- James DeGale says he will have to retire if he loses his rematch with Caleb Truax
- DeGale was stunned in December as he lost his IBF super-middleweight title
- A second defeat to Truax is likely to see DeGale call time on his boxing career
- Should he reclaim his IBF belt, he could target George Groves or Callum Smith
Nathan Salt For Mailonline
James DeGale has revealed he will retire from boxing should he lose to American Caleb Truax in their upcoming rematch.
DeGale was left speechless in December when he lost his IBF super-middleweight crown at London’s Copper Box Arena on points.
The pair get back in the ring together on April 7 in Las Vegas but for DeGale, anything other than a victory – and taking back his title – would see him call time on his boxing career.
James DeGale reveals he will retire from boxing if he loses his rematch with Caleb Truax
DeGale was stunned in December when Truax took his IBF super-middleweight title on points
‘The thought of walking away from boxing breaks my heart – and I don’t really like thinking about it,’ DeGale said. ‘But I’m so real with myself that I won’t be one of those fighters who hangs on. If I haven’t got it any more, I will quit.
‘I underestimated (Truax) and I’m very lucky I’ve got a chance to make it right.
‘I’m so confident of winning this fight now, though. If I don’t, I will retire. Because if I can’t beat Truax then I will have to knock it on the head. He is a tough, strong competitor, but if I can’t beat him that means I have gone backwards.’
The London boxer ‘underestimated’ his American opponent throughout the shock defeat
The London-born fighter suggested his fitness was far from ideal ahead of the pair’s first bout as he rushed his shoulder back from recent surgery to ensure the fight went ahead.
But having found himself in the fortunate position of a quick turnaround for a rematch, DeGale insists he has been ‘living like a hermit’ with a huge focus on gym training.
The career pathway has two extreme circumstances based on what happens in Vegas with victory likely to put weight behind calls for him to fight the winner of George Groves vs Callum Smith.
The pair meet again on April 7 in Las Vegas as DeGale looks to win back his prized IBF title
But having lost his IBF title – one he had held for two-and-a-half years prior – to the unfancied Truax, defeat would fuel DeGale’s critics that he has hit the ceiling of improvement.
‘There’s a hell of a lot that’s on the line and I can’t believe we are at this point with me talking about retiring if I lose to Truax,’ he added.
‘But talk is cheap. I have to get in there and do the business and get back the title. And I have to look good doing it. This has got to be a statement fight.’