Trout Angling To Hook A Whopper In Cotto

BY Bernard Fernandez ON November 21, 2012
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TTroutRodriguez Hogan 15o the less-than-fully-informed boxing fan, “Austin Trout” sounds like something a fisherman has reeled in from a lake in close proximity to Texas’ capital city.

Oh, sure, Austin “No Doubt” Trout has been the holder of the WBA’s “regular” super welterweight championship for nearly two years, and he has a distinctive and easily remembered name, in the manner of, say, former Major League Baseball slugger Darryl Strawberry. But, his bejeweled belt notwithstanding, the 27-year-old southpaw from Las Cruces, N.M., still hasn’t made the breakthrough from intriguing curiosity item to full-fledged star, a situation that could be remedied on Dec. 1, when Trout angles to land one of boxing’s legitimate whoppers, Puerto Rican icon Miguel Cotto.

The Showtime-televised main event in Madison Square Garden marks the eighth appearance in Madison Square Garden (and the 10th in New York, including one bout each in the Hammerstein Ballroom and Yankee Stadium) for the hugely popular Cotto (37-3, 30 KOs), who will be bidding for his fifth world title. As was noted in the premiere episode of Showtime’s “All Access” presentations that have been airing in advance of the event, Cotto, 32, has actually sold more tickets in boxing’s Mecca than did the great Muhammad Ali in a like number of turns in the Garden.

But venturing into a veritable lion’s den is nothing new for road warrior Trout, who actually believes that fighting before unfriendly audiences gives him something of a mental edge. He has beaten a Panamanian in Panama, a Canadian in Canada, a Mexican in Mexico. He looks forward to stilling the cheers of a pro-Cotto crowd in much the same manner that he did on those other successful excursions onto the other guy’s turf.

“This is not my first time being in a hostile environment,” Trout said of what awaits him at the opening bell, and until such time that he is able to seize control of the bout and thus turn down the crowd volume. “I know how to use it to my advantage. Just another walk in the park.

“My goal is to make the Garden go silent, except for maybe 20 New Mexicans who are coming to cheer for me. The funny thing is, I have a lot of family in New York. Actually, most of my family comes from New York. I have two sets of grandparents who live there (in Brooklyn and in Harlem). So it will be kind of a homecoming for me, although not nearly as big as the one for Cotto. Obviously, there are a bunch of Puerto Ricans living in New York. Those are Cotto’s people.”

Anyone who tuned in to the Oct. 20 rematch between WBA/WBC super lightweight champion Danny “Swift” Garcia and Mexican legend Erik Morales, the first boxing show in Brooklyn’s spanking-new Barclays Center, already knows that Trout at the very least talks a good fight. He was part of the Showtime commentary team for Garcia’s fourth-round knockout victory, along with Mauro Ranallo, Al Bernstein and Joe Cortez. He earned generally high marks for his glibness and the quality of his analysis, suggesting a bright future in the broadcasting business.

Trout is quick to point out that boxing for the most part is a young man’s game, with aging and familiar names eventually obliged to yield to fresh and lesser-known ones, as was the case in Garcia’s pummeling of Morales into likely retirement.

“I told Danny Garcia after his fight that I’m trying to keep that same trend going that he is a part of,” Trout said. “Out with the old and in with the new. I don’t believe Cotto is a shot fighter like Erik Morales. Cotto is still hungry. But, man, I’m starving.

“Miguel Cotto is a warrior who’s never backed away from any challenge, and I’ve always had the utmost respect for him as one of the best representatives of our sport. I am very grateful for the opportunity to fight him. But that said … he messed up. I honestly don’t see how I can lose.

“I just feel that I will be the faster, stronger, taller and better technical fighter on that night. I know he is a very good puncher and a smart fighter with a lot of experience, but he’s also 5’7” with a short reach. I didn’t know he was short as he is until we stood next to each other at the press conference to announce the fight. (Trout is 5’9½”.) I just have to believe the size difference is going to be a factor.”

Trout and his longtime trainer, Louie Burke, have the confidence that might be expected of a collaborative unit that has yet to taste defeat together. They also should have reason to be leery. Although Cotto has more than a few miles on his pugilistic odometer, and admits to imagining the end of an almost certain Hall of Fame career, in his last fight he gave boxing’s finest pound-for-pound practitioner, Floyd Mayweather Jr., one of his tougher tests in dropping a 12-round, unanimous decision at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas on May 5, bloodying “Money’s” lip in the process. A number of boxing experts continue to rate Cotto as one of the top 10 fighters regardless of weight class.

He is, in other words, just the sort of trophy catch Trout needs if he, too, is to attain whopper status.

“I’ve been under the radar,” Trout acknowledged. “This is what Louie and I have been working for, this magnitude of fight. When they asked me if I wanted to fight Cotto, I didn’t believe it. And since we’re fantasizing, I wish I there was some way could fight Sugar Ray Leonard, too. It’s always been a dream of mine to beat up the legends. That’s how you become a legend.”

Trout admits to being just a bit irked when the news leaked that Cotto, provided he got won on Dec. 1, was looking to make his first defense of his newly won title against another young stud, WBC super welter champ Saul “Canelo” Alvarez during Cinco de Mayo weekend in 2013.

If Canelo is hot to fight on that date, Trout reasons, why not against him? After all, he already is 1-0 against the Alvarez family, having captured the vacant WBA 154-pound crown on a unanimous decision over Rigoberto Alvarez in the Alvarezes’ hometown of Guadalajara, Mexico, on Feb. 5, 2011.

