“I love the competitive nature of the sport. I’ve been an athlete all my life and played every sport there is, but nothing compares to getting your hand raised in victory at the end of a hard fought battle….” – Middleweight contender Caleb Truax.
‘No significant amateur career? No national Golden Gloves title? He might do okay. Don’t hold your breath though.”
A late start to boxing and already the so called “experts” are writing you off. The mental strength and perseverance needed to work hard and grind against the naysayers can be tough, the whole thing can become tiresome. It’s the fighter inside, the one inside a boxer’s head which keeps the fires burning. The will to succeed, needs to shine through.
For middleweight contender Caleb Truax (25-1-2, 15KO’s) that fire burns brighter now than ever. Speaking about his late start in the sport at the age of 19, he said, “I was always a fan of boxing but I didn’t know gyms were accessible in my area, I came across an add in a local paper when I was in college.”
Since joining his local gym, Truax joined forces with trainer Tom Hastad who has since guided him through his career to date. Speaking glowingly of his second, the middleweight contender said, “I’ve been with him since day one, he is a great trainer. We have a great relationship in and out of the ring and the trust we’ve built really helps me when I’m in my fights.”
After thirty five amateur contests it was time, well maybe not necessarily the perfect time, but picking up the sport late, it was time for him. Time to prove to himself his skills managed his personal expectations, time to turn professional.
A university graduate, Truax acknowledges, it was time to learn the professional side of the sport, “I didn’t have much of an amateur career so there was no rush when I turned professional. I still had a lot of catching up to do as far as experience goes.”
Speak to any boxer and they will tell you the same thing, inactivity kills. For a 24 year old turning professional with little amateur background, fights are required for you to learn. Contests and quality sparring sharpen the tools of the trade, they allow you to try new things you’ve practiced in training, the early fights allow you to flourish into the fighter you will ultimately become.
On the flip side then, activity and regular fights can work wonders. For the 29 year old Truax, twelve fights in the opening two years of his career stood him in great stead for what lay ahead, “My team did a fine job of keeping me active and in with opponents that challenged me and improved my game.”
Nineteen fights into a fledgling career produced a superb run of eighteen victories with one draw and Truax felt the time was right to really test his credentials after making waves in his home state, picking up the Minnesota middleweight title in the process.
An offer to fight former lineal middleweight champion Jermain Taylor, was too hard to turn down. The Minnesota native dropped a ten round decision to the former 160 pound master, a defeat while unwanted is completely excusable.
Forever the perfectionist and always looking to improve, Truax admitted, “I’m a counter puncher at heart, but since my loss to Taylor, I have been focusing on being more aggressive and offensive. I have been described as cerebral because I’m always thinking in the ring. It was my first big fight and I gave Taylor too much respect.”
“Even though I lost, I did take a ton of confidence away from the fight in knowing that I belong with the best in the world. Like I said before, I learned that I can’t sit back and counter against top tier opponents and that I have to be more aggressive.”
Since that contest nearly two and a half years ago, “Golden” Truax has gone on a run of seven victories and a draw, taking him to within contender status and a possible crack at the middleweight crown. His last fight on the under card of WBO bantamweight champion Tomoki Kameda’s title defense against Alejandro Hernandez, saw the systematic destruction of Scott Sigmon (24-5-1) via eighth round technical knockout.
Forever his harshest critic in a strive for perfection, Truax broke down his performance to InstantBoxing.com, “I felt there was things I could have done better. I felt I should jabbed a bit more, used more feints, and mixed in more left hooks to finish combinations. If I had done so, I think I would have stopped him sooner than the eighth round. I give myself a B-/B on that performance.”
Big time boxing in the U.S tends to revolve around a constant; a constant hardly anybody sees, and even fewer interact with; that constant is Al Haymon – the most influential adviser in the sport. Just recently Caleb Truax signed a deal with boxing’s go-to-guy.
Haymon’s roster includes pound-for-pound star Floyd Mayweather, Julio Cesar Chavez Jr, Danny Garcia and Amir Khan to name a few; in short Truax is keeping the most superb company and is looking for a massive year ahead.
Quizzed on whether a world title shot is on his horizons, he said, “Absolutely! I’m hoping to get a shot at a title next year, ideally in my hometown of Minneapolis, Minnesota. My team has a plan for me and now that I am signed to Al Haymon, I believe I am primed and ready for massive fights in 2015.”
“I want to fight Jermain Taylor again, but really I’d like to fight any of the champions.”
Follow Caleb Truax on Twitter: @GoldenCalebT