Caleb Truax: “I have a lot to prove.”

By Gordon Marino on April 3, 2018
Caleb Truax: “I have a lot to prove.”
“I took ten and a half years of experience and wrapped it into a couple of right hands.”

On Saturday, April 7th, Truax will defend his super-middleweight belt in a rematch with DeGale at the Hard Rock in Las Vegas…

In December 2017, Caleb “Golden” Truax (29-3-2, 18 knockouts) became the second Minnesotan in history to win a world title, when he scored a majority decision over former IBF, 168 pound king James DeGale (23-2-1, 14 knockouts). Truax notched this major upset on DeGale’s hometurf in England. On Saturday, April 7th, Truax will defend his super-middleweight belt in a rematch with DeGale at the Hard Rock in Las Vegas.

DeGale concedes that in their first tussle he took Truax too lightly, as a veritable tune-up for bigger paydays against more prominent foes like David Benavidez and George Groves. Though underestimating your opponent is a mortal sin in boxing, at the time of their meeting the 34-year-old Truax was not highly ranked, having been cold-cocked by both Anthony Dirrell (whom DeGale beat in a unanimous decision) and Daniel Jacobs.

Looking back on his first meeting with DeGale, Truax said, “I was just ready to roll. I took ten and a half years of experience and wrapped it into a couple of right hands”—right hands with which he frequently shook his surprised opponent. 

A former football standout, Truax credits some of his success to his gridiron days. He explains, “Coming from a football background I was used to watching film. I must have watched DeGale’s fight with Badou Jack 30 times.”

In their study, he and his team concluded that the southpaw slickster does not like to be pressured and that is precisely what Truax applied to the overconfident Englishman—relentless pressure. Truax looked the stronger of the two. He cut off the ring, moved his punches up and down, and fired effective uppercuts.

Still, DeGale continues to shrug off the man who copped his crown, saying, “Caleb Truax is not on my level. I’m miles above him. On April 7th, I’m going to show everyone why and show everyone what I’m all about.”

DeGale blames his December loss to rushing back from a shoulder injury. Truax is not buying any of it, saying, “I think his injury talk is an excuse. He said his arm and shoulder felt fine heading into and immediately after the fight last December. I don’t believe any of that injury talk. It means nothing to me.”

A graduate of both the University of Minnesota and Tough Man Tournaments, Truax said, “The great thing about the last fight is that I came out of it with no injuries, I was back in the gym before Christmas. Normally I only have about six weeks to prepare for an opponent. But this time around, we knew who we were coming back for and had a long time to prepare.”

As though prepping for the Super Bowl, Truax said, “We’re working on adjustments that we expect he’s making and things he’s probably doing to get better. We’ll see what he comes up with on fight night but it’ll be up to me to counter.” In other words he and his brain trust are figuring out what adjustments to make to DeGale’s adjustments!

Truax was given the moniker “Golden” by his promoter Tony Grygelko, who reasoned that it fit because Caleb is a University of Minnesota alum, i.e., a “Golden Gopher.” However, Ron Lyke, Truax’s longtime manager said, “Caleb is Golden because he is perfect. He listens, always stays in shape and trains hard.” But with a glimmer in his eye, Lyke added, “Well, maybe near perfect. He could jab a little more.” And in the DeGale rematch Truax should also think about dropping a few more left hooks, since the hook steers southpaws into the right hand, which is the Minnesotan’s most powerful weapon. 

One thing is for sure, Truax will press for a dog fight on the ropes while DeGale will aim to keep the fray in open space with his snapping jab and lateral movement.

Asked how his motivation as a title-holder stacks up against his motivation as a challenger, Truax bristles, “I have a lot to prove. Many people (DeGale included) believe the win in December was just a fluke. I was an underdog then and even after beating him and winning the title, I am an underdog again. So believe me, I am even more motivated for this fight than I was for the first one.” 

Gordon Marino is a professor of Philosophy at St. Olaf College and an active boxing trainer. His THE EXISTENTIALIST’S SURVIVAL GUIDE: HOW TO LIVE AUTHENTICALLY IN AN INAUTHENTIC AGE will be published by Harper/One in April.

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James DeGale vs Caleb Truax 2017-12-09



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  1. Koolz 03:35pm, 04/03/2018

    I hope Traux beats the crap out of him again!
    and Degale retires.  Because he lost to Jack!

    and Good on Traux!  Just get the job done sir!

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