Caleb Truax: Boxing’s Real Life Cinderella Man

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The amazing journey of the former world super middleweight champion continues Saturday night, when he meets Peter Quillin in a 168-pound showdown on PBC on FS1.

Caleb Truax is in a familiar situation—on familiar ground.

This Saturday, April 13, Truax takes on former world champion Peter Quillin in a super middleweight main event on PBC on FS1 (10:00 p.m. ET/7:00 p.m. PT). The bout will be held at the Minneapolis Armory in Truax’s home state of Minnesota.

As has been the case for much of his career, Truax (30-4-2, 19 KOs) is the underdog. It’s a role he embraces. In 2013, he was a relative unknown facing house favorite Donovan George. Truax upset the odds by blasting George out in six rounds.

When Truax took on IBF World Super Middleweight Champion James DeGale in December 2017, hardly anyone outside of Minnesota believed he could win. Fighting in DeGale’s native England, Truax was a 50-1 long shot. To put that in context, James “Buster” Douglas was a 42-1 underdog versus Mike Tyson in February 1990.

Douglas won in what is widely considered the biggest upset in boxing history. Truax’s victory over DeGale may not have carried the same fanfare, but it was every bit as shocking. He dominated for long stretches, withstanding a furious assault from the champion to win a majority decision and the world title.

Truax, 35, seems to always rise to the occasion. The bigger the odds, the better he is. His Cinderella story began while growing up in Osseo, Minnesota.

“I played every sport,” Truax said. “I was just like an all-around athlete. My mom was a real good golfer, my grandpa was a golf coach, uncle was a real good golfer also so I actually learned golf first. Baseball was kind of like my first love. I started playing football a little bit later. I played a few other sports also but I ended up sticking to football and baseball.”

Truax played those two sports at Osseo Senior High School, earning all-conference honors in both. He then attended Virginia State University to play football, but a knee injury cut his collegiate athletic career short.

“I first got the injury in high school,” said Truax. “It was just nagging and wouldn't go away. The only way that the pain would stop was if I got surgery or if I rested it and stopped playing football and baseball. I just decided to finish my freshman year in Virginia and transfer to the university of Minnesota and focus on school and get my degree.”

Truax graduated with a major in Sociology and minors in African American Studies and Political Science. His athletic aspirations were a thing of the past—or so he thought.

My goal is to get back into title contention and win my second world title. Former World Super Middleweight Champion - Caleb Truax

“I was in my apartment with a good buddy of my mine, probably just a drinking beer,” Truax recalled. “We saw an ad in the city paper for a tough man competition and figured it would be fun. I had always watched boxing; I was a big Lennox Lewis fan. Sometimes we would mess around in the backyard with a pair of gloves but I never knew boxing was available to kids in Minnesota. When we got there, it looked like half the people there were drunk and smoked cigarettes before their fight.”

Naturally, Truax assumed that, given his athletic background, he would dominate the opposition.

“Me and my friend signed up and got our ass kicked the first time around,” Truax admitted. “It was boxing rules but it was more so like dirty boxing where the ref would let you do a lot more than normal. I ended up fighting the guy that won the tournament and I almost beat him. My friend ending up quitting but I stuck with it.”

“I ended up graduating from college and getting my degree,” Truax continued. “I was just about ready to go out and get a city job out in Minnesota but before I decided to go down that path, I wanted to see what exactly I could do in the sport of boxing. That’s when I turned all of my attention to the sport and gave it everything I had.”

Truax worked tirelessly on his skills. He dominated the local scene, winning a slew of tournaments. He then tried out for the Olympic team but was ruled ineligible because he had participated in the tough man competition.

“I was crushed man,” said Truax. “At that point I only had two choices, it was either turn pro or quit boxing and I wasn't ready to be done with boxing just yet so that's when I turned pro.”

Throughout a 12-year career that began in 2007, Truax has fought some of the very best: Jermain Taylor, Daniel Jacobs, James DeGale and Anthony Dirrell to name a few. After defeating DeGale for the world title, he lost the April 2018 rematch, and the belt, in another hotly-contested affair.

Truax bounced back with a third-round TKO over Fabiano Soares last August. On Saturday, he takes a major step toward another world title shot when he meets the hard-hitting Quillin. The two have history, having sparred back in 2012. Naturally, Quillin (34-1-1, 23 KOs) is the favorite. And, of course, Truax is unbothered.

"The fact that it's taking place at home in Minnesota is even better because my fans are going to give me a huge advantage,” said Truax. “My goal is to get back into title contention and win my second world title."

And continue the Cinderella story.

For a closer look at Caleb Truax, check out his fighter page.

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