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 Last update:  7/15/2014       Read more by David P. Greisman         
   
Truax Talks Return Against Ennis Bout, Top Guys at 160
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by David P. Greisman

Caleb Truax led off 2014 with the season premiere of ESPN2s Friday Night Fights, but the evening ended with a disappointing draw against Ossie Duran. Now the Minnesota middleweight will be returning to the network on July 25 in the co-feature slot, facing Derek Ennis in a card taking place at the UIC Pavilion in Chicago.

Truax, 30, is 23-1-2 with 14 KOs. He spoke with BoxingScene.com in early July about the upcoming bout, a change he made after the Duran fight, his hopes for moving up in the 160-pound division, and what he thinks of the top names in his weight class.

BoxingScene.com: How do you feel about the change in opponents from Medina to Ennis?

Truax: I guess I have plenty of time to adjust. I have like four weeks in advance to adjust to the switch in opponents, so its not that big of a deal as far as not having time to adapt. Obviously its always tough to lose the original guy. Medina was a tough fight, and Ennis is a different challenge, but it should be a fight as well.

BoxingScene.com: Do you feel, in terms of what the wins would do for your career, that a win over Ennis is more or less meaningful or as meaningful than a win over Medina wouldve been?

Truax: I think its probably about even. Neither one of them is like a real top guy. But theyre both solid and respective and have fought on TV before and had decent outings on ESPN lately. Theyre both good wins, but nothing thats going to vault me into the Top 10 or anything like that.

BoxingScene.com: How do you feel about that? You have this goal in mind, but youre not facing a guy whos going to vault you into the Top 10. Is that frustrating for you?

Truax: It is what it is. Im not in a rush to do anything. I realize that fighting on an ESPN card, Im in the co-main event, I realize that the moneys not there to get a top guy to challenge me. Im just working my way towards there, and hopefully after this fight, Ill get something a little bigger and work my way towards a title shot or an eliminator or something like that.

BoxingScene.com: How familiar are you with Ennis? I see he had a loss to Jonathan Gonzalez in January 2013.

Truax: Thats the one weve been watching the most, because its the most recent one [Note: Ennis did return from a 14-month layoff this past March to defeat an 11-6-1 foe named Emil Gonzalez]. Ive seen that fight. Ive seen a couple of his fights on YouTube. Were focusing mostly on that one with [Jonathan] Gonzalez. Hes alright. I think Gonzalez let him stay in the fight when he shouldve kinda put him away. But hes a decent fighter. Hes pretty slick. He can box a little bit. Its just up to me to discourage him

BoxingScene.com: When we spoke after your fight in January, youd mentioned youd wanted to be back sooner than this you were pondering March and then perhaps even May as well. What happened with the layoff?

Truax: It kind of sucked. I couldve fought in March on a local card here in Minneapolis. And because [promoters] Warriors and Seconds Out thought I was going to get something bigger in May, they held me off that card. Then the one in May didnt turn out, so I missed out on both those ones. And Id already had a vacation planned for my buddys wedding, so I said, Screw it, Ill just fight in July.

BoxingScene.com: Do you feel like youre getting rusty at all with the layoff? I know its not long when we consider what other fighters regularly do, but still

Truax: No, not at all. I made some changes with how I work out. Ive been working out with a personal trainer named Josh Hutton from Body Evolution Fitness. Ive been doing a lot of strength training and working on my diet a lot with him. So it actually gave us a little change to get more groundwork laid, so I think Ill be better than ever come July 25. Ill be a lot stronger, and I wont have to do as much to get done to weight. I think itll end up working out for the better.

BoxingScene.com: Whats the difference between the kind of training youre doing now and what you used to do?

Truax: I always did conditioning training and stuff like that, like every boxer does. [This is] kind of like what Robert Guerrero did. I read a story about him; he started doing CrossFit, and thats kind of like the same type of stuff were doing, just to work muscle strength and conditioning together. Its been real beneficial. I can tell the difference in sparring and just how I feel in the ring as the rounds go on, and especially my leg strength is definitely better than it was before.

