By Jake Donovan
Caleb Truax knows better than to overlook an upcoming opponent, especially one with championship pedigree.
Still, the former super middleweight titlist is feeling pretty about his chances versus Peter Quillin (34-1-1, 23KOs). The April 13 title eliminator takes place at a weight (168) and location (Minnesota) where Truax has spent most of his career and—quite frankly—where he believes he’s already a proven commodity.
“Peter Quillin had a good middleweight run, but as far as fighting at super middleweight and going into this fight, I feel like the burden of proof is on him,” Truax (30-4-2, 19KOs) suggested to BoxingScene.com of their forthcoming bout, which will headline the latest installment of Premier Boxing Champions (PBC) on FS1.
There’s no question that Truax will be the overwhelming favorite among the majority of fans who will into the projected sold-out Minneapolis Armory. The bout will mark the second straight home state appearance for the 35-year old contender, both coming after his brief super middleweight title reign.
Truax hit the road for a Dec. ’17 challenge of James DeGale in England, scoring the biggest upset of the year in a 12-round points win to lift the super middleweight crown. His reign was short lived, conceding the title to DeGale in their rematch last April in Las Vegas.
His debut on the super middleweight title stage went much better than his previous attempt at alphabet hardware. Truax wasn’t nearly as competitive in a 12th round stoppage loss to Daniel Jacobs in their April ’15 middleweight title fight. It marked his final bout in the 160-pound division, having since fought seven times one division north.
“This has always been my natural weight class,” Truax admits. “Even when I was technically a middleweight, I always fought around 163-164 pounds. I wasn’t trying to make the division limit unless I had to (regional and world title fights). So, after (the Jacobs fight), it wasn’t really moving up in weight but returning to where I’ve always belonged.
“When I was younger, it was a little easier to get down to or near middleweight. But now, those extra eight pounds really help in training camp as you get older.”
In theory, as much would benefit Quillin, who is also 35 and an inch taller than the 6’0” Truax. The former middleweight titlist abandoned the 160-pound division following his own knockout loss to Jacobs—also in 2015, coming at year’s end and suffering a 1st round stoppage—but has fought just twice since then. A pair of decision wins over Dashon Johnson and J’Leon Love provided little insight as to how well he’ll do at the title level.
That’s what everyone will get to find out on April 13.
“As a super middleweight, he fought J’Leon Love but it was a strange fight,” Truax said of Quillin’s most recent victory, which was a stinker due to his opponent’s disinterest in fighting back. “We will see if his power follows him up the scales.
“I already know what I can do at this weight. I have the more established résumé and have proven that I am the better super middleweight going into this fight. It’s up to him to show what he can do outside of middleweight.”
The winner will become the mandatory challenger to IBF super middleweight titlist Caleb Plant, who will face veteran fringe contender Mike Lee this summer in his first title defense.
Jake Donovan is a senior writer for BoxingScene.com. Twitter: @JakeNDaBox