LAS VEGAS -- When James DeGale defended his super middleweight world title against Caleb Truax on Dec. 9 in DeGale's hometown of London he was a huge favorite to retain the belt.
But Truax, a journeyman fighter and massive underdog, pulled a huge upset, perhaps the biggest in division history.
DeGale claimed that his surgically repaired right shoulder had not fully healed and admitted to overlooking Truax in the majority-decision loss and he vowed it would be a different story in the rematch on Saturday night at The Joint inside the Hard Rock Hotel & Casino.
Indeed it was as DeGale, dealing with a horrendous cut over his right eye from the third round on, reclaimed his 168-pound world title on the Jarrett Hurd-Erislandy Lara undercard.
It was a rough, tough fight with DeGale getting the nod on all three scorecards: 117-110, 114-113 and 114-113. DeGale won the 11th and 12th rounds on all three scorecards to pull out the decision.
"Two-time world champion. It feels great. But full credit to Caleb -- he showed he can mix it with the top fighters," DeGale said. "I'm just happy that I'm a two-time world champion and I got my IBF world title back. I'm back. He embarrassed me [in December], but we're back."
DeGale (24-2-1, 14 KOs) got off to a good start but the fight changed drastically in the third round when Truax (29-4-2, 18 KOs) tore open a cut over DeGale's right eye. Referee Robert Byrd the cut was caused by a punch but television replays showed that the cut was caused by an accidental head butt.
"I couldn't see from my right eye. I like Robert Byrd, but today he was a bit wrong. I couldn't see. But I'm just glad I got through it," DeGale said. "I showed some heart. In my last fight, I was like a weak little kid."
After the fight both of them went to the hospital to get checked out -- in the same ambulance. The blood streamed down DeGale's face round after round and it didn't seem as though he could see very well. But he continued to fight hard and do well against Truax.
Truax, 34, of Osseo, Minnesota, wasn't cut the way DeGale was but by the middle rounds his face was marked up and he was cut over both eyes, not to mention his trunks were covered in DeGale's blood, which sprayed ringside during the fight.
In the 10th round, Byrd docked one point from DeGale, a 32-year-old southpaw from England, whose cut continued to pour blood, for using his shoulder to shove Truax off of him. A right uppercut from DeGale landed flush in the 11th round as they stood shoulder to shoulder.
Both fighters, who each earned $300,000, showed urgency in the 12th round of a seemingly close fight as DeGale dabbed at the blood to wipe it away.
"I thought I did enough to win the fight, but I also thought I was pretty flat and didn't get my shots off like I wanted," Truax said. "I was just a little bit flat. I felt really good coming in but I just couldn't get my shots off like the last fight. He never hurt me, but it is what it is."
Williams beats Gallimore in eliminator
Nathaniel Gallimore was relentless with his nasty trash talk in the buildup to his junior middleweight title eliminator with Julian "J Rock" Williams, even threatening to tear his face up and leave him bloody. But Williams stayed calm and cool -- and then he beat him up when they got into the ring.
Williams kept a stiff jab in his face and pounded him to the body relentlessly in a majority-decision victory in a world title elimination fight. With the win, Williams became a mandatory challenger for the winner of the Hurd-Lara main event unification fight.
Two judges had it for Williams, 117-110 and 116-12, but Patricia Morse Jarman surprisingly had it 114-114. Williams ended Gallimore's seven-fight winning streak. ESPN.com scored the fight 118-110 for Williams.
"I wasn't surprised a judge had a draw. Sometimes when you're fighting real close like that, it is hard for judges to score," Williams said. "I knew I won. Once I heard 116-112 and 117-111, I knew I won because I knew he didn't win eight rounds. He is a strong fighter, but I knew he was going to do what he did. Start strong early, but I knew he wasn't s--- after six rounds."
Gallimore was humble in defeat.
"I didn't really think I won the fight," Gallimore said. "I just let too many early rounds go. I just gave him too many rounds. I had him hurt a couple of times, but he was tough. I should have done more combinations. I will look at the fight and review it, and wil
While Williams (25-1-1, 15 KOs) steadily landed stiff jabs in the early rounds, Gallimore's response was to repeatedly flicked his tongue out him like he was a snake.
They began to mix it up in the third round with both landing solid shots but Williams appeared in control, keeping Gallimore on the outside with his jab and then pounding his flanks when they were on the inside.
But Gallimore (20-2-1, 17 KOs), 29, a Jamaica native fighting out of Chicago, had a strong fourth round, seemingly rocking Williams late in the frame with an uppercut and a left hand. By the sixth round, Gallimore had raised swelling around Williams' left eye.
Williams, 27, of Philadelphia, spent a lot of time investing in body punching and he landed many and Gallimore felt them as he could be heard at ringside grunting when Williams connected.
Williams, who lost his only world title fight by fifth-round knockout to Jermall Charlo in December 2016, had a huge 11th round and nearly finished Gallimore after connecting with a series of uppercuts and right hands. Gallimore, who looked exhausted as his mouth hung open, was backing up and not punching back but referee Tony Weeks let the round end.
Mora edges Angulo
Longtime friends Sergio "The Latin Snake" Mora and Alfredo "Perro" Angulo are both just about at the end of their careers but were looking for a boost by fighting each other in their first fights since 2016.
It was former junior middleweight world titleholder Mora got the boost with a split-decision win against former junior middleweight contender Angulo in an action-packed super middleweight fight. Mora (29-5-2, 9 KOs), 37, of Los Angeles, won 78-74 on two scorecards and Angulo got the nod 77-75 on the third.
"I landed better, cleaner punches and controlled the fight," Mora said. "My punches were more effective and I was the aggressor. I thought it was unanimous and I won by one or two rounds. He never hurt me, but I felt my power hurt him two different times. It was a close fight, but it was the right decision for sure."
Angulo disputed the result.
"I thought I clearly won. Mora was going backward so much and I would come forward," Angulo said. "The problem here was the judges."
Mora started off well as he stuck hard jabs in Angulo's face and landed many clean shots, but Angulo picked up the pressure in the second half of the fight and began landing powerful shots with both hands that backed Mora up.
Mora, winner of "The Contender" reality series in its first season in 2005, was fighting for the first time since two consecutive knockout losses to then-secondary middleweight world titleholder Daniel Jacobs, most recently in September 2016. Angulo, 35, of Mexico, lost for the fifth time in his last seven fight since 2013 and had not fought since a 10-round decision loss to journeyman Freddy Hernandez in August 2016.
Los Angeles welterweight Emanuel Medina (14-0, 9 KOs), a 29-year-old southpaw, cruised to a unanimous decision over Saul Corral (28-10, 19 KOs), 31, of Mexico. Medina won by scores of 80-72, 80-72 and 79-73 as Corral saw a three-fight winning streak come to an end.
Sacramento, California, junior lightweight prospect Xavier Martinez (11-0, 7 KOs), 20, scored two knockdowns en route to an easy second-round stoppage of Jairo Fernandez Vargas (6-3, 5 KOs), 30, of Richmond, Virginia, who lost his third fight in a row. Martinez floored Vargas with a clean left hook in the first round. In the second round, he put him down again with a left-right combination and although Vargas beat the count, he was in no position to go on and referee Jay Nady stopped the fight at 1 minute, 22 seconds.
Featherweight Sharone Carter (9-2, 2 KOs), 27, of St. Louis, who is trained by former junior welterweight world titleholder Terron Millett, won an eight-round decision over Ahmed Mahmood (7-1-1, 3 KOs), 22, of Detroit, in a high-contact fight. In the end, Carter got the judges' nod 79-73, 78-74 and 77-75.