By Keith Idec
NEW YORK – Badou Jack suspects James DeGale paid for underestimating Caleb Truax.
And if DeGale doesn’t make some significant adjustments before their super middleweight championship rematch, Jack expects Truax to defeat DeGale again. A deal hasn’t been finalized, but Truax has said he’ll give DeGale an immediate rematch sometime later this year.
“I know Caleb Truax and I’m very happy for him,” Jack told BoxingScene.com recently. “But they hand-picked him. They overlooked him. Caleb is a hard worker and I don’t want people to take credit away from his win. Other people are saying that my fight [against DeGale] took a lot out of him. But Caleb did his thing and I think Caleb can beat him again if they have a rematch.”
His fight against Truax (29-3-2, 18 KOs) was supposed to amount to a tune-up for DeGale (23-2-1, 14 KOs).
Three fights before facing DeGale, Truax was stopped in the first round by former WBC super middleweight champ Anthony Dirrell (31-1-1, 24 KOs). The 34-year-old Truax, of Osseo, Minnesota, also has lost by 12th-round technical knockout to Daniel Jacobs (33-2, 29 KOs) in their WBA middleweight title fight and dropped a 10-round unanimous decision to former undisputed middleweight champ Jermain Taylor (33-4-1, 20 KOs).
None of that prevented the determined American from traveling to DeGale’s hometown of London and upsetting the former Olympian by majority decision in their 12-rounder December 9.
DeGale hadn’t fought in nearly 11 months when he entered the ring to battle Truax, not since his punishing 12-round draw with Jack in January 2017.
DeGale, who’ll turn 32 on Saturday, lost two teeth during his super middleweight championship unification fight against Jack (22-1-2, 13 KOs) and needed subsequent surgery to repair a deviated septum. He also had serious surgery on his right shoulder in July, from which DeGale suggested he might’ve come back too soon against Truax.
“Maybe he needs to switch trainers or make some changes,” Jack said. “He might need a longer break, even though it was almost a year and that’s pretty long. I don’t know. We’ll have to wait and see.”
If DeGale doesn’t do what Jack suggested, Jack thinks Truax will validate his upset victory by beating DeGale again.
“If DeGale doesn’t switch trainers or switch something up,” Jack said, “I think Caleb is gonna win again.”
Las Vegas’ Jack, meanwhile, will challenge WBC light heavyweight champ Adonis Stevenson (29-1, 24 KOs) on May 19 at an undetermined venue in Quebec, Canada.
Keith Idec is a senior writer/columnist for BoxingScene.com. He can be reached on Twitter @Idecboxing.