CALEB TRUAX was strong, gritty and determined but he could not claw a round off IBF super-middleweight Caleb Plant on Saturday (January 30) behind closed doors at the Shrine Exposition Center in Los Angeles.
Truax had briefly held this IBF title in 2017, before James DeGale reclaimed it in their rematch. But at 37 years old, with five losses, including defeats to DeGale, Jermain Taylor, Danny Jacobs and Anthony Dirrell, two draws and 31 wins behind him, Truax is now a veteran. Plant was notably sharper, fresher and that step ahead of him throughout their 12 rounds.
From the first round Nashville’s Plant was landing good flurries. Truax tracked forward but the champion burst off the backfoot to tag him with combinations of punches. On the balls of his feet, Plant bounced into attack and moved out easily, his lateral movement offsetting Truax throughout.
The champion’s greater variety was striking. He hooked off his lead uppercut, popped in head shots to knock Truax off balance. Plant feinted with a right to double up with his left, hitting his challenger with unexpected blows.
Truax marked up round his eye and Plant drew blood from his nose. But the Minnesotan absorbed punishment. Under pressure in the 10th round, he refused to wilt, digging a shot to the body to repel Plant and still scooping rights over the top to catch the champion with glancing blows in the final two rounds. It was never enough to pocket a round, let alone the contest. Plant shut him out 120-108 for all three judges; Zachary Young, Lou Moret and Max DeLuca.
Jerry Cantu refereed.
“I felt great. I dominated every round. I hardly got touched. He wasn’t giving me much either,’’ Plant said. “I felt like, early on, he was just looking to survive and move away. Then a third of the way into the fight, I hurt my hand. It’s kind of swollen. I felt something similar before. I’ve got to sit down and get it checked out but we’ll see. I don’t think it will hinder any upcoming fights.
“A champion can adjust to anything. It’s about staying focused, staying disciplined and sticking to the game plan. Maybe the injury hindered me here and there but I felt I used it well – I got a dominant victory, a shutout on all three cards.”