In less than a week, an astute veteran will lock horns with a young champion in Madison Square Garden, New York. Austin Trout faces, arguably his toughest test to date when he takes on Miguel Cotto for the WBA light middleweight championship. There is no doubt that the champion Trout has travelled across a difficult path in his journey to become the WBA champion. Travelling to Canada, Mexico and even Panama, he is familiar with being in the opponent’s territory. However, his rigorous road has built him up into a world calibre fighter mentally and physically, as he has had to fight while being under the radar. His opponent needs no introduction. Miguel Cotto will try to bounce back after his defeat to Floyd Mayweather in a lopsided decision on May 5th this year. Losing the WBA super light middleweight title, Cotto will give his career one final push to regain the top spot of his division before he announces his likely retirement.
Austin Trout understands that a win against his Puerto Rican opponent will launch his career with the boxing elite. The New Mexico native is undefeated, winning all of his 25 bouts with 14 coming by knockout, with a KO percentage of 56. His last fight against Delvin Rodriguez was his second defence of his title, racking up round after round winning by a wide unanimous decision. ‘No Doubt’ fought a tactical and measure fight, completely outfoxing and out boxing his opponent. Although Rodriguez managed to get through with a number of punches, none of them troubled the WBA champion who stamped his authority from the first bell. The fight never transformed into a brawl but then again brawling was never required. Trout’s height, reach and ability were more than enough to make a simple, yet routine defence. This has not been a rarity in his career. In fact this has been very common. Out boxing the opponent to reach a wide unanimous decision is a story all too familiar to the champion. For example Rigoberto Alvarez, the brother of Saul Alvarez, was nowhere near the calibre and class level of his 27 year old opponent, even with a home advantage as the fight took place in Mexico. With the vacant WBA title on the line, Trout refused to let this chance slip from his grasp and gave a composed performance winning 119 – 108 on all three of the judges scorecard, thus becoming the new WBA champion. It is clear that the Trout does not deal with luck and ambiguity. He boxes to win and to win by a margin, expelling all doubts in the process. However he will be facing quality, which he would have never faced before in Miguel Cotto.
Cotto’s record stands impressively. He has amassed 40 fights, winning 37 and only losing 3, with 30 knockouts. His career has been filled with talent, obstacles, heartbreak and redemption but he has fallen short when he has faced the two very best of this era. The Puerto Rican enters this fight coming from a loss against pound for pound King Floyd Mayweather. Fighting at junior middleweight, Cotto could not assert his size and dominance. Mayweather’s natural ability of speed, timing and power was catching his opponent round after round, with the effects clearly visible on Cotto’s face. To add salt to the wounds the defensive ability of the leader of the ‘Money Team’ made it increasingly difficult for Miguel to catch Mayweather cleanly. It was a brave and valiant effort from the 32 year old, who did more than any of Mayweather’s other opponents, but drawing blood from his opponent’s nose was not enough to see off victory. The reality was that Cotto had lost by a wide margin. Prior to this fight the WBA super light middleweight title was up for grabs against Antonio Margarito. Of course fans were not interested in the title as the fight signified redemption and revenge for Cotto. There is no point in narrating the history of these two competitors as it has been widely narrated throughout different boxing mediums. However, by concentrating on the fight it is clear to see that Cotto used his jab in a very effective way. Not only did the jab cause damage to the eye of Margarito, it was also there to set up the combinations which Cotto ripped to back up his opponent. Slowly but surely the accuracy of he punches were connecting to the chosen area of attack, which was indeed the eye, to the extent that it completely closed forcing Margarito to fight with one eye. Another point that we could focus on is the movement around the ring that was displayed by the for WBA super champion. Although he was prone to attack in the facial area, Cotto was on his toes throughout forcing Margarito to chase him, hence frustrating him. Cotto deservedly triumphed over his foe and moved on to continue to fight.
What are the chances of Cotto winning? And what are the chances of Trout winning? We don’t know because anything can happen in a boxing ring. However, looking at it logically a few things becomes clear that will culminate to produce a prediction. Austin Trout is a superior boxer. His height and reach advantage will be used effectively to try and keep his opponent at bay and frustrate him throughout the night to try and force an opening. “No Doubt” is also relentless when he attacks, putting pressure on his opponents and will carefully pick his shots which will cause more problems for Cotto as he would try and create room for himself. We must not forget that is Trout is the best, legit junior middleweight that Miguel Cotto will have ever faced and with his southpaw stance he could create several problems for the favourite. If I was to argue the other way and state the key to Cotto’s victory I would say that his movement, jab and ability to counter will be vitally important. The Puerto Rican must take the champion to places he has never been and must make him feel pain that he has never felt inside a boxing ring. Austin Trout has never been in with someone like Miguel Cotto, therefore he may not fully understand what it is like to be in the ring with a competitor of very high aptitude. The pro Cotto crowd could have an impact on Trout but this may be unlikely as the man from New Mexico has been in his opponents back garden on numerous occasions and will probably not be fazed by the reaction. Opinions will vary as they do in every fight. Cotto supporters and Trout supporters will battle on social media outlets and boxing forums defending their man but at the end of the night the two men themselves will show us who the worthy champion is. Will Cotto rebuild to conquer the 154 pound division before he retires? Or will Trout finally get the credit he deserves by overcoming his biggest obstacle yet? Find out on December 1st.
Writers Prediction: Cotto on Points