By Ben Jacobs
The middleweight division is currently one of boxing’s more interesting weight categories, not least with the emergence of Gennady Golovkin as one of the sport’s most exciting performers. Minnesota’s Caleb Truax has quietly been going about his business and is coming off a stunning 6th round knockout of solid contender Donovan George which has launched him into the consciousness of hardcore boxing fans.
Speaking to BoxingScene prior to an afternoon training session, the articulate Truax reflected back on that big win.
“I wasn’t surprised but I didn’t expect to get him out of there in six rounds, I expected it to go the full ten and I was ready for it to be the toughest fight of my career.
“I hurt him right away in the first round and almost stopped him. Looking back I’m glad I didn’t because people would have thought it was just a fluke knockout type deal. After the first round I pretty much dominated the whole fight and was in complete control.”
The 29-year-old has fought the majority of his career in his home state which has seen him build a good local following. However, he now feels that the boxing public at large will have taken note of his talent, particularly following his most recent performance.
“Coming from Minnesota you don’t get too much attention here. It’s a small market in terms of fighters, but my promoter and manager did a good job of finding me opponents that would help me get better along the way and fighting solid guys who were a step up in competition.
“I think now people are taking notice of the hard work I’ve put in and the good job my team has done. Now I’ve seen pretty much every style, quick guys, tall guys, big punchers, left handed fighters. I’ve just started to break through on the national scene and people are taking notice, and I’m gonna be here for a while.”
Early in his career Truax beat Welsh fighter Kerry Hope who recently suffered a KO loss to Darren Barker, the man who will be hoping to dethrone Daniel Geale when they battle for the IBF title on August 17. Would Caleb be interested in fighting another British or Irish boxer?
“I’d love to get in there with [Matthew] Macklin, there was talk with it with his promoter Lou DiBella a while back. All of those British middleweights like Barker and [Martin] Murray are world-class fighters and I’d like to think I’m on that level and can see myself in there with any one of those guys.”
Truax returns to action on September 21 when he will face fellow Minnesota resident Cerresso Fort. The two men have a history having fought in the amateurs and it is a battle that Caleb is relishing.
“I know everything there is to know about him. I’ve seen most of his fights. He has fought on my undercard five or six times.
“We were looking for an opponent and then this guy called my promoter out of the blue and said he wanted to fight me. He has called me out before and we offered him more money than he should have got, and ultimately he backed down.
“He’s a good local fighter but he’s not on the same level as I am as far as technique or skill. I’m not sure what he’s thinking trying to get in the ring with me but he’s in for a rude awakening come September 21.
“He actually beat me in the amateurs. I had around 30 amateur fights and he had over 100. He beat me on points so there’s definitely a local grudge match angle to this fight and a lot of my friends know his friends, so there’s trash talk going back and forth.”
The biggest name that Truax has faced thus far in his career is former undisputed champion Jermain Taylor. Although he lost the bout on the cards, Truax did manage to floor Taylor with a big right hand in the 9th round.
“It was closer than the cards had it but he deserved to win because I wasn’t active enough,” he admitted.
“Before that fight I hadn’t fought for 11 months cause of some promotional stuff. It showed in the fight, I was a little rusty starting off. I had never been on that level before on television or against a guy of that caliber.
“I learnt so much from that loss and it made me a better fighter. It might have been worse for me had I won cause I might have ended up fighting a guy I wasn’t ready for, but because I lost, I went back and worked on things and I’m a way better fighter, and that has showed.
“I’d love a rematch. It still pisses me off when someone brings it up in a conversation.
“When I walk in the gym we have a picture of when I knocked him down. Every day I want to tear it down and throw it in the trash. It still burns, and that’s a good thing, it drives me to be better. I don’t know what the course of his career is taking but if it presents itself I’ll take a rematch.
“I guarantee if he goes down on the canvas he isn’t getting up next time.”
In the modern era many fighters tend to have long periods of inactivity. Indeed, most of the sports’ top names only compete once or twice a year, but regular fights seem to be of key importance to Truax who has already fought twice in 2013 and competed three times in 2012.
“I like to fight as much as possible, kind of like a throwback to the old school.
“I’ll fight in September, then if everything goes well I’ll be back in November and then again in January, so staying active is definitely key to staying sharp and improving, and it’s not bad for the checkbook either!”