By: William Holmes
On Saturday night in San Antonio, Texas a junior middleweight unification bout will occur between Saul “Canelo” Alvarez and Austin “No Doubt” Trout for the WBC and WBA Junior middleweight titles. Last week fight fans were treated, or tortured, by the matchup between the top two fights in the Super Bantamweight division on HBO. Showtime has countered with the best possible matchup in the junior middleweight division.
On the undercard Omar Figueroa and Abner Cotto will face each other in the lightweight division.
The following is a preview of both bouts.
Omar Figueroa (20-0) vs. Abner Cotto (13-0); Lightweight Division
Both Cotto and Figueroa are young promising lightweights with the potential to be future champions, and Saturday will determine which one of these undefeated lightweights is a contender and which is a pretender.
Boxing is in Cotto’s blood, he’s the second cousin to multi divisional champion Miguel Cotto and has been boxing since he was ten years old. He competed as an amateur and won the amateur national championship in the featherweight division and competed in the Pan American games.
Cotto is slightly older than Figueroa and will have a sleight height advantage inside the ring. He has decent power, seven of his sixteen victories have come by way of KO or TKO. However, he’s only had two stoppages in his past five fights. He hasn’t faced any serious competition, the best fighter he’s defeated so far was Fernando Torres in 2011. But, Cotto has gone ten rounds three times and had a very active 2012 by fighting four times.
His opponent, Omar Figueroa, has more fights than Cotto but has actually boxed less rounds. Figueroa also does not have the deep amateur background of Cotto.
He does appear to have a significant power advantage. Sixteen of his fights have resulted in a stoppage and four of his last five opponents failed to make it to the final bell. Figueroa has also faced slightly better competition than Cotto. He has previously competed on ShoBox and has defeated the likes of Michael Perez, Ramon Ayala, and Dominic Salcido.
Figueroa has also fought once in 2013 and an unbelievably six times in 2012.
This is an interesting matchup between two highly touted prospects, but Figueroa is the better tested of the two and it should help him beat Cotto by decision if he fails to knock him out in the early rounds.
Saul Alvarez (41-0) vs. Austin Trout (26-0); WBC & WBA Junior Middleweight Titles
Canelo’s detractors have long been saying that he has yet to face a legitimate junior middleweight since he captured the WBC title in 2011 and that he has faced nothing but blown up welterweights and junior welterweights.
On Saturday Canelo gets to prove those detractors wrong when he faces the WBA Junior Middleweight Champion Austin Trout.
Canelo began boxing when he was 13 years old and turned professional while he was still a teenager. He’s never tasted defeat and started boxing in the lightweight division and has dominated ever since.
He’s about the same size and has the same reach as Trout, but he appears to have considerable more power. Thirty of his victories have come by way of stoppage including four of his last five fights. Ironically, some of Alvarez’s toughest fights were at the early stages of his career. He fought and defeated current lightweight champion Miguel Vazquez twice prior to 2008.
However, ever since he’s made his US debut Canelo has defeated fighters who are past their priem or out of their weight class. He defeated Cotto in 2010, but it was the less famous and less talented Jose Cotto and not Migel Cotto. He defeated an over the hill Carlos Baldomir in 2010 in a weight class above where Baldomir is most famous for campaigning in. He defeated Hatton in 2011, but it was the less famous and less talented Matthew Hatton and not his Ricky Hatton. Matthew Hatton was also fighting out of his weight class. He defeated Ryan Rhodes when he was in his upper thirties, Alfonso Gomez who spent most of his career in the welterweight division, a shot Kermit Cintron, and over the hill Shane Mosley, and Josesito Lopez…a fighter who spent a large majority of his career fighting two weight classes below the junior middleweight limit.
His detractors have a valid point, he has been well protected for most of his career.
Austin Trout is slightly older than Canelo Alvarez but he’s in the prime of his athletic career. He does have a deep amateur background, in 2004 he was the runner up to make the 2004 U.S. Olympic Boxing Team.
He’s a southpaw and he likes to use his movement when facing competition. He doesn’t have the power of Canelo, only fourteen of his victories have come by way of stoppage and and he’s only had two stoppages since 2009.
Unlike Alvarez, Canelo has spent most of his career fighting in the junior middleweight division against legitimate junior middleweights, but he has not defeated the same type of “name” fighters that Canelo has defeated.
He did defeat Canelo’s brother, Rigoberto Alvarez, in 2011 by a comfortable margin to win the WBA junior middleweight championship. He also defended against top contender Delvin Rodriguez in 2012.
But Trout really opened up the eyes of boxing experts with his comfortable victory over Miguel Cotto in Madison Square Garden. He made Cotto look old and slow a fight after Cotto pushed Floyd Mayweather Jr. to his limit. Trout never seriously hurt Cotto, but he was always in a comfortable lead and quite simply out boxed him.
Trout has the talent to upset Canelo and ruin his chances for a big money showdown against Floyd Mayweather Jr. The one negative for Trout is that the fans in Texas for Canelo will greatly outnumber the Austin Trout fans in attendance.
But Trout was able to handle the pressures of a crowd rooting for his opponent in Madison Square Garden, and he’ll be able to handle that pressure on Saturday.
Ausin Trout will pull off the upset and shock the world.