CALEB TRUAX, with a series of high-profile losses behind him, stunned the boxing world in December when he beat James DeGale in London, snatching the IBF super-middleweight belt in the champion’s backyard.
Tomorrow night, in Las Vegas about half-a-mile down the road from the bright lights of the famous strip, inside the Hard Rock Hotel and Casino, Caleb Truax promises he will defeat him again.
DeGale claims he was hampered by a shoulder injury and – in a candid interview in this week’s Boxing News – admits that he presumed he just had to turn up to claim the victory. What he received, though, was a punishing 12-round points defeat.
Despite the nature of his reverse [above], and with just four months having elapsed since the worst performance of his career, DeGale enters the sequel as a betting favourite. Truax intends to make a mockery of the odds, again.
“I just want to go out there and silence people who said it was a fluke the first time I won,” Truax declared. “I want to prove that I belong at the top of the division. I’m going to put on a good show for the fans and retain my title.
“We’ve had four months to prepare for James DeGale. Normally I have six-to-eight weeks, so it was nice to have a drawn out and specific training camp. We really focused on the conditioning and making sure I’m reaching my peak.”
Truax’s 29-3-2 (18) record includes stoppage defeats to Anthony Dirrell, Daniel Jacobs and a points reverse to Jermain Taylor, but insists, at the age of 34, he is now at his peak.
“I’ve been through a lot in this sport. I’ve fought top guys in big fights but it finally came together last December. It meant a lot to me and now I’m prepared to put on an even better performance. I know DeGale is going to be hungry so I have to be ready for him.
“I had a great camp this fight. I knew we were going to have a rematch so I was right back in the gym in a couple of weeks. My trainer put together a great plan to help me improve and prepare for what DeGale is going to improve on. I’ll be ready for him to be 100 per cent.
“I just want to get to Saturday night and put on another great performance to retain my belt. I’m going to give it my all to bring that belt back home to Minnesota.”