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DeGale says third fight with Truax is possible

James DeGale

By Jim Dower: James DeGale (24-2-1, 14 KOs) avenged his previous loss to Caleb Truax (29-4-2, 18 KOs) last Saturday night in winning a 12 round unanimous decision to capture the Minnesota native’s IBF super middleweight title at the Hard Rock Hotel in Las Vegas, Nevada. The boxing public was split in who they felt won the fight.

While some fans believe that DeGale did enough to deserve the victory last night, other fans feel that Truax was the better fighter of the two. DeGale was mostly holding and moving throughout the fight. The judges scored it 114-113, 117-110 and 114-113 for DeGale.

DeGale was bleeding from a bad cut over his right eye from the third round. He says it make it hard for him to see properly. But even before the cut, DeGale was mostly holding, head-butting and grappling with Truax.

DeGale looked so incredibly bad last night. He was backing away from Truax 90 percent of the time, and just looking to hold and head-butt. It was a clinic by DeGale in how to spoil and get away with it. The referee Robert Byrd only deducted one point from DeGale in the fight in penalizing him for throwing a shoulder in the 10th. For the boxing fans that thought it was petty that Byrd deducted a point for DeGale using his shoulder, you have to realize that he was head-butting frequently early on and not losing points for it.

The referee let DeGale get away with head-butting and a massive amount of holding that was designed to neutralize Truax’s offense. When a fighter is holding as much as DeGale was, they’re supposed to be penalized by the referee. That didn’t happen last Saturday night. The referee let DeGale hold all night without deducting points. With Truax being held repeatedly and the referee doing nothing about it, DeGale was able to avoid taking punishment that might have led to him getting knocked out. It certainly would have changed the complexion of the fight if DeGale wasn’t allowed to hold.

If DeGale gives Truax a third fight, he has a better chance of holding onto his IBF title than if he faces his mandatory challenger Jose Uzcategui or if he chooses to fight WBC super middleweight champion David Benavidez or contender Caleb Plant. All three of those guys want to fight DeGale next. If the International Boxing Federation orders DeGale to fight Uzcategui next, then the only way he’s going to be able to get out of having to take that fight is if he fights Benavidez or one of the other super middleweight champions.

“If you want to see it again, we can do it,” DeGale said.

I don’t think too many boxing fans want to see DeGale and Truax face each other again. That’s not a fight that a lot of fans are talking about today because it was such a boring match to watch. The fans booed the results of the fight, as they didn’t agree with who the winner was. The fans at ringside overwhelmingly saw Truax was the better fighter.

“I’m excited James DeGale getting that belt back. Maybe we can unify. I’m ready,” WBC super middleweight champion David Benavidez said to Fighthype. “I felt like Truax was busier at the beginning, and then DeGale came back. I think the only fight that makes sense for DeGale now is me,” Benavidez said.

DeGale isn’t likely going to sit and wait until December before he defends his IBF title next, so it’s irrelevant that Benavidez wants to fight him. DeGale is going to need to get back into the ring soon by the summer to defend his IBF title. That means he’ll likely either face Truax next or one of the other contenders ion the division.

”I’m the only guy that’s got the WBC belt. I’m ready,” Benavidez said. ”I’m the fight that makes sense. We can do it in December. I believe so,” Benavidez said when asked if DeGale still has more fights in him. “He’s a great fighter. I don’t want to say he’s faded or nothing. He’s a great fighter. I feel like I’d stop him. It would be a great fight for the fans. That’s the fight I want,” Benavidez said.

Benavidez isn’t the biggest money fight available to DeGale in terms of the champions. DeGale, 32, can make a lot more money by fighting the winner of the World Boxing Super Series finals fight between WBA Super World super middleweight champion George Groves and Callum Smith. If DeGale can get the winner of that fight, he’ll make a bundle. However, Groves won’t be fighting Smith until the summer, and it’s not realistic to assume that the IBF will allow DeGale to sit and wait on the fight without ordering him to defend his title against mandatory challenger Jose Uzcategui next. DeGale can circumvent that fight if he can sig for a unification fight, but the only guy that is possibly available is WBA regular champion Tyron Zeuge, and there probably isn’t a lot of money for DeGale in fighting him.

”He got his belt back. He gave it back to him,” super middleweight contender Caleb Plant said to Fighthype about Truax losing his IBF belt to DeGale. ”It was crazy, man. Nobody thought he [DeGale] won the fight. Nobody did. That’s why everybody was booing.”

Plant is ranked No.6 with the IBF, so he’s not going to be able to get fight with DeGale unless he wants it. Plant showed up at the weigh-in last Friday and jawed back and forth with DeGale. Plant is clearly working hard trying to get a title shot, but it’s not likely to happen. Plant isn’t a big enough name for the boxing pubic to put pressure on DeGale to take the fight, and he’s not the mandatory challenger, so the IBF isn’t going to order DeGale to face him.

“No, he’ll probably do a trilogy with him,” Plant said about his belief that DeGale will fight Truax again in a third fight. ”He’s sloppy, man. He’s awkward, he’s a southpaw, he runs, and he holds. Sometimes it’s hard to get people out like that out of there. He’s just a survivor,” Plant said of DeGale.

DeGale and Traux are now 1-1 in their two fights. Truax beat the listless looking DeGale by a 12 round majority decision last December in London, England. If they choose to have a third fight, they at least have an excuse to get to the boxing public. That doesn’t mean that there will be interest from fans are from Showtime. Neither fight was particularly compelling.

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