The last time Caleb Truax sensed that a heavily favored IBF super middleweight champion underestimated him, he pulled off perhaps boxing’s biggest upset of 2017.
Three years after defeating James DeGale in London, Truax, now 37, hopes to rejuvenate his career by knocking Caleb Plant out of position to land lucrative fights later this year. The unbeaten Plant is regularly listed as at least a 45-1 favorite to successfully defend his 168-pound crown against Truax on Saturday night in the main event of a FOX tripleheader from Shrine Auditorium & Expo Hall in Los Angeles (8 p.m. EST; 5 p.m. PST).
Truax (31-4-2, 19 KOs, 1 NC), of St. Michael, Minnesota, has heard and read enough about Plant positioning himself for a multimillion-dollar payday against Canelo Alvarez during the promotion of their fight to suspect Plant thinks he is in for an easy night. That, Truax promised, couldn’t be further from the truth.
Truax realizes that this very well could be his last title fight if he doesn’t upset Plant (20-0, 12 KOs), of Ashland City, Tennessee. Winning would earn Truax another payday that would help secure the financial futures of his 5-year-old daughter and 1-year-old son.
“I love it, man,” Truax told BoxingScene.com. “It’s similar to the DeGale fight, where he was talking about everybody but me. You know, fighting George Groves and David Benavidez and whoever, making all this money doing that. And I get the same vibe this time around from Plant, with all the talk about Canelo and David Benavidez. It’s like, ‘You’ve gotta fight me [Saturday night], bro. You better be concentrating on me, instead of counting your money that you’re trying to make in the future.’ I know I’m an underdog. I embrace that role. And if he is overlooking me, that’s gonna be his mistake. That’s for damn sure!”
The former IBF super middleweight champion lost his immediate rematch to DeGale by unanimous decision in April 2018. He is 2-0 since then, but he has been beleaguered by a nagging right Achilles injury that finally has healed and a deep, disgusting gash over his right eyebrow that rendered his IBF elimination match against Peter Quillin a no-contest after just the second round in April 2019.
An illness forced Truax to withdraw from another IBF eliminator against Alfredo Angulo on the day of their weigh-in five months ago. Angulo (26-8, 21 KOs) lost a 10-round unanimous decision to Truax’s late replacement, Vladimir Hernandez (12-4, 6 KOs), on August 29 at Microsoft Theater in Los Angeles.
Truax, who is ranked third by the IBF, has since been declared Plant’s mandatory challenger.
Keith Idec is a senior writer/columnist for BoxingScene.com. He can be reached on Twitter @Idecboxing.