|Miguel Cotto, Louie Burke and Austin "No Doubt" Trout at the end of the 12th round. |
At Madison Square Garden, New York
By Randy De La O
Last Saturday night, December 1, at Madison Square Garden in New York, Austin Trout, from Las Cruces, New Mexico, successfully defended his WBA Super welterweight/junior middleweight title against always tough, former champion Miguel Cotto, of Caguas, Puerto Rico, with a 12 round unanimous decision. Trout was the champion but he was definitely the underdog going into this fight.
In the weeks leading up to the fight Trout and his trainer Louie Burke expressed their confidence in a victory. Trout, who has made it a habit of beating fighters on their home turf seemed undisturbed with fighting Cotto at the Garden, where Miguel Cotto is so popular he has out sold Muhammad Ali as a headliner.
Cotto, recently coming off a successful rematch with Antonio Margarito and with an exceptionally strong performance in his loss to Floyd Maywether was equally confident. Perhaps a little too confident and thinking ahead to a fight with Saul “Canelo” Alvarez. Still, you could hardly blame him, he was building momentum leading up to this fight.
I personally took some exception with certain boxing customs and protocol that were broken leading up to the fight. The fight was billed as Miguel Cotto vs Austin Trout. Traditionally, it is the champion who receives first billing. A minor gripe maybe, and a far second to entering the ring first, as well as being introduced first. These are privileges given to a reigning champion. Privileges that have been earned. I have no doubt that was negotiated but it's a safe bet it will never happen again.
Trout, who is known as an defensive fighter came out aggressively in the first round, and maintained that aggressiveness throughout most of the fight. It was no surprise to anyone that Trout would use his jab, hand speed and counter punching abilities in his fight with Cotto. What was a surprise was his willingness to trade punches on the inside and even more surprisingly, beating Cotto on the inside. Trout was consistently going to the body and using effective combinations throughout the fight.
Cotto had his best rounds in the middle of the fight where, for a time, he seemed to be gaining some momentum in the fight and possibly turning things around. By round 7 Trout seemed to regain control of the fight and was again dictating the tempo. He maintained control for the remainder of the fight.
That's not to say Cotto did not have his moments, he did, but overall Trout never seemed hurt or in trouble during this fight. Trout, maybe remembering where he was, closed the show with a strong finish in the 12th round. When the fight was over I don't think even the biggest fans of Miguel Cotto were in doubt of the outcome. Judges Steve Weisfeld and John Poturaj had it 117-111 in favor of Austin Trout, judge Adalaide Byrd also had the fight in Trout's favor with a score of 119-109.
The thing about scores is they don't always tell the whole story. I think Austin won most of the rounds but a few of them were close. They were hard fought rounds by both fighters. Both fighters had to dig down but in the end Trout dug a little deeper. Both fighters are deserving of respect. I don't know if this was a “Last Hurrah” for Cotto but if it was it was the only good way to go out, still on his feet, against a young strong champion out to prove he is the best, not unlike the Miguel Cotto of a few years back. It was the passing of the torch. Best of luck to both fighters in all they do and thanks for a great fight!!
Congratulations to Austin Trout for a great performance, as well as trainer/cornerman Louie Burke, Randy "Moose" Gomez and the rest of Team Trout. Congratulations Las Cruces, New Mexico!