The main event of Saturday’s Premier Boxing Champions card at the Minneapolis Armory was televised on FS1 and pushed deep into the night by several circumstances.
First, there was a baseball game on the network between the New York Mets and Atlanta (11-7, Braves) that lasted 3 hours, 37 minutes, thus pushing the televised boxing back an hour.
Then, two of the television fights went the distance – 12 rounds for Sergiy Derevyanchenko over Jack Curcay in a grueling brawl of middleweight contenders, and then 19-year-old Joey Spencer’s six-round defeat of Osias Vasquez.
Osseo’s Caleb Truax and Brooklyn’s Peter Quillin didn’t get in the ring until just before midnight and it was 12:07 a.m. Sunday before the elimination bout started. It was a 12-rounder for two 35-year-old IBF Super Middleweight contenders, with the winner in line for a mandatory title fight against Caleb Plant, the IBF champion.
The crowd of 4,117 was the largest in four PBC cards since boxing returned to the remodeled Armory in April 2018. Most of the fans were there to cheer for Truax, and they stayed until the early morning to see their man.
And then a disappointing result was reached for all.
Truax and Quillin smacked heads in the middle of the second round. Truax stepped back, made a slight wave at the referee, and then turned away – not wanting it to be true, but knowing that he was badly cut and that the fight could come to a premature end.
The head butt caused a wide gash across Truax’s right eyebrow. The blood was flowing by the time he turned to face Quillin again. Referee Celestino Ruiz ruled it as an accidental head butt, and Truax and Quillin returned to fighting.
Quillin tried to press the action, trying to end the fight before the ring physician would get a closer look at the cut after the second round. In a front-row seat, Truax’s mother Leah had a few tears as she watched her son bleeding and trying to fight on.
“I knew it was a bad cut,’’ Leah said. “There’s no way they could go on with a fight. I’ve always enjoyed watching Caleb’s fights; I’m so proud of him for all he’s put into it. But, yes, it’s tough for a mom to see her son bleeding like that.’’
The fighters went to the corners after the second round, the cut was inspected, and it was obvious no temporary fix would close the cut to the point Truax could keep fighting.
There were boos from a share of the crowd. Those fans wanted to see the fight they had stayed through the long night to watch, or, they wanted to see a Quillin disqualification for a head butt.
That wasn’t happening, not with the head butt having been ruled accidental. It was announced the fight was a two-round no decision. It was the first ND of the career for both fighters – Truax in his 38th pro bout, and the once-beaten Quillin in his 37th.
The fighters mingled with their corner crews and boxing officials for a few minutes, then Truax stepped out of the ring to see his mother, other family members and close friends for a quick minute.
Truax then headed toward the locker room – having been focused on a win that would get him another title fight in the weeks of hard training, now needing stitches from medical people on hand before he entered the locker room. It took 14 interior stitches and 14 exterior stitches to repair the wound.
“It was such a great crowd, a great night for boxing in Minnesota,’’ Truax said. “And then this happens.’’
Later, at 1:40 a.m., Truax offered a brief video on Twitter, thanking the fans for creating a “great atmosphere.’’
Caleb’s partner Michelle Stocke was not at the fight. She was home with the couple’s 5-year-old daughter, and also eight months pregnant with a son. Asked if marriage was on the way, Leah said, very mom-like:
“Yes. They better get married.’’
Bob Dolan, a member of the Minnesota board that oversees boxing, required a signature on a document from Truax while Caleb was waiting for the stitches. He reminded Truax that when a bout is stopped in this manner the boxer suffering the cut can’t fight again for 45 days.
“It’s going to be quite a bit longer than 45 days for this,’’ Truax said. “Right now, I’m worried about when my daughter wakes up and sees this cut. I hope she’s not going to get scared.’’
The next PBC card at the Armory will be held on July 13, with Minneapolis welterweight contender Jamal James as a headliner. The opponent has not been announced, although there was a ringside rumor that it could be John Molina Jr., a veteran who has fought fighters such as multi-world champions Terence Crawford and Adrien Broner