Monday, April 23, 2018  |


James DeGale deals with bloody eye, edges Caleb Truax to regain title

Truax-DeGale II was an ugly bloodbath.

LAS VEGAS — The red droplets sprayed across the black canvas and all over Caleb Truax’s back.

A long slice about the length of a pencil point spread across James DeGale’s right eyebrow, and the blood poured in buckets from the third round on.

DeGale was attempting to regain what he believed would soon again be his: the super middleweight title he lost to Caleb Truax four months ago in the most shocking upset of 2017.

The Olympic gold medalist promised he would retire if he was defeated in the rematch, but it won’t come to that. DeGale battled through the crimson mask he wore, eyesight limited, and eked out a unanimous decision victory over Truax on Saturday at Hard Rock Hotel & Casino.

DeGale prevailed via scores of 114-113, 117-110 and 114-113. THE RING also scored it 114-113 for DeGale.

“I couldn’t see from my right eye,” DeGale (24-2-1, 14 knockouts) said. “I like (referee) Robert Byrd, but today he was a bit wrong. I couldn’t see. But I’m just glad I got through it. I showed some heart. In my last fight, I was like a weak little kid.

“I want to be busy. I have a couple years left in this sport.”

The newly crowned 168-pound titleholder was referring to two questionable decisions by the veteran referee. First, Byrd ruled that the gash DeGale suffered in Round 3 was the result of a punch, even though replays showed it clearly arose from a headbutt.

Then in Round 10, Byrd deducted a precious point from DeGale for nudging Truax (29-4-2, 18 KOs) with his shoulder.

The two dubious calls weren’t enough to stop DeGale, even though the blood almost did. DeGale still didn’t resemble the fighter who was once approaching pound-for-pound status as he engaged in an ugly fight with the journeyman from Minnesota.

Perhaps it was the never-ending trickle of blood. Or perhaps DeGale’s shoulder still isn’t right following major reconstructive surgery in June. The 32-year-old blamed his impatience in rushing back from the injury for the upset defeat to Truax in December, coupled with a ho-hum training camp.

So if DeGale was looking to erase any doubts about how much he has left in the tank at 32, he didn’t accomplish that goal, even in victory.

They fought on the inside for the entirety of the bout, and their collided on numerous occasions as is often the case when a southpaw meets an orthodox fighter.

DeGale caught Truax twice in the opening rounds with butts to the mouth, but in Round 3, it was Truax’s bald head who busted DeGale face wide open.

There were some sharps punches landed in the matchup, but they were few and far between as they both jockeyed for position during the many clinches. When they weren’t grabbing each other, it was DeGale who was the cleaner, more impressive puncher as he capitalized on counter-punching opportunities presented by the hard-charging 34-year-old.

“I thought I did enough to win the fight, but I also thought I was pretty flat and didn’t get my shots off like I wanted,” Truax said. “I was just a little bit flat. I felt really good coming in, but I just couldn’t get my shots off like the last fight.”

Mike Coppinger is the Senior Writer for Follow him on Twitter: @MikeCoppinger

  • Roger maurice

    Was expecting more from Truax. DeGale was there for the taking… Sad.

  • Ten Count Toronto

    I’m certainly not a fan of Robert Byrd, but to my eyes it was DeGale who was coming in with his head more often and responsible for the majority of the head clashes, notwithstanding that Truax was going out of his way to sell it.

    • ceylon mooney

      he practically
      dove (lunged
      foreward headfirst but sometimes its
      fun to exaggerate) at truaxs face at least
      twice. not a bad tactic.

  • Ten Count Toronto

    That bout was punishng on the eyes and the stomach I’m literally still feeling nausea from that fight. Very sloppy & rank stuff, 6 rounder stuff really. I hate to be that harsh on what was a very honest and hard-fought effort by both guys, but it was ugly.

    DeGale is clearly a fighter on the decline in both form and confidence, and Truax is a very courageous, determined fighter with no talent whatsoever. In some ways they are a good fit for each other, but please don’t anybody televise the rubber match!

    • ceylon mooney

      looked a LOT better
      time out.

    • Arjay Cee

      Respect to both men for guts, but I don’t want to see either again.

  • Serving Soldier

    Unfortunately on this showing De Gale is a top ten supermiddleweight nothing more, quite a dramatic fall considering he was rated number 1 by “The Ring” around 6 months ago.

    Father time is catching up with him. He seems to have lost his ability to knock fighters out meaning he’s going to be in a lot more 12 rounders . I give him orne or two more competitive fights at this level before he really should call it a day after a great career.

  • Ewan Leaper

    This would be a cracking way for DeGale to retire. I used to think he was a style over substance fancy dan but he’s proven to be a tough SOB at world level and earned my respect. He’s worn out quickly and it’s not going to get better from here, Truax is a good honest pro and it was nice to see him have his moment in the sun but it’s hard to envisage previous DeGale rivals like Groves or Jack struggling with him like this- definitely DeGale declining rather than Truax developing into a world class boxer. Respect to both.

    • left hook

      At times some fighters styles don’t gel together and that’s Degale Truax. I think Degale still has it but Truax’s didn’t gel with his.

      • Ewan Leaper

        Truax is Ken Norton to Degale’s Ali? You’re right in that this happens, I guess we’ll have to see with his next outing. To me he looks like half of what he was but that has only been against so it’s possible. Neither guy is an Ali or Norton but at peak performance I’d have said the talent disparity between DeGale and Truax was greater, although at the same time less than say Mayweather and Emmanuel Augustus who gave him a better fight than Pacquiao and Cheatnelo.

