Caleb Truax is facing the biggest challenge so far of his professional boxing career; a fight against Andy Kolle for Kolle’s Minnesota State Middleweight Title. The fight will be this Friday, May 27, at the St. Paul Armory. One of the more anticipated Minnesota fights in recent years, it definitely promises to be an exciting contrast of styles and physical attributes.
Kolle, having won the State Middleweight Championship with a third round knockout of Anthony Bonsante on March 28, 2009, has since stopped five of his last six opponents. He defended the title successfully against Matt Vanda with a unanimous decision victory on April 2 of last year. Listed at 6’-1’’, the southpaw Kolle sports a record of 23-2 with 17 knockouts. He failed to go the distance in both of his losses, retiring after the 6th round from an 8 round fight when his eye was too swollen by now World Super Middleweight Champion Andre Ward on April 29, 2006, and getting stopped in the first round by former Welterweight and eventual—and now former—Middleweight Champion Paul Williams on September 25, 2008. While those losses may indicate a vulnerable chin, it should be remembered that Ward and Williams are World Champion punchers who’ve displayed such power in World Title fights, and Kolle has certainly never been prone to being hurt by Minnesota fighters. Also, while Truax is known for strength and power—his record is 17-0-1 with 10 knockouts—his wins against the better caliber opponents, specifically Antwun Echols and Phil Williams, came by decision. Also, the first Phil Williams fight was a draw and the second, in Hinckley, MN on February 2, was only by Majority decision. So it would seem that both Truax and Kolle are best advised to be in this fight for the long haul, expecting to go the full 10 rounds.
“Antwun was a veteran, obviously,” Truax explained last summer. “He had been in with Bernard Hopkins and a lot of others and taken them deep into fights. He was just a tough S.O.B. and a real good learning experience for me.”
Truax added that the Echols fight was a little frustrating for him because he’d had a bad cold in the days immediately preceding it. He had to fight through the irritation, he said, and it did affect his breathing. Presuming he is in peak health for the fight, the 6 foot Truax, who is listed on boxrec.com as number 50 of 1,150 Middleweights in the world, should have a decent shot at winning the fight if he can neutralize Kolle’s right jab, cut the small reach advantage with body and head combinations, and punch from angles that allow him to land the left hook and right hands without being caught by Kolle’s powerful straight left. Kolle, on the other hand, who is rated on boxrec.com at 34 of 1,150, will have to control the ring with his long jab and effectively time Truax’s head movement with accurate left hands and follow up right hooks. If he’s able to force Truax to bob away from the hard left hand (the dangerous punch with which Kolle knocked out Bonsante), he will be able to land short right hooks and uppercuts. In that event Truax will have to make another adjustment, which will include fast and heavy body shots as well as effective footwork to keep Kolle off balance in order to stop Kolle from going right back to the straight left hand. If Kolle has a serious vulnerability, it is that he sometimes leans in just a little with his left hand, pulling himself slightly off balance and exposing his chin, but when he keeps his balance and turns the left hand with leverage, he is dangerous like when he knocked out Bonsante.
This fight will be as entertaining as any so far in Minnesota this year, and since both fighters are surely looking to utilize a victory for a launch into fights against the world ranked, it sets the stage for greater drama in the summer or fall.
By Mark Connor
© Copyright 2011, Mark Connor