Caleb Truax already feels the mental pressure of winning Saturday night to make as much money as possible from what’s left of his boxing career.
The former IBF super middleweight champion expects Alfredo Angulo to provide plenty of physical pressure as well once the bell rings to start their 12-round fight Saturday night. Truax (31-4-2, 19 KOs, 1 NC) has prepared for a very aggressive Angulo (26-7, 21 KOs) in an encounter between two aged veterans who will fight to earn one last title shot.
FOX will televise Truax-Angulo as the part of a three-fight telecast from Microsoft Theater in Los Angeles (8 p.m. ET/5 p.m. PT).
“He is what he is,” Truax told BoxingScene.com. “He’s a tough, savvy veteran, a come-forward Mexican brawler. He, rightfully so, got the win against [Peter] Quillin. I thought it wasn’t as close as the judges had it. I think it was a split decision or majority decision. He’s gonna bring it, man. He’s a veteran. He’s fighting for one last shot at a title, the same way I am. So, I’ve gotta be at my best and be ready to face some serious pressure all night.”
Truax, 36, and Angulo, 38, will fight to advance to the second spot in the IBF’s 168-pound rankings.
The IBF’s top two positions are vacant. Truax is ranked third, nine spots atop Angulo, who is rated 12th.
Truax expects Germany’s Stefan Haertel (19-1, 3 KOs) to be elevated into the top spot when the IBF next releases rankings. He was supposed to fight the fifth-ranked Haertel for that number one position and a mandated shot at IBF 168-pound champion Caleb Plant (20-0, 12 KOs), but Truax opted to battle Angulo rather than wait until Haertel can travel to the United States for an elimination match.
Mexico’s Angulo beat Brooklyn’s Quillin by 10-round split decision in what was considered an upset last September 21 in Bakersfield, California.
Truax was supposed to face Quillin (34-2-1, 23 KOs, 1 NC) that night in a rematch of a fight that resulted in a no-contest five months earlier due to Truax’s cut, which was caused by an accidental head-butt. Angulo replaced Truax as Quillin’s opponent after Truax suffered a partial tear to his right Achilles tendon.
Truax, of St. Michael, Minnesota, didn’t notice anything different from Angulo against Quillin than when he watched Angulo lose an eight-round split decision to Sergio Mora in April 2018. Mora (29-5-2, 9 KOs) beat Angulo on the undercard when Truax lost back the IBF super middleweight title to James DeGale, the British southpaw Truax upset by majority decision in his previous fight.
“I think that Sergio Mora dealt with it better than Quillin did,” Truax said of Angulo’s pressure. “Quillin was in retreat mode. After the first couple rounds, he just let Angulo back him up and get that momentum going. Sergio Mora did a better job of boxing, giving angles and keeping him off balance. But that’s the type of win that gave Angulo a little resurgence and got him hungry for another title shot. I expect the best Angulo, and that’s what I’ll be ready for.”
Truax-Angulo will precede FOX’s broadcast of its main event, Erislandy Lara-Greg Vendetti. The Cuban-born Lara (26-3-3, 15 KOs) is a 50-1 favorite to beat Vendetti (22-3-1, 12 KOs), of Wakefield, Massachusetts, in their 12-round fight for Lara’s WBA world 154-pound title.
Keith Idec is a senior writer/columnist for BoxingScene.com. He can be reached on Twitter @Idecboxing.