By Joseph Herron, photo by Tom Casino / Showtime: Last night at the famed Madison Square Garden in New York, New York, undefeated WBA Junior Middleweight Champion Austin Trout (26-0, 14 KOs) retained his title in decisive fashion by winning a wide unanimous decision over three division world champion and future Hall of Famer Miguel Angel Cotto (37-4, 30 KOs) with scores of 119-109 and 117-111 twice.
While many ringside pundits will argue that the judges’ verdict was a little wider than expected, most won’t dispute that the correct fighter won the highly publicized event.
Going into the bout, most casual fight fans weren’t familiar with the slick southpaw and were expecting a customarily clear and resolute victory for the Puerto Rican favorite in his favorite fight domain of Madison Square Garden. Although the Caguas warrior put forth a valiant effort, the experienced ring veteran couldn’t mount an effective assault against the crafty undefeated champion at any time during the twelve round match.
Now that the elite level cat is out of the boxing bag, will Austin reap the benefit of his dominant and decisive victory over one of the sport’s biggest names?
Not just yet.
Many detractors and skeptics will attempt to paint the picture of young lion giving the business to an over the hill and depleted aging ex-champion. But when the discerning fight fan really dissects Austin’s eye opening performance, they will discover that the 27 year old technician negated Miguel Cotto’s entire bag of veteran tactics by using superior footwork and slippery upperbody movement.
Trout’s footwork and right hand was able to keep the customarily effective aggressor at debilitating angles for most of the contest. When Cotto was able to occasionally find Trout on the ropes, the defending champion would use his physical size and toughness to effectively and intelligently tie up the future Hall of Famer; rendering him completely ineffective in close quarters.
The experienced fight veteran was completely befuddled on Saturday night. Throughout the entire contest, Austin would step to the side and use his head and upper body movement to duck underneath Cotto’s vaunted left hook, then counter with a sharp left hand or right hook.
The usually content counterpuncher also took the lead effectively and threw more successful combinations than we’ve seen in recent fights. Whenever Cotto attempted to use the entire ring, Trout would cut off the ring and impose his height and reach efficiently.
Last night, we saw a brilliant young ring technician execute a more assertive and authoritative gameplan to completely take the judges out of the equation. Austin showed his physical strength on the inside, and his mental toughness throughout by implementing a strict fight plan in all twelve rounds. The gifted champion was never influenced by the pro-Miguel Cotto crowd in attendance and proved his mettle by silencing his critics within a very hostile environment.
After his brilliant and decisive victory against one of the best fighters of this era, Austin Trout deserves a shot at the other big names of the fight game; Canelo Alvarez, Sergio Martinez…and yes, Floyd Mayweather Jr.
But will the biggest financial draws of the sport be willing to step in the ring with the undefeated WBA Junior Middleweight Champion?
When asked about his future plans, the reigning and defending title holder spoke confidently.
“I want to unify the 154 pound weight division,” expounded Austin “No Doubt” Trout. “To everyone who was hoping to see me come up short against one of the biggest names in boxing: sorry to disappoint you…but this is only the beginning.”
“I am issuing a challenge to all of the current title holders at Junior Middleweight. Canelo Alvarez, K9 Bundrage, and Floyd Mayweather Jr. It’s time that the fight fans see who the best fighter in the division truly is. Obviously I would prefer to face not only the recognized best in the division, but the recognized best in the entire sport.”
A fight with Floyd Mayweather Jr. would make perfect sense in a perfect world. The two fighters just finished defeating Miguel Cotto in decisive and entertaining fashion, and both champions hold a version of the Junior Middleweight WBA title.
Many fight fans will debate which performance was more impressive, but Austin knows that there is only one way to prove dominance in the sport of boxing.
“We need to find out who deserves to be called the best. The fans deserve to know. When the fight game was at its peak, there was only one recognized champion in every weight division. Let’s take steps towards unifying the division. I don’t care who it is…Bundrage, Alavarez, or Mayweather.”
“But make no mistake; I’m ready to take on the best. I think I proved that last night.”
The always classy and humble Austin “No Doubt” Trout is a very happy and thankful fighter at this time. The reigning WBA Champion has a very special message for his entire network of fans.
“First of all I have to give all glory and honor to God for giving me this opportunity and the strength to fulfill his plans. I also have to give thanks to everyone who has been in my corner throughout this entire journey. Their encouragement and support has really meant a lot to me and my family. And to all of my new fans, welcome aboard. The train is just leaving the station and we have a long way to go. I hope everyone enjoys the ride.”