        That said, the right hand isn’t getting loosed half as much as it used to, I’d have put that down to his shoulder rather than Truax being smart enough to make him reluctant to throw it. He marks up badly and generally just looks like an old fighter, once you start getting injury prone it’s not going to get better. I’d say we’ve seen the last of him as a world class fighter but he did win me over, a rematch with Groves probably makes the most sense if he continues but I genuinely think he’d get stopped at this point but I hope I’m wrong.

        • Jeremy, UK

          I don’t think you are wrong. He is really game and talented. I like watching him fight, but every fight is gruelling for him. He should go for the biggest payday he can now, one last big effort and then retire. He can be proud of what he has achieved in boxing.

          • Ewan Leaper

            Absolutely. Very little left for him now unless fading away in front of us, I’d have said Groves was a great fight until recently but I think he’s got a lot more left in the tank- a year ago I would be recommending crazy pills for anyone saying that.

            Degale was easy to dislike at first but he became easier to admire, genuine cojones and resilience that few would have suspected. I think he lost to Jack in what was a horrible fight but I also think as Jack’s career unfolds then Degale’s performance will look more and more credible.

            I’m not a big fan of him or Groves but while they haven’t followed in Carl Froch’s footsteps I think they’ve given it a damn good stab. I’d credit both with being smart enough when to call it a day but boxers are boxers…

          • Jeremy, UK

            I have to agree with pretty much all of that!

          • Guy Grundy

            Good point about Groves.

            I was a big admirer of DeGale and less so of Groves early in their careers…and thought DeGale should have got the decision in their meeting ( was it really SEVEN years ago???). Given his clear decline, if DeGale fought Groves now I think he’d be KO’d in later rounds after taking a beating from Groves tremendous jab.One things for sure though,neither fighter has come close to being the equal of Froch.

          • Ewan Leaper

            Funny how a boxer’s personality can colour a fan’s judgment- Degale was seen as arrogant and aloof by a lot of people and seen as soft by many of them, mainly because of how he carried himself rather than anything he said or did. With the exception of some of his behaviour towards Groves I can’t recall too many times where he actually blotted his copybook and to be fair Groves was capable of being immensely irritating. I fell into this trap I must admit, I thought he was just all flash and did not credit him with the heart and resilience he clearly possesses in bucketloads.

            At the same time I adored Froch for being a pompous arse, haha! Huge fan of his, I really wanted him to squash Groves like a fly, I disliked him way more than I did Degale and I was also surprised that he could really fight. Very proud of all three now, Froch is clearly the man as you say but the other two have won me over.

          • left hook

            I felt Degale should have won against Groves too. They really need to fight each other again. Am a fan of both guys so may the best man win.

      • Jerry Johnson

        Degale overrated

        • left hook

          To u he is

  • Mike M.

    Glad he won..but..he had to work way to hard for that victory.

    • ceylon mooney

      against a guy who was totally flat. i thought truax would have some serious momentum from the upset.

  • ozzy

    Shoulders take ages to recover properly from surgery and Degale is finding this out. He hasn’t produced his best since before the Bute fight and unless he can recover his best within the next 2 fights he should retire. Robert Byrd should retire also – terrible referee. Kudos to Caleb Truax who has shown he’s a much better fighter than people give him credit for, I hope he made some good money last night, he deserves every penny.

  • Son Lyme

    Robert showing a lot of support for Adalaide with his rank incompetence – the Byrd family – all that is wrong with pro boxing.


      They are Dodo Byrds.

      • ceylon mooney

        i didnt think his reffin was bad. but thats a great one liner.

  • Cashtime

    Soooo fed up with Degale stating why he lost “but don’t want to take anything away from my opponent” or “Not to make any excuses but…” and lastly “if I lose to this guy I must retire”. Well you didn’t lose but you sure looked like anything but world class material. Hell I think he did lose the rematch with all that holding.

    • ceylon mooney

      i saw more leaning than holding…that was weird.

  • ceylon mooney

    wonder which one benavidez could more easily beat in his sleep.

    • Alan

      Maybe Degale isn’t up to it, anymore, but Gilberto Ramirez would absolutely embarrass Benavidez, who has not earned a belt.

      • ceylon mooney

        disappointed in ramirez–whatever happened to him anyway? last i heard he wanted to sit on his ass indefinitely and wait til someone he could beat came out on top of the the WBSS? i just looked up some fight he had in feb. man i never noticed.

        im not convinced dirrell does well with benavidez, but i havent watched much of him. i did see uztecali have his way with andre–that was a really good performance by uz.

        whats the pre-fight and fight immaturity ur talkin about?

        • Alan

          Benavidez was mad and insulting toward Gavril (actually trying to fight Gavril’s brother) in the pre-fight promotion just because he knew Gavril whipped his a$$ in the first fight. Wait a second…do I really need to answer that? Have you ever seen or watched Benavidez and his antics? Did you see him get outworked to the body by Gavril in both fights? Have you actually sat and watched and scored those fights (the first one which Gavril should have won and the second that should have been a draw round by round)? Give me a break.

          • ceylon mooney

            ah ok. i missed all that.

            i watched benavidez totally outpunch outwork and outbox gavril in feb. damn impressive. he didnt get outworked in any way whatsoever. it was one sided but still exciting.

            the rest of the stuff i dunno anything about. i just saw the fight.

  • Alan

    Actually, check that. You could still see the boxing skill in Degale on a second viewing, and I would still like to see him take on Benavidez.