The year 2013 looks to be a big transition year in boxing and one of the bigger transitions is Austin Trout finally landing the biggest whopper of his fight dreams against Saul “Canelo” Alvarez for a light middleweight WBA/WBC unification. This “dream” bout takes place Saturday, April 20th in ol’ San Antone for any Texas fight fiends still interested in the finer science of fisticuffs.
The unification story is just small patooties stuff. The orgs will quickly split the belts off at the most opportune time in the near future as is the transitory nature of titles these days. Canelo won the belt vacated by Manny Pacquiao who won the belt stripped off Sergio Martinez after he won their WBC middleweight belt. Sergio in turn won his 154 lb WBC belt from the stripped Vernon Forrest. Incredibly the WBA belt Trout first won has more strippages than a Red Light District No Tell Motel in Vegas, and so it goes in the strippage crazy merry-go-round world of ABC orgs.
For Trout, these are new opportunities giving him the recognition he believes he deserves. Win, lose, or draw, he’s in a bigger mix for as long as he produces good fights. Golden Boy has a big stable of potential 154 lb fights to keep him busy for years. The venue came about because of bold moves by Canelo who has been ahead of the opportunity sweepstakes as soon as Golden Boy Promotions signed him as an 18 yr old Mexican sensation. With a record of 41-0-1, 30 KO, he has not yet disappointed like so many touted phenoms, yet he’s only 22 years of age with plenty of gas left in the tank.
The disclaimer: Canelo Alvarez vs Money Mayweather may soon be archived in the dusty bins of “The What If Library of Fantasy Fights” if recent trends hold. Alvarez was the first fighter of record to reserve the Cinco de Mayo weekend as the perfect date for the Mayweather fight, something Golden Boy Promotions has been pointing to with some four co-promotions between the two over the past few years. Alas, Mayweather negotiations are always a prickly, back stabbing, down and dirty affair, so ultimately Alvarez refused to support the Mayweather trump card again and staked out his claim as the headliner in his own venue to play his own wild cards.
The unvarnished facts of today are that Alvarez is already ahead of the pro career of Floyd Mayweather Jr at the same age when both were holding their first WBC belt. Alvarez has more defenses against a higher grade of fighter than Mayweather faced at age 22, fact, and he won his title a year earlier than did Mayweather, fact. Not only that, but he’s well ahead of Golden Boy Promotions founder Oscar de la Hoya at the same age with his own cracking promotional company staging boxing matches in boxing crazy Mexico, fact.
Unvarnished facts are heresy to regrettable Americans anchoring the current hunkered down HBO vs Showtime vs Golden Boy vs Top Rank entrenched lockout that threatens to put a stranglehold on American boxing. The kid takes a lot of profane stick and cheap shots in the antisocial media websites, yet precious few boxers have ever accomplished more than Alvarez at the same age. He can take heart knowing that Julio Cesar Chavez had more than his fair share of rabid detractors as happens when any boxer surges to the top.
At the kickoff presser to official announce the big dukem up, the prime aged 27 year old Austin Trout announced, “I don’t think he has his man strength yet. I will impose my will on him. I am going to take him out of his comfort level.”
Such tepid fodder well short of the usual doomsday beatings of a lifetime, knock you into the next county morgue stuff typical fighters utter in the build up to their fights, but perhaps indicative of a more direct sweet science approach the southpaw Trout is looking to apply to the hide of the orthodox Alvarez.
Since Alvarez made his Golden Boy American debut against aspiring fellow prospect, Larry Mosley, a close relation to Shane Mosley, Canelo has gone 19-0, 15 KO against a much stronger line up of prospects, fringe contenders, and former champs than the mostly journeyman padded record of local fighters Trout has been promoted with.
An added amusing aspect to the proceedings is watching the hordes of antisocial media critics eat their brown stained shorts when Alvarez signed the fight. Such is their nature that they almost immediately took to moaning that Trout will not get a fair shake in the officiating.
