another loss for DeGale to Truax could be the crushing blow to his once successful boxing career. Losing to Truax twice will a sign that it might be time for DeGale to retire from the sport. It’ll depend on how badly DeGale loses, of course. If he loses as bad as he did last time he fought Truax, then it’s game over for him. There are better fighters than Truax in the super middleweight division, and DeGale would have no chance against those guys. If he can’t beat Truax, then he’ll not be able to defeat the likes of George Groves, David Benavidez, Callum Smith, Gilberto Ramirez or Tyron Zeuge.
Truax’s only loses in his career have come against Jermain Taylor, Daniel Jacobs and Anthony Dirrell. Truax also has a draw against Ossie Durran. Truax has only failed against good opposition.
DeGale has been saying that his loss to Truax was because he came back too soon from shoulder surgery. A lot of boxing fans agree with DeGale. On April 7th, DeGale can prove that theory by getting inside the ring and handing Truax his fourth card defeat.
If Truax beats DeGale a second time, he could improve his chances of fighting the winner of the George Groves vs. Callum Smith in their World Boxing Super Series final. The winner of the Groves-Smith fight will have a lot of boxing fans excited about them. If Truax can somehow get a shot at the winner of that fight, he would have a big chance to prove himself against one of the best fighters in the division in either Groves or Smith.
“I’m happy to have the opportunity to rematch Truax and regain my IBF title,” said DeGale. “I am not going to make excuses for my poor performance, actions speak louder than words. I am excited to be boxing in Vegas and on Showtime again. The real JD will be back on fight night!”
DeGale has to rematch Truax. Even though DeGale could get a nice payday fighting Groves, Smith or David Benavidez, his cache wouldn’t be what it once was if he walks away from the Truax without at least trying to avenge the loss. If DeGale walked away from the loss, he’d in a bad position to get the big purse that he’d dreamed about fighting Groves in a rematch. Before the loss to Truax, DeGale was talking about how much money he’d make in a rematch with Groves. That seems like a million years ago, because the loss to Traux wrecked DeGale’s plans.
DeGale caotured a gold medal 10 years ago in the 2008 Olympics for Great Britain. But unlike 2012 Olympic gold medalist Anthony Joshua, who also comes from the UK, DeGale has never been able to gain a large fan base in his own country. Despite being a very talented fighter and considered the best at 168 after Andre Ward moved up in weight, DeGale has not gotten the attention from his fans in the UK the way Joshua has. DeGale won the IBF super middleweight title in 2015 with a win over Andre Dirrrell, and he then held onto the belt for 2 years until losing to Truax last December. He was the least likely fighter that was viewed as someone that would beat DeGale.
For the most part, DeGale looked good in his 12 round draw against Badou Jack last year in January. DeGale dominated the first half of the fight while Jack came on strong in the second half to get a draw. Neither fighter showed that they deserved the win. DeGale could have won if he’d been able to maintain the energy he had in the first 6 rounds of the contest. When DeGale was at full strength against Jack, he was dominating the fight.
The keys to victory for DeGale against Truax are these things:
• Stay off the ropes
• Don’t stand in front of him
• Jab frequently
• Throw fast 1-2 combinations and then get out
• Tie him up when necessary
• Fight hard early in the contest