DeGale says he’ll retire if he loses to Truax on Saturday

By Boxing News - 04/04/2018 - Comments

Image: DeGale says he’ll retire if he loses to Truax on Saturday

By Tim Royner: James DeGale says his career is on the line this Saturday night in his rematch against IBF super middleweight champion Caleb Truax at the Hard Rock Hotel in Las Vegas, Nevada. DeGale, 32, lost to Truax by a 12 round majority decision last December in London, England.

(Photo credit: Scott Hirano/SHOWTIME)

The Truax vs. DeGale 2 fight is taking place on the Erislandy Lara vs. Jarrett Hurd. That’s the fight that most boxing fans are talking about, not the Truax-DeGale 2 fight, which is taking a back seat to that match.

Showtime Boxing will be televising the card in the U.S. Also, on the card is former junior middleweight champion Sergio Mora facing Alfredo Angulo junior middleweight contender Julian ‘J-Rock’ Williams facing Nathaniel Gallimore, welterweight Emmanuel Medina facing Saul Corral, super featherweight Xavier Martinez battling TBA and flyweight Ava Knight fighting Mayela Perez.

DeGale (23-2-1, 14 KOs) blames the loss to Truax on him coming off of shoulder surgery, and not making sure that shoulder was 100 percent before he took the fight. This time, DeGale says he’s fully ready to face the 34-year-old Truax. So confident that he’s going to beat Truax (29-3-2, 18 KOs) that he’s put his career on the line for the fight.

“He really believes that my shoulder is an excuse but we will see. I’m so confident of winning this fight and if I don’t I will retire,” DeGale said via

As a big money maker, DeGale might be right about it being time for him to retire if he loses to Truax. DeGale cannot lose this fight if he wants to continue to be seen as a relevant fighter in the 168 lb. weight class. As it is right now, DeGale is no longer viewed as one of the best fighters in the division by boxing fans.

The best fighters in the super middleweight division nowadays are these fighters: George Groves, Callum Smith, Gilberto ‘Zurdo’ Ramirez, Tyron Zeuge, Caleb Truax, David Benavidez, Jose Uzcategui and Jesse Hart. Some of those guys aren’t world champions, but it doesn’t matter. They’re seen as some of the best fighters. DeGale’s future is very uncertain. Even if DeGale wins this fight on Saturday, his future is still going to be seen as uncertain, because there are a lot of younger fighters in the division that have surpassed DeGale.

If DeGale does choose to retire if he loses to Truax again, many boxing fans will miss him. DeGale was a very entertaining fighter during his prime. The fans can remember DeGale by his impressive wins over Andre Dirrell, Paul Smith, Marco Antonio Periban, Lucian Bute, Rogelio Medina and Dyah Davis.

Unfortunately, DeGale doesn’t have a lot of high profile signature victories on his 9-year resume. Bute and Dirrell were far past their prime at the time that DeGale fought them. Even them not being at their best, they gave DeGale all he could handle. In DeGale’s toughest fights of his against George Groves and Badou Jack, he struggled badly. Groves beat DeGale by a 12 round majority decision in 2011, and Jack-DeGale fight was scored a 12 round draw.

DeGale looked good in a while. It’s not just his last fight against Truax. DeGale looked bad against Badou Jack in their fight in January of last year. DeGale was fortunate not to have been given a loss in that fight, as he was punished badly in the last six rounds by Jack. The judges scored the fight a 12 round draw, but it was a fight that could have gone to Jack. He finished strong and looked like the better fighter. DeGale is now training with former two division world champion Paulie Malignaggi, and he’s been shaking things up a little bit with different training methods to try and help him. DeGale needs something at this point in his career to get him back to where he once was.

“If I can’t beat Truax and look good then I’ve given up my title and knock it on the head,” DeGale said. Truax is a tough, strong competitor but if I can’t beat him that means I have gone backwards.”

I wouldn’t say that DeGale has gone backwards with his career if he fails to look good or if he loses to Truax. It’s more like DeGale has gone downwards. DeGale has never looked so bad before in his last two fights, and it’s looking more like a case of DeGale dealing with the wear and tear that comes from some hard fights that he’s had. DeGale only acknowledges that his last two fights against Truax and Jack were tough ones for him.

The reality is that DeGale’s three previous fights before that were tough for him against Rogelio Medina, Lucian Bute and Andre Dirrell. Each of those guys was able to land a lot of shots on DeGale. Although DeGale won all three of those fights, he was hit a lot and that led to the point where he looked shopworn in his fights against Jack and Truax. The damage that DeGale took in the last two fights merely added to the wear that was already there for him.

Surprisingly, DeGale has been talking about wanting to fight the winner of the World Boxing Super Series tournament finals between George Groves and Callum Smith. DeGale says he’s not looking past Truax, but it sure appears that way. That was DeGale’s problem last time he fought Truax. He was thinking about how he would take on Groves again and make a ton of money in that fight. Instead, DeGale wound up getting beaten up and exposed by Truax in front of his own boxing fans at the Copper Box Arena in London.

Truax didn’t do anything spectacular in that fight. He just took the fight to DeGale and wore him down with pressure, hard power shots and a lot of uppercuts to the head. Truax says he scouted out the DeGale vs. Jack fight, and he saw how Badou was able to give him a lot of problems with his pressure. Truax did exactly what Jack did in taking the fight to DeGale and keeping him pinned to the ropes for the full 12 rounds. The judge scored the DeGale vs. Truax fight 114-114 had to have been watching another match on that night, because there was only one winner in that fight and it wasn’t DeGale.

If DeGale wants to win this fight on Saturday, he’s got to stay in the center of the ring this time. A big reason why DeGale lost to Truax last December was because he was continually dashing back to the ropes to cover up. No one told DeGale to do that, and certainly his surgically repaired right shoulder wasn’t the reason why he kept flying to the ropes to cover. It just looked like DeGale didn’t have the stamina, and he didn’t like the way Truxa was hitting him hard when he was in the center of the ring. The thing is, it was even worse for DeGale when he fought against the ropes, because that made it easy for Truax to hit him with uppercuts. DeGale was at the mercy of Truax each time he would fight with his back against the ropes.

DeGale is going to admit that he’s simply not good enough if he loses to Truax on Saturday, because he gave the Minnesota native no credit for beating him last December by blaming it on his surgically repaired shoulder. DeGale insists that his shoulder is fine now, so he’s run out of excuses to use if he loses this fight.