The terrific remodeling of the Minneapolis Armory was unveiled for boxing fans on April 13, 2018, a Friday night. A historic April snowstorm had cranked up and was sweeping through the Twin Cities that weekend.
The Premier Boxing Champions series returned to the Armory on Aug. 24, a Saturday night. A quarter-mile away, the 2018 Vikings were playing a first home exhibition, the third overall, and featuring the home-dome debut of quarterback Kirk Cousins.
PBC and the Armory announced in early January that they would team for four nationally televised cards in 2019. The first of those was held on Feb. 23, a Saturday night, and featured a win for Jamal James, a Minneapolis world welterweight contender.
A winter “bomb’’ snowstorm was sweeping through southern Minnesota in a northeasterly direction. It stayed south and east of Minneapolis, although not before cautions were issued.
So, through three PBC cards, the Armory was up against either record snow, the threat of record snow, or a major distraction on the local sports scene -- all taking away the chance for significant mention in the Twin Cities media.
And now comes the fourth Premier champions card at the Armory on Saturday night and they have hit the exacta: a ridiculous mid-April snowstorm and a major distraction on the local sports scene,
The current three-shoveler storm is supposed to move out on Friday. Getting to the Amory might not be an ordeal, but seven miles to the east, the Minnesota United soccer team will be unveiling its spectacular Allianz Field with the home opener at 4 p.m.
The Twin Cities media is in a lather over this, and when you see the place, it’s understandable. Of course, if you’ve seen the Armory since Ned Abdul bought what had become a local blight and pumped millions of his money into it, you know that it also has become a spectacular smaller venue.
Two showcases on Saturday and both privately funded: Allianz Field, financed by Bill McGuire and his partners, and the Armory, financed fully by Abdul.
Amazing but true.
The local headliner on Saturday’s card is Osseo's 168-pounder, Caleb Truax. He’s been fighting professionally in these parts for 13 years, and at 35, he has developed a large following.
Truax’ long climb resulted in a world championship – IBF Super Middleweight – when he shocked James DeGale in a 12-round major decision on Dec. 9, 2017, in DeGale’s home territory of London.
DeGale won a rematch in Las Vegas four months later, and Truax has had one fight on the three previous Armory cards: a 3-round knockout of Fabiano Pena after failing to make weight and being removed from the TV portion of the card last August.
Truax said that was a “tuneup fight’’ and he cruised through training. Saturday’s bout vs. Peter Quillin is a different story. Truax is 35 and 30-6-1 for his career. Quillin is 35 and 34-1-1. He held a WBO title for four fights from October 2011 to April 2014 before vacating it.
Quillin’s only loss was to Danny Jacobs in a first-round knockout for the WBA middleweight title. He’s a Brooklyn guy and Truax actually sparred with Quillin in 2012.
Truax guaranteed at Thursday’s weigh-in that he had a great training camp and said the stakes are obvious in what has been classified as an elimination bout in the IBF Super Middleweight class.
“We’re both 35 and the winner gets a title fight,’’ Truax said. “For the winner, there are good things ahead. For the loser, you don’t know what’s next … what’s left. It doesn’t get more important than that as a fight.’’
The IBF Super Middleweight champion is Caleb Plant. He fights out of Las Vegas. Truax is hopeful that, with a win on Saturday, he would be able to bring the IBF title fight to the Armory later this year.
Neither snow nor sleet nor soccer would prevent a fair amount of attention for that: Hometown battler battles for title in hometown.