BoxingScene.com: Are you doing less running?

Truax: Maybe a little bit less running, but its more focused on like sprinting in short bursts, rather than distance running like six miles and stuff like that. Its more like three miles and adding in more sprints to open up and extend your lungs. Its kind of like more what youre doing in a fight, where youre throwing a flurry. Its more short bursts.

BoxingScene.com: What spurred you to make this kind of change in your training?

Truax: I just had a really bad night in my last fight. I fought like crap, and it was a fight that I needed to impress on to get myself into a bigger fight. I just kind of fought like shit, man, and I knew I had to change something and just get better. Im a competitive person, so Im always trying to find an edge and do what I got to do and get better. I decided to make a change.

BoxingScene.com: Did you make any other changes, like with your trainer or to your team?

Truax: No, no, no. Ive been with my trainer since day one, man. He aint going nowhere. I hate when fighters change trainers all the time. If a fighter has a bad night, they always seem to blame it on their trainer when its them, the one in the ring doing the fighting. I think its a cop out for a lot of guys.

BoxingScene.com: You said you dont think this fight is going to get you where you need to be. What do you think a win over Ennis gets you?

Truax: I think if Im impressive, itll get me back on TV. Im not saying its not going to get me to where I need to be. Im saying that its not going to get me to a title fight. Thats not going to make somebody think Im the next best thing. Its a good win. Its a solid win. Its not a fight thats going to propel me into a championship fight. Its a fight that gets me going in the right direction and gets me back in the win column and gets me progressing forward instead of sideways, like the last one with Ossie Duran.

BoxingScene.com: If you beat Ennis, who would you then need to face in order to earn that title shot or a big TV fight?

Truax: Im willing to face whoever, man. It doesnt really matter to me. Theres a few guys in Europe that are kind of like the gateway guys, like Matthew Macklin and Martin Murray, guys in the United States like Danny Jacobs, guys like that that have good records and are close to a title shot. Thats where I want to be. Those are the type of guys that I have to eventually get matched up with and just get a win against them to put myself in the spot to fight for the title.

BoxingScene.com: And youre still looking to be at middleweight right now instead of super middleweight

Truax: Yeah. I think this fight is at 162, I believe. Ill be at middleweight for a while. Thats where I feel comfortable at. Those boys at 168 are pretty big, man. Im not trying to move up and fight those dudes until I absolutely have to.

BoxingScene.com: What do you think about the middleweight division right now?

Truax: I think its wide open, because of the landscape of things right now with Golden Boy and Top Rank and HBO and Showtime. I think theres a lot of talent there. I think theres some good champions, but just the politics of it kind of makes it screwy because some of the top guys cant fight each other because of the network affiliations or whatever. I think its wide open, especially for a guy like me thats not tied to anything right now. I can fight a guy on Showtime. I can fight a guy on HBO. I can fight a guy from Top Rank, Golden Boy, whoever. I think thats a good spot to be in right now.

BoxingScene.com: Lets go through the division rankings and get your quick thoughts about each guy, starting with the champion, Miguel Cotto.

Truax: I dont think hes a middleweight. I think he fought a Sergio Martinez that was on the downslide. Dont get me wrong. Miguel Cottos a beast, man. Hes one of my favorite fighters. Ive always been a huge fan of him, but I dont think hes a true middleweight. I think he fought a great fight against Sergio Martinez, but he fought a guy that was past his prime and not a top middleweight, so to speak, because of the injuries. I dont think Cotto will defend his middleweight belt. I think hell just look for the big fights and move back down to junior middle and fight own there.

BoxingScene.com: Gennady Golovkin.

