Caleb Truax is a considerable underdog for his fight against Caleb Plant in a couple hours. He's a full on grownup, though, he grew up dealing with harsh wind chill factors in Minnesota, so some slings n arrows from chops busters on social media aren't going to have him shrink from combat, and put him in a certain head space.
The fighter with a 31-4-2 record isn't a dissociating type, either, though. He knows what they say, and he has a sense of what some of the oddsmakers are saying with their line set.
The betting resource gang at SportsBettingDime.com (@SBD on Twitter) has Plant (20-0 with 14 KOs) at – 1200 and Truax at + 1200. The website is giving Truax a little better chance than most sportsbooks, which list the IBF super middleweight title-holder at around + 1400.
I chatted with Truax via DM Friday night, and put it right to him.
“14 to 1 underdog, or whatever it is, is that an accurate “assessment” or “indicator,” I asked.
Truax' response went right into my personal Hall of Fame, for the brevity of the wit: “Disrespectful, but I love it,” Truax answered. “I heard 20 to 1 underdog.”
He loves it, because he gets it. He knows he's 37, and there have been injuries to contend with, and some other hurdles that probably wouldn't have presented themself to Truax ten or even five years ago.
“I'm feeling great, man,” he told me, when I asked if the “matchmaker chatter” is true, and that he's in real good shape, and isn't dealing with a nagging injury coming into this fight on Fox. “Healthiest I've been in a few years.”
And why…does he have a new S n C coach…or is it a matter of luck…or maybe a miracle CBD salve or something?
“Being healthy for the first time in a few years and laser focus on getting my belt back,” Truax said.
There have been the missteps. You might have forgotten, what with COVID and all, but Truax was supposed to be in an ultra vet vs ultra vet faceoff with Alfredo Angulo last August. Truax was rated No. 3 by the IBF, with Nos. 1 and 2 left vacant. (That is still the case.) Angulo was at No. 12 (he's out of the top 15 now) and the fight was designated as a title eliminator. The 38 year old Angulo got put in with Vlad Hernandez, and took an L. And Truax finally is able to get back on the bronco, and it's a spirited animal he's in with. Plant (below) is talked about as a possible superstar, even by seasoned fightgame lifers.
They are holding out because Plant hasn't been in against top tier practitioners. He's been in with guys who had a low ceiling, or lack a burning passion for the sport, to be very frank. Truax, we believe, is a step up from a few of the recent foes we've seen Plant put in with, in terms of passion to compete, even if he isn't as fresh as some of them.
Truax understands that because of his age, and that he's taken on some Ls, he's not being seen as a stern test to many fight fans and pundits. The loss to James DeGale after the underdog special victory against the Brit…
..a win over Fab Pena, a NC against Peter Quillin…
…a victory over David Basajjamivule last January…Truax understands that not all the stuff off his recent resume will make it so the masses are thinking he will prove that the 28 year old Plant is over hyped.
“Obviously a torn Achilles is a different monster, but I've always pushed through injuries,” Truax told me. “Tougher to do at my age now. And the situation with the Angulo fight wasn't dehydration, the medics said possible heat exhaustion. I was frustrated and disappointed, but got right back to work in the gym after I felt better in a few days.”
In other words, he's a consummate pro, and wise like this: he doesn't get too high, or too low. He's not going where the wind blows, too high, or to the gutter. He puts his work in, crosses the fingers, and rolls with the trajectory that Fate directs.
I hoped to get a good sense of how good Truax thinks Plant is. I asked him, does Plant strike you as a future superstar? “What’s your take from what you’ve seen, what your instinct say about Plant,” I asked.
“He's got skills,” Truax told me. “But you going to base that off of fights with Mike Lee and Vincent Feigenbutz?”
Great rhetorical question. I see it like this–Luis De Cubas has done a remarkable job in minimizing risk and maximizing revenue generation for Plant. But with that comes some downsides…It means that when you hear Plant say stuff like this…
“I'm the best in the division and I feel like I'm too well-rounded,” Plant said this fight week. “I feel like there's too many areas in my game that I've sharpened and crafted and brought to a really high level. I am the top guy in the super middleweight division.”
…then you have to take it in, hold it, and say, “We'll see.”
Maybe so, maybe not.
But Caleb Plant will have to show us, because telling us, after turning down a fight with Canelo Alvarez, and not demanding a fight with David Benavidez, won't near cut it.
Truax is sort of a in a similar place, but it's because he's been a pro since 2007 and he's a wise owl. “I can't judge a guy,” Truax said, “until I've been in there with him.”
Generally, wisdom pays off on Jeopardy, more so than in the boxing ring. But wisdom, combined with a high level of passion to compete and triumph, and a dash of luck can come together for a guy like a Caleb Truax. What are the chances? I won't be disrespectful to say–but I will say this….it's like I told Truax, “I root for a guy closer to 40 than 30 to do well more now that I'm closer to 50 than 40 myself.”