By Keith Idec
Caleb Truax can’t quite believe James DeGale is doing it again.
The newly crowned IBF super middleweight champion figured DeGale would’ve learned an invaluable lesson by overlooking him entering their first fight. Truax senses DeGale still doesn’t respect him, which Truax expects to work to his advantage again in their rematch Saturday night in Las Vegas.
“I expected him to humble himself and come back to try to get his title back, not to fall into the same trap he did last time,” Truax told BoxingScene.com. “But it’s fine with me, man. He can look past me again. I’m more motivated this time than I was for the first fight, just because everybody thinks it was a fluke and it wasn’t the best DeGale and blah, blah, blah, blah. I opened up as a 6-1 underdog, somebody told me, so that’s even more motivation this time around to shut everybody up.”
Truax (29-3-2, 18 KOs) is currently listed as about a 3-1 underdog, despite that he out-boxed England’s DeGale (23-2-1, 14 KOs) on December 9 in London to win the IBF’s 168-pound championship.
DeGale contends that he rushed himself back from shoulder surgery in June and says he is “ashamed” of his performance against Truax. The 2008 Olympic gold medalist promised to prove his superiority over Minnesota’s Truax, who won their first fight by majority decision.
“That’s just an excuse,” Truax said in reference to DeGale’s recovery from shoulder surgery. “Even after the fight, he said he was fine. He had 10 or 11 months or whatever to recover, and going into the press conference all he could talk about was how great his shoulder felt. And even after the fight, he said it felt fine. So it’s just lip service. I ain’t worried about none of that. I’m ready for a DeGale with six good arms, so it’s all good, man.”
The 34-year-old Truax has drawn motivation from what he perceives as DeGale’s dismissive attitude toward him, just as he did four months ago.
“I had some buddies that were sending me Instagram posts and videos of him just talking about what he’s gonna do next,” Truax recalled. “And even at the press conference [in December], I’m sitting right next to him and he’s talking about who he’s gonna fight after this fight and he was gonna fight George Groves next year. And I’m like, ‘Come on, man, you’ve got to fight me in about two days. You better worry about me first.’
“He’s still doing it. He’s still doing the same thing. I just saw an interview today and he’s talking about unifying with David Benavidez once he gets the title back. He should stop looking by me. The first time, he should’ve learned his lesson then.”
Showtime will televise the Truax-DeGale rematch as part of a tripleheader Saturday night from Hard Rock Hotel & Casino (10 p.m. ET/7 p.m. PT). The main event will be a 154-pound title unification bout between IBF champion Jarrett Hurd (21-0, 15 KOs) and IBO/WBA champ Erislandy Lara (25-2-2, 14 KOs).
Keith Idec is a senior writer/columnist for BoxingScene.com. He can be reached on Twitter @Idecboxing.