By Ian S Palmer
There’s a Super Middleweight Championship bout at the Copper Box Arena in London, England this Saturday, December 9th when IBF Champion James DeGale of England takes on Caleb Truax of the U.S. The 12-round bout can be seen live in the U.S. on Showtime YouTube while fans in the UK can catch all of the action live on BoxNation. DeGale’s last outing was in January when he fought to a majority draw with WBC Champion Badou Jack. Truax last fought in August when he stopped KeAndrae Leatherwood in the 10th round.
The 31-year-old DeGale won the vacant IBF title in May of 2015 when he beat Andre Dirrell by unanimous decision and then defended it against Lucian Bute by unanimous decision in November of 2015. He’s a southpaw and former 2008 Olympic gold medalist who became the first boxer in British history to win both an Olympic gold medal as well as a pro world championship. He climbs into the ring with a record of 23-1-1 with 14 Kos.
DeGale stands 6-feet tall with a 74-inch reach and has fought 171 rounds since turning pro in 2009. His current knockout ratio is 56 per cent an d he’s not known as a big puncher. Other than facing Jack, Dirrell and Bute he’s also beaten the likes of Paul Smith, Marco Antonio Periban and Fulgencio Zuniga. His lone defeat was a 12-round majority decision against fellow Englishman George Groves in May of 2011. DeGale’s a solid boxer with good speed, decent power and good chin.
The 34-year-old Truax of Osseo, Minnesota stands six-feet tall and possesses a 73-inch reach, which means he’s the same height as DeGale with a minimal one-inch reach disadvantage. He has a record of 28-3-2 and lost a world title bid to Daniel Jacobs in 2015 when he was stopped in the 12th round. Truax’s other defeats were also to former world champions as he dropped a unanimous 10-round decision to Jermain Taylor in 2012 and was stopped in the first round by Anthony Dirrell in April, 2016.
Truax has fought 203 rounds since turning pro in 2007 and has a current knockout ratio of 53 per cent. His draws came against Ossie Duran in 2014 and Phil Williams in 2011. He’s fought a few of other good pros in Antwun Echols, Matt Vanda, Don George and Derek Ennis, but none of them are in the elite category. Truax has the ability to give anybody a tough time of it, especially if they’re not at the top of the game, so DeGale can’t afford to take him lightly.
Truax’s been stopped twice, but doesn’t really have a weak chin. He’s generally competitive in his bouts against Grade A boxers, but typically falls just short. He can be a handful though and should be a decent test for DeGale. The champion is fighting for the first time in England since 2014 and this is his first fight since undergoing shoulder surgery following his draw with Badou Jack in January.
Truax will put in a good effort here and he might frustrate DeGale at times. However, DeGale is the better boxer here and will be motivated in front of his hometown fans. He’s also looking to avenge his defeat against George Groves, so look for him to retain his belt against Truax.