This past Friday Emanuel Augustus, the boxer once known as Emanuel Burton, toyed with 23-1 Alex Trujillo for 12 rounds at the Desert Diamond Casino in Tucson. If it is possible for a 29-year-old fighter with 23 losses to be dangerous, Augustus is the man. Just ask Trujillo.
For ten of twelve rounds Augustus danced, pranced and tapped his way around Trujillo with a smile on his face and spring in his step. This was the same Trujillo who had dispatched of 30-4-1 Luis Villalta in his previous bout. The man who dropped and decisioned Juan Valenzuela, who had starched Julio Diaz in one round, and erased the 'O' from US Olympic stud Ricardo Williams. Trujillo had also TKO'd the tough Emanuel Clottey, who went on to give Francisco Bojado fits for ten heats.
We thought Augustus-Trujillo was going to be a walk in the park. We just didn't know it would be Augustus taking the leisurely stroll. Short of the ring introductions, Emanuel Augustus did it all on this night. Augustus poked and pawed at his opponent like a cat playing with a wounded mouse, sending a message to all the fight managers out there: don't let the 28-23-6 record fool you.
Emanuel Augustus is like a box of chocolates. You really never know what you are going to get from him. Coming into the bout with Trujillo, Augustus had gone 0-4-1 in his past five fights and looked like a guy who just didn't have the hunger any longer.
He had warred with Micky Ward in 2001's Ring Magazine Fight of the Year, when Augustus and Ward threw everything they had at each other, including the kitchen sink, with Ward coming out ahead by decision. Ward will tell you, don't bring anything less than your complete toolbox when you step in with Augustus.
Later, Augustus took on 37-1-2 Carlos Wilfredo Vilches on two days notice and won by TKO. And after Lightweight prospect Mike Griffith had given undefeated IBF champion Paul Spadafora fits in losing a technical decision in 2000, Griffith's next fight was supposed to be a tune-up with Augustus. Griffith was systematically beaten down for 10 rounds and hasn't fought since.
So how does a guy who can beat the best of the best get introduced in the ring as a man with 23 losses? Well, he loses that many fights. Augustus mailed in losses to Leonard Dorin and failed to show up against Antonio Diaz. He was over-matched facing Floyd Mayweather and his corner recognized it in throwing in the towel after nine.
More recently, undefeated Kelson Pinto was simply too strong for Augustus. Still, there are many names on his resume that he could have beaten, but didn't. At just 29-years of age Augustus could easily pass for 39, as the years and wars he has been through have taken their toll.
He is so durable and such a high volume puncher that he can take a lot of punishment, and often does. That is both good and bad. Over 57 fights Augustus has only seen 15 end the short route. His norm is a grueling 10-12 round battle.
Heading into the fight with Trujillo on a 0-4-1 slide, a case could have been made for sticking a fork in Emanuel Augustus and turning him over – he looked done. Now he's shakin' and bakin' again as the IBA Light Welterweight champion.
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