By Chris McKenna, courtesy of The Daily Star
CALEB TRUAX once boxed just to pay off his university tuition fees.
Now he is on the cusp of big pay days that will change his life forever if he can hand British super-middleweight star James DeGale back-to-back defeats.
“I will be able to go do a masters and pay for it in cash,” joked the University of Minnesota graduate.
Truax, 34, was given no hope when he travelled to London in December to take on hometown favourite DeGale.
His claims that he would shock the world fell on deaf ears as thoughts turned to who DeGale would defend the IBF super-middleweight title against next.
“He overlooked me, he was disrespectful, he was even talking about his next fight at the press conference when I was sat next to him,” said the American.
The bookmakers agreed with DeGale that it would be a routine defence with some having the Londoner 1/100 to retain the title.
Then it all went wrong for the cocksure DeGale over 12 painful rounds as he was bullied and beaten up by the confident challenger.
Truax returned a hero to Minnesota, a US state not known for its boxing heritage.
“Hopefully this win can help raise the profile of the sport here,” he said.
“But my life has not changed much at all.
“It is every fighter’s dream to be a world champion. It hasn’t even sunk in yet, I was in the moon, up in the stars, I think I still am.
“But I’m a pretty simple guy, I think I still am. I just hang out with my friends and when I’m at home I’m with running around after my two-year old daughter.
“Between her and the gym, that takes up most of my time.”
Now Truax is getting his Las Vegas debut after DeGale triggered the rematch clause in the contract from the first fight.
The Hard Rock Hotel and Casino off the Strip in the fight capital of the world is not exactly the most glamourous of venues.
But to Truax it does not matter, it is all about upsetting the odds again and retaining the IBF title.
“I think that is a lot of weight on his shoulders, I wouldn’t want to be in his spot again,” said Truax.
“This time I’m the champion, I beat him up pretty good, yet I’m still the underdog.
“I want to go out and prove to everyone I earned it the hard way and I will make James pay for making people believe this is straight forward.
“I think I will be more dominant than I was in the first fight.
“I’m in better shape, I’m better prepared. When I get a good read on someone I can do a better job next.”
Truax turned professional in 2007 with student debts and his main aim was to pay those off which he did just before he fought DeGale.
“It feels good not to have to pay an extra 350 dollars a month,” he added.
“I didn’t turn pro to pay off my college fees, it was just my only goal when I did go pro.
“If I was going to box, I might as well pay off my student debt doing it.”