A bloody James DeGale edged Caleb Truax at the The Joint at The Hard Rock Hotel and Casino in Las Vegas, NV last Saturday night to regain the IBF world title.
The scores were a mind boggling 117-110 and 114-113 twice. DeGale sealed the fight by winning rounds 11 and 12.
Truax shocked DeGale by winning their first go around by majority decision last December in London. DeGale (24-2-1, 14 KOs) said after the fight that he didn’t train properly. Truax (29-4-2, 18 KOs) wanted to prove that the result of the first fight wasn’t a fluke. A swifter than usual (for nowadays) rematch was quickly arranged.
The action was limited as both fighters clinched incessantly. DeGale appeared to win the first two rounds, but the bout changed in round three when a cut appeared over DeGale’s right eye. Veteran referee Robert Byrd ruled the cut was caused by a punch, but television replays showed otherwise.
"I couldn’t see from my right eye. I like Robert Byrd, but today he was a bit wrong. I couldn’t see. But I’m just glad I got through it," DeGale said.
DeGale worked his jab in the next round, but the aggressive Truax walked right through it. The Minnesota native did well in round five as well, applying consistent pressure. DeGale, from Hertfordshire, Eng., stopped Truax in his tracks with a combination at the bell.
The next few rounds were a mixture of holding and hitting. DeGale would attempt a rally and clinch. Truax was relentless at times—keeping the fight on the inside.
The match was up for grabs heading into the championship rounds. DeGale did a little more, letting his hands go in the last round. Truax was disappointed with the decision.
“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. He never hurt me, but it is what it is.
“I gave him a rematch straight away so why not do it again.”
Likely won’t happen as DeGale,32, is seeking his own rematch with WBA super middleweight champion and old rival George Groves—who defeated DeGale five years ago.
Groves dislocated his shoulder last February when he handily defeated Chris Eubank Jr. He’s scheduled to meet Cullum Smith sometime this summer in the World Boxing Super Series final.