Every year has its upsets. Every sport has it. It doesn't happen often but when it does it's special. Most people love upset stories (unless of course your favorite fighter or team is on the losing side of it). In Boxing, a major upset often puts a fighter that is going into the ring against an opponent that is expected to overmatch him in every single aspect of the fight. Most of the time it's a tune-up for the champion, or maybe a comeback fight after a long lay off for a major fighter looking to get his groove back in the ring. For James DeGale on December 19th at the Copper Box Arena it was a little bit a both. DeGale needed a tune-up fight to get back into the swing of things after being gifted a draw against Badou Jack eleven months earlier. He needed to knock some ring rust against a guy that stood no chance of beating him. And if skill wasn't supposed to be enough to win the fight, they decided to bring a boxer from the United States to take on DeGale, just in case they needed some hometown judging to sway a close fight. So when James DeGale entered the ring on December 9th there was no chance he was losing unless it were by a surprise knockout.
Enter his opponent Caleb Truax. Truax was the perfect set up fight for a DeGale victory. He was a guy that never really beat anyone of note with three of his losses coming to world class champions. He had been stopped by Daniel Jacobs in 2015 and by Anthony Dirrell in 2016. Most of his career was spent below the Super Middleweight division with only his last two years having been spent at 168. To add to that, he was 34 years old. The odds were stacked against him so much that Truax was put at +1600 while DeGale was at -10000. For those that don't know Boxing betting, that's the lowest that Vegas will allow in a fight with the next step being they don't even allow you to bet the fight at all. Those odds are the odds that tell you the guy has no shot of winning unless he lands a one punch KO, and even that chance is slim to none. It's a fight that when you see the odds you either skip past, don't hear about, or don't care to watch unless one of the fighters is someone you are invested in.
Caleb Truax had different plans when he entered the ring on December 9th in hostile territory. He chased DeGale all night successfully cutting off the ropes, using his lead right hand to fluster a southpaw, and implemented his will on DeGale, who was never allowed to get comfortable in a fight he was supposed to win with ease. In the 5th round Truax put DeGale into survival mode by stunning him. DeGale had no answer as he attempted to box but often found himself on the ropes, trapped in corners, and being on the other end up multiple combinations that he never could get away from. Truax never stopped coming forward and DeGale offered no resistance to stop him.
Still, rounds were close. When the final bell sounded Truax dropped to his knees knowing he had won the fight. DeGale's corner looked disappointed, confused, but it was almost certain that Truax would still not get the decision at the hands of the judges. After all, DeGale was the hometown fighter, the champion, and he was the money fighter. There was no way he would lose.
As everyone awaited for DeGale to be announced the champion by decision, the shocking theory of corruption was put to rest, even for just one fight. The announcement of the "NEW" IBF champion dropped Truax to his knees because deep down, as confident as he was that he had won, there was no way the judges would give the foreign, journeyman challenger the fight over the champ in his hometown. Truax became the champion with all odds stacked against him which is the reason why he wins the Upset of the Year.