19.10.05 – The junior lightweight division offers some of the sport’s finest fighters in the world and truly demonstrates boxing at its best. As the three top dogs Marco Antonio Barrerra, Erik Morales, and Manny Pacquiao go so does the junior lightweight division. However, there is another boxer on the horizon, who has the potential to reach the upper echelon of the division. Former IBF bantamweight champion “The Cincinnati Kid” Tim Austin (26-1-1, 23 KOs), who defended the bantamweight title nine times from 1997-2003, is back after a 2-year layoff. Tim, idle since losing his title via eighth-round TKO to Rafael Marquez in February 2003, returned on Don King Productions undercard on Sept. 3 at the Gund Arena in Cleveland, Ohio. He defeated Reynaldo Hurtado (36-8-1, 27 KOs) dropping him three times—in the third round and twice in the fifth, before it was stopped.
Austin, who at 34, might still have enough to win another title, served notice to the rest of the junior lightweight division that he is a legitimate contender for the 126 lbs. crown.
Austin has all the tools that a fighter needs: power, speed and boxing skills. His power is one of the best in the Junior Lightweight division, and maybe he’s one of the best pound-for-pound fighter’s in all of boxing. Austin won the International Boxing Federation world title in July 1997, from Mbulelo Botile of South Africa on an eighth-round knockout. Botile broke
Austin’s jaw with a left hook in the first round, but Austin fought through the pain and knocked down Botile in the seventh round – then right-hooked him into la-la land in the eighth. Miraculously, Tim had fought on for 7 more rounds with a broken jaw against an undefeated champion and turned the tables to score a clean cut victory. Later, he would have to endure a twenty hour operation to repair the damage to his jaw. Austin showed serious heart that night.
With that win, Austin introduced himself to the boxing world as a champion to look out for. During his reign of nine title defenses of the IBF bantamweight title, “The Cincinnati Kid” became a regular on big pay-per-view cards, including those of Mike Tyson, Evander Holyfield, Felix Trinidad and Julio Cesar Chavez. Pound for pound, the 118-pound Austin was rated one of the best fighters ever.
In his last championship outing (February 2003), things didn’t go exactly as planned. In the main event, at Caesars Palace in Las Vegas, Rafael Marquez scored an upset TKO victory over Austin in the eighth round. Tim, winning the fight, got caught with a big combination in the 8th round by the heavy-handed Rafael Marquez. Referee Vic Drakulich stepped in at 2:20 of the eighth and stopped the contest giving Marquez the victory as well as the I.B.F. Bantamweight belt.
“Every champion loses at one time or another, but the great ones come back,” Austin said. “I am not saying I am a great fighter. I just want the opportunity to prove to the world what I already believe. There is no use talking about it. I would rather show it in the ring. I am just looking for the chance. I want to fight the biggest names (“Baby-Faced Assassin,” “El
Terrible,” and the “Pacman”) and the toughest guys. I have to make the public see what I see in myself. That is the only way I will create interest.”
Tim is ready to rebuild his professional boxing career. He is now at a serious crossroads and the junior lightweight division has a new player to add to the excitement. According to trainer Aaron Snowell, “Tim is as focused now as he was when he was a young aspiring professional with a 6-0 record. It’s unbelievable, I know he has a point to prove. Warning, the junior lightweight division has been served notice.”