WBA junior middleweight champ Austin Trout and challenger Delvin Rodriguez had a hard time matching the pace of the prior bout, in which Leo Santa Cruz started throwing punches during the anthems at the Home Depot Center in Carson, CA. This scrap didn't have a good rhythm to it, as Trout and Rodriguez took rounds to assess the other man, to the midway point. It never really got cooking, actually, but Trout did the better of the two men, and won on the cards, by scores of 117-111, 118-110, 120-108. Really, he didn't do much to elevate himself to the next level, as he's a smart, skilled boxer, but his style won't make TV buyers salivate over him. "I did what I had to do to get the win," he said after to Jim Gray. He said he gave himself a 6.5-7 on the night, and said he'd be happy to face Canelo next. Gray asked him if he marketed himself well enough to get that shot, and he said he wasn't sure, but he did make sure to thank his advisor Al the Ghost, so maybe Al's pull will get him a higher-profile gig.
Canelo, ringside, was asked about the bout. He congratulated both but said the styles didn't mesh. Would he answer Trout's challenge? He didn't bite, saying that the Paul Williams accident was a true tragedy.
Trout went 151-699 while Delvin went 89-440.
All the rounds were close, if not thrilling, through five. Trout landed a couple power shots in the sixth, and we wondered where the Rodriguez (age 32; born in Dominican Republic, lives in Connecticut) that manhandled Pawel Wolak in their rematch last December was. He pawed the jab too much, but it must be said that Trout (age 26; born and lives in New Mexico) is a skilled defender. Rodriguez told me a few days ago he thought that Trout would feel and respect his power right away, but that didn't come off. Trout backed up a bunch, threw a little jab to keep Del at bay, kept moving his feet and was hard to get a bead on. The champ would take the lead at times, probably enough to tell the judges that he deserved the rounds.
Trout is skilled at bothering you with a sharp counter to the extent that it keeps guys from getting off. Del perked up in the 11th, landing a couple sharp rights. He knew he needed a KO in the 12th, but that Trout is a hard one to handle. When he doesn't want to let you get untracked, you will not get going. We went to the cards after a bland 12.