James DeGale can prove Truax shock was just a blip
Career on the line for former world super-middleweight champ
IBF world super-middleweight title
BoxNation, 3am approx Saturday night
In possibly the biggest boxing upset of 2017, little-known American Caleb Truax travelled to London and dethroned IBF world super-middleweight champion James DeGale. He must prove it was no fluke on Saturday night in Las Vegas.
It was a stunningly ineffective performance from DeGale. He was returning after almost a year out due to injury following a hard-fought draw against Badou Jack where he showed skill and courage and needed to dig deep against one of the division's superstars.
But no one expected such a meek display in his own back yard. Truax controlled the ring and was the more aggressive fighter, and DeGale had could not complain when the judges awarded the world title to the American via a majority decision.
DeGale has blamed the below-par display on rushing back from a shoulder injury and overlooking Truax and he is fortunate to have been handed an opportunity to quickly prove it was just a blip, but if he fails there may be no way back.
The task for punters is to work out how much DeGale was hampered by injury (and if he has now recovered), if he is shot as a fighter, or if Truax is just better.
Truax was excellent in the first contest, but he has struggled against elite fighters in the past. He was stopped in 12 and barely won a round against Daniel Jacobs as a middleweight in 2015, then was down twice and stopped inside one round by Anthony Dirrell.
There will be plenty of big fights for DeGale if he come through this. He insists he is fit and ready to get back to his best, and will even have Paulie Malignaggi in his corner offering advice.
Bookies believe him - DeGale is a 1-4 favourite - and if his body and mind are good he should be far too much for Truax to handle.
The safe bet is DeGale to win on points - his last five fights have gone the distance - but that outcome is just 8-11 so at much bigger odds consider backing DeGale to make a statement and win by stoppage.
J DeGale by KO/TKO
1pt 10-3 Betfair, Paddy Power
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