Osseo, Minnesota’s “Golden” Caleb Truax (26-2-2, 16 KO’s) will meet Anthony “The Dog” Dirrell (28-1-1, 21 KO’s) in Atlantic City, New Jersey. The 168 pound showdown is a co-featured bout being shown live on Spike TV. The main event pit’s Anthony’s older brother Andre Dirrell (24-2, 16 KOs) against veteran Blake Caparello (22-1-1, 6 KOs) of Greenvale, Victoria, Australia.
It will be Truax’s return to Nationally televised boxing following a world title shot opportunity against Daniel Jacobs in April of 2015 which was also shown on Spike. Truax nearly made it to the final bell against Jacobs, being stopped on his feet in the closing moments of the 12th and final round. Prior to that, Truax picked up the biggest win of his career while stopping Donavon George on ESPN in 2013.
Truax will be entering the ring tonight against Dirrell as a 10-1 underdog on most gambling sites. Dirrell was a stellar amateur and former world champion (WBC super middleweight title) as a pro. MinnesotaBoxing.com caught up with Truax last week following his last day of sparring with rising star Anthony Sims of Indiana at the ACR Boxing Gym in Coon Rapids to discuss his last fight and tonight’s golden opportunity against Dirrell.
Your last fight this past February was more of a tune up but your opponent Marvin Betancourt put up a respectable effort while the fight lasted. Talk about the events leading up to the fight and how the fight itself played out.
TRUAX: Yeah, that fight was crazy. If it would have been a higher caliber opponent, I would have had to pull out. Leading up to that fight, I didn’t train for about two weeks. My girlfriend almost died in child birth and I was in the hospital staying with her over nights. I didn’t have time to train and then was taking care of my daughter with the help of my sister and her sister. But I took the fight because I wanted to keep my mind off of everything else. It helped me deal with everything a little better. The fight was what it was. I knew he could punch a little bit. It was kind of a tune up fight for me so I went out there and like you said, he showed up being a little more then I thought he was going to which was good. He showed that he wasn’t going to fall down right away. I hit him with some good shots and just kind of took my time. I started to pick it up in the third round and I knocked him out in the fourth. It was a good way to get back in the ring because I hadn’t been in the ring for about a year to that point because of the Fernando Guerrero fight having fallen through. And then I got injured in December when I could have had another fight. So it was nice to get back in the ring.
You mentioned your daughter, how has training camp gone with a newborn?
TRUAX: It’s good man, fatherhood is awesome. Obviously training camp is a little tricky with an almost three month old daughter but my girlfriend Michelle has been awesome as far as taking care of her and making sure she gets the attention that I can’t give her when I’m at the gym and stuff like that. A funny story, about four weeks ago I had been getting more tired when I should have been while sparring. I realized that I was getting 8 hours of sleep but waking up three times a night to feed her so I wasn’t actually getting deep sleep. So for the last few weeks I’ve been sleeping in the guest room on nights before I spar. So that’s helped out a little bit. Thank you Michelle, thank you baby for picking up my slack!
Being a dad myself, I have to say that I love it when people I know complain about the lack of sleep…
TRUAX: (laughing) It’s tough. Being a dad isn’t as tough as I thought it was going to be. A baby isn’t as fragile as you would think but that sleep deprivation is no joke. It literally makes you insane a little bit. They use that as torture for a reason!
Let’s get to your opponent Anthony Dirrell. You said before that you didn’t know a ton about the way he fights until you actually took the fight and studied him. What are you expecting from Dirrell in the ring?
TRUAX: Obviously I knew who he was. Dirrell is a name that carries weight in boxing especially with him being a former world champion. I had seen probably 4 or 5 of his prior fights but never really watched them close enough or studied them. They wanted to match me up with him a few years ago but it never happened. When they first offered me the fight at 168, I thought nah, that’s kind of a tall task. But then I watched the film and I wasn’t so impressed with him. I mean he’s a really good fighter and a former world champion but there are a lot of holes that I see and things that I believe I can take advantage of. That’s what I plan on doing on Friday.
You can debate about who the best opponent is that you have faced so far between Jermain Taylor and Daniel Jacobs when you put into account where each guy was at that point in there careers. Where do you place Dirrell when compared with Jacobs?
TRUAX: He’s not Daniel Jacobs. He’s no Daniel Jacobs period. He’s a former world champion and a damn good fighter and I can’t take him lightly or anything like that but he’s no Danny Jacobs. Jacobs is more technically sound, I think he’s quicker, and I think he’s more explosive. Dirrell is really athletic, he throws punches from different angles which is always tricky. He’ll probably be the second or third best fighter that I have faced but nothing I haven’t seen before.
Most of your big time fights have been at 160 but you have fought at 168 before. This is a big time fight and it’s at 168. Are you moving up to test the waters as far as how you feel there at that level? Is the move up because of this opportunity at this weight? Or is it a weight that you are looking at from here on out because of how tough 160 is to make?
TRUAX: It’s a little bit of all of those things. 168 is my better weight, my more natural weight. I actually only made 160 three times I think. A lot of my fights have been 163, 164, stuff like that. It’s hard for me to get down to 160 because I’m a pretty big middleweight. This one, I won’t have to cut as much weight and I won’t have to be so uncomfortable the week of the fight which will leave me stronger and with more energy hopefully on fight night. But this was the best opportunity at the time and I don’t want to beat around the bush. I want to make as much money as I can, as quick as I can. And get to the biggest fights as soon as possible. This is the avenue that I chose to take and if I win this fight then obviously there will be more opportunities for me at 168. I can still make 160 if I wanted to or fight at catch weights in between. I will take whatever opportunity is best for my family.
You have been sparring some bigger guys for this one. Anthony Sims Jr., and Ryan Watson to name a few. Talk about the sparring work you have gotten in for this fight.
TRUAX: Yeah, I got a lot of work in with Ryan Watson from Duluth for this fight. He’s a cruiserweight, so he’s a little bit bigger. Obviously not at the level as Anthony Dirrell yet but he kind of has a little bit of a similar style. So that was good to get some work with him. He’s going to be a pretty damn good fighter. I worked with Nate Richardson and Deangelo Curtis at my gym on the regular. Those guys are both pretty tough dudes. They are tough and really push me in sparring. It’s nice to have those guys in camp along with a guy who’s really talented because they can switch up the look. I sparred Cerresso Fort a little for this fight. I boxed with RJ Laase a little bit when he came down from Duluth with Ryan Watson. And we had Anthony Sims Jr. with us in town for two weeks. It was tremendous sparring with him. He’s a light heavyweight so a little bit bigger then me. He’s quick as hell so the angles and speed he showed me is something that even Dirrell isn’t going to show me. I’m pretty sure he’s quicker then Dirrell. It’s invaluable to get sparring like that. It’s been a great camp as far as sparring goes.
Anything you want to add in closing?
TRUAX: Yeah, thanks to Jesse Kelley at MinnesotaBoxing.com for always showing me love. Thanks to my man Spicy Ray Kilgore for stopping by here at the ACR gym a little while back. You are always welcome here. And thanks to all of team Truax and all of the Minnesota Boxing fans. I hope everybody watches at I believe 8pm on Spike TV.