“If Cotto and is team are going to overlook me, that’s their problem. They’re going to be unpleasantly surprised,” Trout said. “When next May rolls around, I’m very confident it’s going to be my name that’s in the running to face Canelo, if he chooses to take the fight.

“I remember being in Mexico fighting Rigoberto Alvarez for the WBA title. That’s Canelo’s big brother. In fact, Canelo was in the other corner, biting his nails the whole time.”

Beating Rigoberto Alvarez is not the same as beating Canelo Alvarez, however, just as beating the fighters Trout did in his first three championship defenses – David Lopez, Frank LoPorto and Delvin Rodriguez – isn’t the same as notching a win over someone with as big a rep as Cotto.

“Cotto’s got the name, he’s got the recognition,” Trout said. “I have the title. I got the title so I could get the name and the recognition. I’ve been champion going on two years now, but it seemed like I wasn’t getting those names that I was looking for. But this fight, this is why I wanted to be champion. Used to be, you needed the name to get the title. Now, you got to get the title to get the name.”

Comment on this article

deepwater says:

hey what do you know, what a surprise there is ugly sam watson and his camera mugging son. its one thing to eat at the buffet at the press conferences and all that but why oh why are these guys always putting their face on camera during ringwalks and post fight interviews? and these guys are always talking jive and trying to hype the fighter up why dont they get out of the way and let the fighter bring his own people into the ring? hope cotto guts this fish trout

brownsugar says:

Trout has been starving for recognition for the last 2 years... even when he became champ he couldn't buy an interview. When he got hit with weed smoking allegations he was basically swept under the rug until it was determined he hadn't been an undercover Puff Daddy.
What a contrast,... between him and Chavez Jr. Even Arum has spent hours on the web defending Mr Cheech and Chong of professional boxing... " aw what the hell,.. so what the kid took a toke... it didn't inhance his ability... everybody takes a drag sometimes" Arum said.

2 things...

Cotto didn't get to show how dangerous he really is against Mayweather... (who's forcefield of defensive invicibility is waining but it's still good enought to keep a future HOFmer like Cotto from catching him clean)

Even though he's a blown up welter, Cotto still hits hard enough to inflict comprehesive damage against even the biggest foes.
And he'll hurt Trout if he ever gets access to that chin.

#2 Trout can box... his style is of the safety first variety that puts fans to sleep when he's faced with a decent opponent.
I believe Trout can potentially technically touch Cotto more than Cotto can touch him if he wants to.
But there's no way he gets a decision and a title for just doing an amateur-point-job on Cotto.
Trouts got to bang with Cotto.. and bang he can... if he gets loose and comfortable enough.
Otherwise Cotto is guaranateed to win as the agressor who's trying to make the fight....just off his rep and popularity alone.

Trout has to trust his advantages... size, reach, strength, youth.. and sound boxing if he's going to win... he's got to beat Cotto in the trenches to win the fight. he's got to beat him like a "man"....

This is one of those fights I can't call until I see Trouts body language at the opening bell.
good luck to both.

Bernie Campbell says:

The guy you see on the left of Trout is Joe Watson! Nobody knows what he does! Sometimes he talks to himself! Some say hes bucking for GQ or more appropriately Modern Maturity! I pay to watch my Boxing, I dont pay for this guy's mug on my TV screen every Saturday! Hey Joe have a seat! Trout gets Kayoed by Cotto quick!

deepwater says:

Trout has been starving for recognition for the last 2 years... even when he became champ he couldn't buy an interview. When he got hit with weed smoking allegations he was basically swept under the rug until it was determined he hadn't been an undercover Puff Daddy.
What a contrast,... between him and Chavez Jr. Even Arum has spent hours on the web defending Mr Cheech and Chong of professional boxing... " aw what the hell,.. so what the kid took a toke... it didn't inhance his ability... everybody takes a drag sometimes" Arum said.

2 things...

Cotto didn't get to show how dangerous he really is against Mayweather... (who's forcefield of defensive invicibility is waining but it's still good enought to keep a future HOFmer like Cotto from catching him clean)

Even though he's a blown up welter, Cotto still hits hard enough to inflict comprehesive damage against even the biggest foes.
And he'll hurt Trout if he ever gets access to that chin.

#2 Trout can box... his style is of the safety first variety that puts fans to sleep when he's faced with a decent opponent.
I believe Trout can potentially technically touch Cotto more than Cotto can touch him if he wants to.
But there's no way he gets a decision and a title for just doing an amateur-point-job on Cotto.
Trouts got to bang with Cotto.. and bang he can... if he gets loose and comfortable enough.
Otherwise Cotto is guaranateed to win as the agressor who's trying to make the fight....just off his rep and popularity alone.

Trout has to trust his advantages... size, reach, strength, youth.. and sound boxing if he's going to win... he's got to beat Cotto in the trenches to win the fight. he's got to beat him like a "man"....

This is one of those fights I can't call until I see Trouts body language at the opening bell.
good luck to both.


trout has to box good enough to knock out cotto because if it goes to the cards at msg no way cotto loses. the peurto ricans will be fired up and real loud right after buffer has a 10 count or kind words for camacho. all my $ on cotto

Radam G says:

Danggit! There is no Casablanca Rick love for the boxing Sam and his sons. Hehe! It is more like: "Don't play it," SAM!"

"A smile is just a smile! A kiss is just a kiss. The fundamental things apply, as time GOES BYYY!"

I don't have a lot of interest in this bout. I see Cotto winning in a stinkfest. He be won't be at his best. Holla!

ali says:

Trout is without a doubt getting knocked out.

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