James “Chunky” DeGale (24- 2-1, 14 KOs) is now a two time IBF Super Middleweight champion, scoring a unanimous decision with scores of 117-110, and 114-113 twice over Caleb “Golden” Truax (29-4-2, 18 KOs) in the co-main event at the Hard Rock and Casino Hotel in Las Vegas, Nevada on Saturday night live on Showtime.
They won’t be showing this title fight in the boxing archives in the upcoming years. What was an awkward, mess of a title fight, came away with a decision that I can’t see many fight fans or pundits arguing with. From the opening bell, when the best landed shot of the first two rounds came via a headbutt from DeGale that stunned and backed up Truax in the opening round, you saw the fights future before your eyes with that shew of activity.
In the third round, a bright gash appeared over DeGale’s right eye, and instantly referee Robert Byrd said it came from a punch. Showtime was able to get to the replay when the round ended and it clearly showed the gash came from another headbutt. Showtime analyst Paulie Malignaggi quickly stated his disagreement with the decision. “When a fight has 50 headbutts, how can you call that from a punch,” argued Malignaggi.
For much of the middle rounds, each fighter was trying to sustain their style into the picture. You could see DeGale constantly pawing at his right eye, with the cut sustained bothering him. Meanwhile, the reigning champion Truax was working in his business like manner, but was not having as much success landing on DeGale as he did last December.
As the fight progressed in Rounds 8-10, it was anybody’s guess as which way this fight was going to swing. Each round being hard to score, with both fighters being drenched in each other’s blood. Al Bernstein, Showtime’s ringside analyst, summed it up in the ninth round. “Not a easy fight to score,” said Bernstein. “Awkward at best”
James DeGale mentioned to Jim Gray in a pre-fight interview aired on Showtime that if he lost to Caleb Truax again, it might be time for him to call it quits. “Would this be the end of your career if you lost,” asked Gray. “To be honest, I’ve beaten higher profile fighters in my career before. If I can’t beat Truax, that means I’ve gone backwards,” said DeGale.
DeGale showed that metal heading into the championship rounds. Showing better stamina and determination, throwing and landing combos that hurt Truax. The 11th and 12th rounds paved the way for DeGale to get the decision and his IBF Super Middleweight title back.
A delighted James DeGale spoke to Gray in the ring after the fight. “Full credit to Caleb Truax,” said DeGale. “I’m just happy. I’m a two-time champion. I’m back. I’m back.”
A somber Caleb Truax also spoke to Gray after losing his 168-pound world title. “I thought I was a little flat,” said Truax. “I couldn’t get my shots off. I thought I won. I kept the pressure on and he never hurt me.”
Both men said they’d be willing to fight a third time.
Header photo by Stephanie Trapp/Showtime