Meanwhile, the self appointed Ring “boxing experts” got exposed recently after some 20 odd “experts” picked Brandon Rios to knock out Mike Alvarado in their dynamic rematch, ouch! Almost the same number picked Donaire over Rigondeaux, ouchie~ouchie! Figure on a panel of baboons to be able to pick around 50% winners by chance alone, but no matter, Ring and too many other experts have been too blinkered to understand the timeline of Alvarez accomplishments in the lead up to the fight.
An interesting parallel is this bout somewhat reprises the Mayweather/Corrales fight. Both were similarly undefeated and highly regarded though still relatively unproven at the elite level. The slightly younger 23 year old Corrales at 33-0 had higher quality defenses with more wins than the 24 year old Mayweather at 24-0, but Mayweather had the advantage of the biggest name, Genero Hernandez in his record. Mayweather also had a Ring P4P ranking, similar to Alvarez who has a Boxrec #8 P4P ranking and looking to crash the Ring P4P list.
In spite of fewer fights against lesser competition, I will use his moniker to prove a point, there is No Doubt that Trout is a quality operator with a decent chance to win this fight. He did what he had to do against the home favorite Miguel Cotto, waging an aggressive no quarter asked war as Cotto’s best shots bounced harmlessly off him like popcorn. Alvarez was similarly put through his paces against Shane Mosley.
One advantage on paper for Alvarez runs contrary to the claim Alvarez has not faced legitimate 154 lb fighters. Fact is he beat the Ring ranked #4 Ryan Rhodes, a big southpaw who had fought as high as super middle, as big or bigger than Trout. The result was a lopsided beatdown for Alvarez who was only 20 years of age at the time, not even needing his full “man strength” as I suspect southpaw Austin Trout will learn once they step into the ring. Facts are that Canelo has been matched hard and often in Mexico since age 15, so he knows how to beat bigger, stronger, “man strength” fighters and now he’s matured into a physical match for Trout with more power. Speculation has it that Trout has more speed, but Alvarez is certainly speedier than Cotto who had no problems catching up to Trout.
I like Alvarez in this fight for all of the above reasons, but I have to wonder what happens as the sometimes farcical Golden Boy promotions aligns with the farcical Showtime. Thus far Canelo has been immune from the dubious officiating and dirty fighting of Hopkins and Mayweather fights because he comes to actually fight and thus far has scarcely struggled save a competitive bout against Mosley. On his worst day he has yet to quit as Hopkins is prone to do.
This being a Texas fight, that also means the inglorious Laurence Cole is the “chosen” ref, the lousiest ref in boxing since the lamentable Joe Cortez thankfully exited the ranks. Cole pulled Danny Garcia off the knocked down and out on his feet Eric Morales in their first bout to nurse Morales to the closing bell Joe Cortez style. He was one of the Showtime cabal of dirty refs in some of the most ham handed officiating and judging of recent years. He DQed Arthur Abraham for knocking out Andre Dirrell in their supersix tourney in spite of being blocked way out of position to even see the details of what transpired.
We have no idea what GBP options are on Trout or any other machinations going on behind the scenes. The Showtime banty tourney featured some of the most blatantly dirty fighting ever seen as Abner Mares merrily fouled his way to spurious wins Andre Ward style to claim the tourney.
I can’t say for how long Golden Boy will have Alvarez signed, but the kid could turn out to be the Mexican Oscar De la Hoya Golden Boy looking to expand north, so Alvarez has much to lose in the short term if he loses to Trout. In turn, Golden Boy will have at least temporarily staved off another competitor in promotions.
I’m trying to ignore my well justified cynicism as I close up. If the fighters have any say so, it’s a great night featuring high level boxing, plenty of guts and heart, and some big challenges to overcome. Let’s cross fingers X X and hope the poohbahs, judges, and ref keep their sticky fingers out of the fight and let the fighters decide how best to proceed without the usual monkeys on their backs.
To quote the reknown Latin Lover of Linguistitudes, Lupe Contreras, “Quien es mas macho?”