James DeGale (24-2-1, 14KOs) became a two time world champion after defeating Caleb Truax (29-4-2, 18KOs) by unanimous decision to regain the IBF super-middleweight title at the Hard Rock Hotel & Casino, Las Vegas, USA.
In a bloody and scrappy affair the 32-year-old Londoner came through another tricky night to regain his IBF title. Two judges had the fight close at 114-113 but the other had DeGale winning by a much wider margin of 117-110.
Once again DeGale failed to use his right hand jab beyond the first two rounds and instead opted to make the fight a lot harder than it needed to be. Fighting at close quarters and throwing pot shots rather than combinations made it a closer contest as reflected on two of the judges scorecards.
Chunky showed grit and determination after he had to come through the adversity of a cut to his right eye and a point deduction. Excessive use of his forearm was the reason for the deduction which was a really poor decision by the referee.
If anything the 34-year-old American was the main culprit for holding and leading with his head. Truax brought the same game plan as he did in the first encounter but he found DeGale harder to hit.
The former champion made it a close contest in the first half but really struggled in the second half. You could argue that he stayed on the front foot for pretty much all twelve rounds but when he closed the distance he didn’t do anything more than hold.
After the victory a delighted DeGale said:
“I’m just happy, I’m a two-time world champion, it feels great. Two-and-a-half years I had it and I lost it to Caleb. He embarrassed me, but we’re back.”
“I couldn’t see from my right eye, 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.”
James DeGale will need to make adjustments again if he is to pursue those big unification fights in the next couple of years. To his credit Truax is a really awkward opponent that many would struggle to look good against.
The main event of the evening was a unification match-up between IBF super-welterweight champion ‘Swift’ Jarrett Hurd (22-0, 15KOs) verses WBA and IBO champion Erislandy Lara (25-3-2, 14KOs).
In twelve rounds of terrific action from both fighters Hurd came out the victor by a split decision. Two judges had it 114-113, 114-113 in favour of Swift and the other 113-114 to Lara.
You couldn’t argue too much about the scorecards but what makes it even more fascinating is that Hurd would have needed a knockdown in the final round to win and that’s exactly what he did.
A beautifully timed left hook caught Lara flush on the chin and dropped the veteran to the canvas. I always said that I consider the Cuban born fighter to be undefeated with two very controversial loses on his record. That is no longer the case as the new unified champion from Accokeek, Maryland defeated Lara without doubt for me.
The 27-year-old is not as technical as Lara but he was just a lot bigger and stronger. I mean let’s be honest he was enormous compared to his opponent, it looked like a middleweight verses a welterweight.
In fact, if we introduced same day weigh-ins we would not have such dramatic size differences when it comes to fight night but I will leave that one for another day. Billy C and Sal Cenicola will reflect on that matter in the post fight show on Monday I’m sure.
Congratulations to ‘Swift’ Jarrett Hurd on becoming a unified champion but Lara also needs massive credit for the part he played in the fight. I don’t see why we couldn’t have a rematch as I’m sure there will be more interest from the public after such a great fight.