By Chris Cella
Miguel “Angel” Cotto has guaranteed victory on December 1, and the majority of the boxing world–both analysts and fans–expect to see Cotto come out on top as he goes to battle for the WBA Super Welterweight World Championship against Austin “No Doubt” Trout at the Mecca of boxing, New York’s Madison Square Garden.
But Trout never got the memo that he is “expected” to lose this fight.
Despite his loss to Floyd Mayweather Jr., a fight where he pushed the undefeated superstar like no other has, Cotto has displayed domination inside the ropes in recent fights, avenging his loss in superior fashion against Antonio Margarito and picking apart Ricardo Mayorga as he cruised to a TKO victory in the 12th and final round.
But nothing on paper has left much of an impact on Trout as he began his training camp to take on the former four-time and three-division world champion.
“I know this fight will be a changing of the guard,” said Trout. “I’m going to use my victory over him as an announcement that boxing has a new superstar. But even though boxing is a game where the strongest survive and it’s my time, I still feel a little bad for him and his fans. I’ve been a Cotto fan and he’s had a great career, but I hope they all know this is 2012. They’re not going there to watch their hero win. They’re going there to watch him pass the torch.”
Undefeated with 25 victories—14 coming by way of KO—Trout has been successful in three consecutive title defenses since claiming the vacant WBA world light middleweight title last February, but undoubtedly faces his toughest test to date when he steps between the ropes with the heavy handed Cotto.
Trout refuses to let the fact that he is coming into the fight a heavy underdog affect him; rather, he has been looking at similar history that seems to be on his side.
“In 1991, Sugar Ray Leonard fought an unknown champion right there in Madison Square Garden,” said Trout. “He was supposed to be just tuning up for big fights on the horizon. But instead, he took a beating and that was his last fight as a serious threat to any belts. 12 rounds later, boxing had a new star, Terry Norris. That’s what this fight will be about: History repeating itself.”
Since 2004, Cotto has held a world title every year and emerged victoriously in 16 of 18 world championship bouts; he will now be looking to reclaim the world title December 1 in the Garden, a venue where he has accumulated an unblemished record of 7-0, defeating several hometown favorites, including world champions Zab Judah and Paul Malignaggi.
Trout’s style will make for an interesting match-up with Cotto, who possesses power and speed in both hands, and is best known for his dangerous left hook. The 27-year-old southpaw will have to utilize his speed and legs in order to avoid the big shot from one of the division’s best.
“It’s such a lifelong dream to be fighting a superstar in the ‘Mecca of Boxing’,” Trout concluded. “It really is a dream come true and I hope my victory is impressive enough where the fans in this great city show me some of the love they’ve showed Cotto throughout his great run. I’m honored to be part of such an historic event and happy that my time is about to begin.”
Time will tell if Trout is able to execute his game plan an initiate the ‘changing of the guard’ as promised, a test that few have been able to do against one of Puerto Rico’s most revered boxing champions.