April 29th, 2010

After the draw decision was announced, the faces of Caleb Truax (14-0-1, 9 KOs) and Phil Williams (11-3-1, 10 KOs) showed something deeper than "normal" disappointment.

Leading up to the fight, both boxers spent weeks preparing themselves. Beads of sweat offered visual confirmation that their efforts were paying off.

As they wiped perspiration from their eyes, their vision became clearer. For Truax, 26, a win would be confirmation that his namesake "Golden" was merited. For Williams, 32, a win would mean redemption.

Shortly before 11:00 P.M., the fighters made their way to the ring. Their backgrounds may have been a study in contrasts, but, as they met eye-to-eye, they shared the same goal: each hoped a win would define his career.

"It's still frustrating. I can't get angry. It is what it is. There's nothing I can do to change it," said Truax from his home this week. "A draw doesn't advance me or hurt me; all I can do is learn from it."

Throughout the build-up, Truax showed confidence as he told everyone from the Star Tribune to supporters on Facebook that he was ready. Surely, a victory would offer concrete evidence that his confidence was warranted.

Defeating Williams would earn him a mental portrait he could hang with pride next to his four-year-degree.

By all accounts, Truax is personable. He's a humble boxer who engages in a sport that demands a certain level of narcissism from its participants if they are to survive.

But he prides himself on being honest, and this fight is no different.

"I still feel the same way. I thought I won the fight. I felt I pushed Phil back the whole time and he didn't really land anything but his jab."

Truax, who plans to return to the ring in June, adds, "He landed one solid punch in round ten that knocked me off balance. I recovered right away and blocked the rest of his flurries. That shouldn't be enough to win a fight. Without me, he would have sat back and waited the whole time."

For Williams, the draw still doesn't sit well. "He's supposed to be a champion. I've watched boxing all my life and the champion says, 'Ok, the fight was a draw let's jump in the ring again.'"

Williams is somewhat conscientious. He knew what naysayers said about him going into the fight. He understood that Truax was seen, by some, as MN's possible future middleweight.

"If we are going to fight for the supper middleweight belt, let's fight for the super middleweight belt. We were fighting at 163 and 162 pounds… that's a paper champion. True boxing fans don't really like that."

He added, "Why would you run from competition and say, 'I am the real champion'?"

Williams decided long ago what distinguishes a "fighter" from a "club fighter." Although he entered the clash coming off back-to-back defeats, he never saw himself as an opponent.

"My fights are not tune-ups. I don't need to pad my record. [Truax] already did enough padding."

The one regret Williams concedes is that he was not more aggressive. But, still, he says what he did was enough to earn a win.

"I felt like I won the fight clearly. I controlled him with the jab. I busted his nose open. I am fighting on his home turf…he was so scared he didn't want to engage."

In retrospect, a draw offers both fighters proof that they came in with the necessary attitude to win. A draw shows that both men worked and sacrificed for their sport, and for that, they should be applauded, regardless of who won this round.





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