by Boxing Insider News
The fight between Austin Trout and Saul “Canelo” Alvarez was slated to add one more championship to the other’s resume. They were both champions in the 154-pound weight class, and very rarely have there been bouts between two recognized champs who were both unbeaten.
Less than an hour later, there was just one unbeaten man remaining, as Alvarez captured a unanimous decision in front of a audience that was very friendly toward his cause, to say the least.
Trout had been someone looking for respect, as it was clear that he was not the so-called “star” in this bout. That much was understood, as it is Alvarez who was the far bigger draw, both on television and with the live crowd, which numbered close to 40,000 at the Alamodome in San Antonio.
He earned respect, though not enough from the officials, evidently.
Trout, who was two inches taller, is a technically-sound southpaw, and that is one of his characteristics that made him problematic for Alvarez to deal with. Canelo is much more comfortable with opponents who move toward him. Trout, a former U.S. national champion with over 200 amateur bouts, was not going to settle into a pattern like that.
Early on, Alvarez didn’t know quite what to do with Trout, and came forward throwing wildly. He did manage to land a roundhouse right and a right uppercut in the second round, and got more aggressive over the next couple of rounds. Even though Trout was busier, Alvarez was doing a good job at slipping punches.
Trout’s jab was not dominant, but it was the most visible weapon in the first half of the fight. Some of his right hand leads also started to work in the fifth round. Not that Alvarez was a sitting duck, mind you; he has always had good upper body movement, and he showed it. Alvarez seemed to be a bit winded in the sixth round, and found himself caught against the ropes. Trout is not a power puncher, however, and he really didn’t have enough to hurt Canelo.
The difference, in the minds of the judges, was the power of Alvarez, who was throwing one punch at a time for most of the evening, but landed some of them. The sharpest blow came just seconds into the seventh round, as a straight right hand buckled Trout’s knees and sent him to the floor, for the first time in his career. After getting up, Trout’s legs were unsteady, but he fought back nonetheless, to the point where he seemed to have Alvarez backing up toward the end.
Trout’s jab became less prominent in the last four rounds, and one of the reasons may be that his corner knew that the judges had him almost hopelessly behind. Alvarez was closing the distance, but continued his pattern of loading up for single shots for the most part. Trout was busier in the tenth and 12th rounds, though Alvarez, even knowing he was well ahead, and to his credit, looked at times like he was trying to take the judges out of the equation in the 11th round.
The scores, under WBC rules, were given to both corners at the end of the fourth and eighth rounds. So there were really no surprises in the end, as everybody gave the fight to Alvarez. Judge Stanley Christodoulou had it 118-109, with Rey Danseco scoring it 115-112 and Oren Schellenberger having it at 116-111.
With this fight, Alvarez is now 43-0-1 with 30 KO’s, while Trout suffered his first career loss after 26 victories (among them 14 KO’s).
Alvarez had not fought since September, when he stopped Josesito Lopez in five rounds. He called the fight a learning experience.
Trout almost sounded like a company man in the post-fight interview. Though the argument could certainly be made that he deserved a better break on the scorecards, he made no case for himself whatsoever. “He was quicker, stronger. he was the better man tonight,” he said, adding that he had “no excuses.”
Alvarez had pulled this bout off the May 4 Floyd Mayweather-Robert Guerrero undercard because he wasn’t guaranteed a fight with Mayweather of he won, and also wanted to show that he could carry a show of this magnitude on his shoulders.
The size of the crowd seemed to demonstrate just that, and perhaps his star is shining brighter now, as he hopes he is headed toward bigger and better things, despite not really putting an exclamation point on this win.
The only question is whether one of those bigger and better things is going to be a fight with Mayweather, who would not yet sign a contract to meet Alvarez in the event both of them won their matches. That could be something Canelo waits for (he stated without reservation after the fight that it was what he wanted), although Oscar De La Hoya has said that Alvarez would be on a scheduled September show against somebody.
Both the WBA and WBC championships were on the line, in addition to another belt controlled by a magazine that is owned by De La Hoya, who also owns Golden Boy Promotions (the bout’s promoter).
Trout did not necessarily expect to get any breaks in this overwhelmingly pro-Alvarez atmosphere, and he doesn’t really hit hard enough to take care of business on his own. There were other factors too. The El Paso native, who now lives in Las Cruces, New Mexico, was dealing with an opponent who not only wanted to establish himself as a top-level force in the boxing landscape, but had some family revenge on his mind. Trout had already defeated Rigoberto Alvarez, Canelo’s brother, for the vacant WBA title. “This is for my brother,” the unified 154-pound champ said.
Trout never received a lot of recognition until he beat Miguel Cotto to retain that title last December. He may have to go back to the drawing board, as he does not command a lot of attention on his own. He was hoping to develop the kind of leverage that being able to unify title belts would have afforded him.
Instead, the boxing world’s eyes will turn toward Mayweather, and whether Canelo Alvarez would stand a chance with him if and when the two come together.