With James DeGale preparing to rematch Caleb Truax next weekend for a chance to win back his super middleweight title, the fighter talks to the media about what happened in that last fight, what he expects in this rematch, and his thoughts on Chris Eubank Jr.
DeGale on his loss to Truax:
“...I didn’t have a right hand! I had reconstructive surgery to my shoulder. Let me tell you what was wrong with my shoulder. I had a 180 degree tear around my shoulder, my AC joint needed stabilizing, and a tear in my rotator cuff. I fought Media and Badou Jack with it. But with Medina it was just like, I could feel it. With Badou Jack it was finished. Gone.
“Then I had surgery and come back too quick. I had it in June and I come back in December. So I had surgery, done my rehab, had camp, and I fought — it was far too [quick].
On how he fixes things in this upcoming rematch:
“Oh, it’s simple. I’ve got to get in there and I’ve got to do a job. When I say ‘do a job’ it means I’ve got to go in there and be very, very dominant, and get back my title. And prove it was just a fluke!
On if he still believes he’s the best in the division or if he needs to prove it again:
“Well, listen, you’re only as good as your last fight. So going by my last fight...’he’s rubbish.’ So I’ve got to prove it in this fight that I am still the best and I’m willing to fight anyone. Because no one would take me seriously if I don’t get back my title and I don’t look good.”
On if he thinks Truax will be surprised about how he’ll bounce back:
“Everyone! He’s gonna be so shocked. Because he thinks — I read something and he said he thinks it’s all bullshit, my shoulder — he gonna get shocked, a big shock. After three or four rounds when he can’t hit me and he’s shadowboxing it’s gonna be hilarious.”
On if he sees a potential fight against George Groves again in the future:
“Back at home that’s a massive fight. Real, real big fight. So, yeah, potentially we could get that on hopefully. You never know, maybe end of the year, next year, we’ll see. But as I say, I’m just fully focused on Caleb Truax, I just need to get the title back.”
On his thoughts on the Groves-Eubank fight:
“I think Groves gave him a boxing lesson. He was too good for Eubank. Eubank’s too small. Eubank’s a decent fighter but he’s too small for super middleweight. And I think he got out-hustled...out-[maneuvered]. The jab was too good.”
On what that performances says about Eubank:
“Eubank’s tough, game, he’s strong, just like his dad. But he struggles with the boxing bit, the boxing side. If someone stands in front of him and he can let his hands go, he’ll look good.”
On what he thinks Eubank needs to change in order to improve:
“He just needs to change everything. Think maybe he needs to get rid of his dad, ‘cause his dad talks shit. His dad don’t like me by the way, but his dad talks rubbish. It’s all about his father, really.
“Maybe if he gets a good trainer...Have you realized he trains himself?! Eubank basically trains himself. It’s just — his whole camp, his whole team is a big mix up. But I don’t care about them people, man. They got to deal with their own stuff.”
Then, in another portion of the interview with Fight Hub, featuring a guest appearance from Leonard Ellerbe, DeGale spoke more about what his rematch with Truax says about his career...
“Listen, If I can’t beat Caleb Truax in the rematch — I’m so true to myself...— If I can’t beat him and look good then I’ve got to call it a day. Or I’ve got to consider what I’m gonna do...Because I’ve boxed at the highest level the whole of my career.
“Caleb Truax is a gatekeeper for young prospects coming through, seeing how good [they are]. And that’s no disrespect to him. He’s a good fighter, he’s a solid fighter, and he can mix at the top level, but he never wins! [Editor’s Note: With the exception of beating him, of course. But that doesn’t count, obviously].
“So I believe I’m the best...I’ve heard some stupid shit, I’ve read some stupid shit the past couple months. I’ve lived with a grey cloud above my head the past four months because this is crazy shit, I just lost to Caleb Truax, this is mad. But I’ve heard stuff like ‘he’s a shot fighter. Badou Jack took his soul.’...I’m finished! When I’m reading stuff like that I’m like ‘who’s saying this shit?!’
“Badou Jack couldn’t beat me with one arm. I couldn’t punch, I couldn’t jab with this arm...Badou Jack couldn’t beat me with one arm, and I’m telling you the honest truth. He couldn’t.”
Ellerbe: “But he did beat you, though!” [Editor’s Note: Ellerbe promotes Jack, just for full disclosure].
DeGale: “He didn’t, bruv!...What was the scorecards?! Two judges had it a draw, one judge had me up! [Laughs].