Truax: Hes a beast, man. I think hes the guy to beat right now in the middleweight division. Hes got power. Itll be interesting to see how he does against Daniel Geale, because I think Daniel Geales a pretty good fighter, too. In my mind, he [Golovkin] is the guy to beat, and he was the guy to beat even though Sergio Martinez was considered the lineal champ. I still think GGG was the man.

BoxingScene.com: Peter Quillin.

Truax: I think hes a good champion. I sparred with him before. Hes a guy Id like to get in there with. Thats one of the fights that we were trying to get in May. Were hoping to get set up with him somehow. My promoters have been talking to his guys to hopefully get something going after this fight, so hopefully we can get something set up. I think they just ordered a mandatory for him, so I dont know if Ill be able to get in there.

BoxingScene.com: Sergio Martinez.

Truax: I dont see him coming back. If he does, it wont be for a while. He was a bad man for a while. He came up in weight and he knocked out Paul Williams. He beat up Kelly Pavlik real bad. He was a bad boy until the body started betraying him.

BoxingScene.com: Sam Soliman.

Truax: Ive seen him fight a couple times. Hes real awkward and hes in phenomenal condition. Thats a guy that Id like to get in there with, too, eventually down the line. I think hes kind of old, and Im not sure how much longer hell be around. Got to make sure they drug-test him when he fights.

BoxingScene.com: Daniel Geale.

Truax: Hes good. He impressed me a lot when he fought Darren Barker. Hes a good champion, and itll be interesting to see him fight GGG. Itll be GGGs first real test against a real top guy.

BoxingScene.com: Martin Murray.

Truax: I havent seen too much of him. He looks real strong. He looks solid for a middleweight. I thought he beat Sergio Martinez. Its kind of hard to get a handle on the direction his careers headed. It seems like hes turned down a bunch of fights with guys and is just kind of in limbo fighting over in Monaco, or something like that.

BoxingScene.com: Felix Sturm.

Truax: Ive seen a little bit of him. He kind of seems like hes on the downswing. He has a real good jab and looks like hes in real good shape. I was surprised that Soliman beat him, actually. Hes been a good champion. I dont know how much he has left. I dont how old he is. It seems like hes been around for a long time.

BoxingScene.com: Matthew Macklin.

Truax: I dont want to call him the gatekeeper, but hes a guy youve got to beat in order to get to the top guys. Hes a tough dude. I thought he was going to give GGG a real good fight, and GGG obviously proved me wrong real quick. Hes a real solid fighter, a tough guy and hes been around for a long while.

BoxingScene.com: Marco Antonio Rubio.

Truax: I think hes probably the most underrated dude in the division. Every time Ive seen that guy, Ive been impressed with him. He fought Chavez and Chavez was way bigger than him, and he gave Chavez a hell of a fight.

BoxingScene.com: Hassan NDam NJikam.

Truax: That was the only time Ive ever seen him fight, against Peter Quillin. Thats the fight I sparred with Peter Quillin, to get him ready for that fight. I havent seen too much of him, so I cant really form too big of an opinion on him. He looked to box pretty good against Quillin. He just couldnt stand up.

BoxingScene.com: When you see these names, what does that make you think of this division?

Truax: Its tough, man. Dont get me wrong by critiquing any of these guys. Theyre all in a spot I want to get to. Theyre all in front of me in the rankings and theyre all considered to be better fighters than me right now. Until I prove that I am, thats where theyll stay. I have to get past Ennis and hopefully get a fight with one of these guys and prove that I belong in that top 10. Its a tough division. Its wide open, but theres some talented guys, and its going to be tough to crack that top 10.

BoxingScene.com: Anything else that you want your fans to know?

Truax: Thanks for the support, like always. Either check me out on ESPN on July 25 or make the road trip to Chicago and come cheer me on.

Pick up a copy of Davids book, Fighting Words: The Heart and Heartbreak of Boxing, at http://bit.ly/fightingwordsamazon or internationally at http://bit.ly/fightingwordsworldwide . Send questions/comments via email at fightingwords1@gmail.com

Tags: Caleb Truax


 

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