By Keith Idec
James DeGale’s disgust with how he looked makes it difficult for him to watch his upset loss to Caleb Truax.
England’s DeGale feels he rushed back from June shoulder surgery to make a voluntary defense of the IBF super middleweight championship against Truax. It was the first fight of DeGale’s new deal with promoter Frank Warren, a supposed tune-up designed to lead to bigger, more meaningful fights.
A determined Truax destroyed DeGale’s plan by out-boxing the 2008 Olympic gold medalist and producing one of boxing’s biggest upsets of 2017. Minnesota’s Truax (29-3-2, 18 KOs) edged DeGale (23-2-1, 14 KOs) by majority decision in their 12-rounder at Copper Box Arena in London.
Nearly four months later, the 32-year-old southpaw is motivated to prove that he is a better fighter than Truax. Their rematch is scheduled for April 7 at Hard Rock Hotel & Casino in Las Vegas.
“Caleb Truax is not on my level,” DeGale said following an open workout Thursday at Freddie Roach’s Wild Card Boxing Club in Hollywood, California. “I’m miles above him. On April 7, I’m going to show everyone why and show everyone what I’m all about.”
In hindsight, DeGale wishes he had given himself more time off after shoulder surgery before he got back in the ring. DeGale fought six months following a procedure that repaired a torn rotator cuff and additional issues in his right shoulder.
“As soon as the doctor said that some athletes come back after six months from my injury, I was determined to fight in 2017,” DeGale said. “Everyone can see that I was slow in the ring. I was ashamed of my performance. It was embarrassing and I’m looking to erase that on April 7.
“I’ve watched the first fight with Truax a couple of times, but it’s very tough because I know that’s not me in there. For the past six weeks I’ve felt so much better. My jab is sharp again and everyone will see that when I become a two-time world champion.”
DeGale realizes Truax also is motivated to show his championship win wasn’t a fluke.
“Truax has tasted what it’s like to be a world champion,” DeGale said. “He’s going to be hungry and have that burning desire to beat me. At the end of the day, I’m just too good for him and I’m going to prove it. I have to make a statement.”
Showtime will air the Truax-DeGale rematch as part of a tripleheader a week from Saturday night. In the main event, IBF super welterweight champ Jarrett Hurd (21-0, 15 KOs) and IBO/WBA champ Erislandy Lara (25-2-2, 14 KOs) are set to square off in a 12-round, 154-pound title unification fight.
Keith Idec is a senior writer/columnist for BoxingScene.com. He can be reached on Twitter @Idecboxing.