By Jake Donovan
Austin ‘No Doubt’ Trout impressed in a long-awaited hometown fight and American television debut, bludgeoning visiting Aussie fringe contender Frank LoPorto in their Showtime-televised main event Friday evening at El Paso, Texas.
Trout, from relatively nearby Las Cruces, Mexico, dominated every second of every round before the fight was mercifully halted (after lasting far too long) at 2:32 of the sixth round.
If not for the opening round knockdown, every round could’ve been simply described as ‘Trout whipped LoPorto’s ass.’ It was as brutal as it was a mismatch, not a common theme among a Shobox series that prides itself on matching prospects tough while on the way up.
But Trout is no prospect, which further deviates from the show’s normal template.
Simply put, it was a reason to give Trout a much-needed showcase in – or at least near – his hometown. Raised in Las Cruces but born in El Paso, Trout drew a raucous applause the moment his name was announced to the sizable crowd on hand in the venue.
Before the fight, Trout admitted to a nervous excitement in his need to impress his fans, as well as those in the states watching him for the first time on television.
He was given the perfect opportunity to do it, as LoPorto was the very definition of an opponent. The Australian served as a punching bag throughout the six round contest. To his credit, he stayed on his feet for the most part, save for an early sequence in the first round when he literally walked into a right hook to produce the bout’s lone knockdown.
In retrospect, LoPorto was better off staying down. He chose to rise to his feet and take more punishment. The amount dished out was more than Trout anticipated, though the American southpaw never stopped trying to please his hometown crowd.
“LoPorto was a tough guy. I have to give it up to him,” Trout admitted afterward. “He just kept coming. I felt like every punch I landed, he’d go down, but he didn’t. He’s no chump.”
With all things relative, LoPorto enjoyed modest success in the second round – which is to say that he actually landed punches. A few got through, though none forcing Trout to back off any. The defending titlist did get a bit sloppy in the round, causing the broadcast crew to speculate whether or not he had punched himself out.
Trout offered an emphatic ‘No!’ with a brutally dominant third round, and never took his foot off of the gas. The fight could’ve been stopped really at any point in the fight, but that it lasted three rounds gave the viewing audience to hear some colorful language from LoPorto’s corner, tossing F-bombs in the same manner that Trout landed punches.
Round after round, Trout continued to throw and LoPorto continued to absorb. Among the punishment he took included a right hook that caused his head to bounce off of a television camera.
Midway through the six, the end was well in sight, though referee Rafael Ramos seemed perfectly content with letting the onslaught continue. Even the act of LoPorto’s corner frantically waving a towel in the air to signal their surrender wasn’t enough to cause the third man to react, so Trout – who himself wondered how much longer it would last – lived up to his nickname in leaving ‘No Doubt’ that the fight needed to end.
“If I was to keep on him, somebody would finally stop the fight. I knew the ref was about to jump in at any second, so I just kept throwing trying to get that stoppage.”
That moment finally came with just under 30 seconds to go in the sixth, giving Trout his first stoppage in nearly three years. The win advances his record to 24-0 (14KO), and puts him in position to next challenge the winner of the December 3 rematch between Miguel Cotto and Antonio Margarito.
Regardless of what comes next, Trout is proud of what he accomplished tonight considering the environment, but will continue to work to make it better for next time.
“I felt like I did my thing. I never give myself a 10, I always have something to work on.”
There is a whole lot that LoPorto needs to work on. A new career might be one of those things. But as long as he remains a sanctioned fighter, defense would be a good place to start. That said, the loss is just his first inside the distance as he falls to 15-5-2 (7KO).
Going into the evening, there was plenty of talk about Trout’s status as a ‘champion.’ The sanctioning body whom represents also claims two other champs in its weight class – Cotto and Anthony Mundine, LoPorto’s countryman.
Trout is too humble to argue with anyone over the politics of the sport and the sanctioning body nonsense. But he is confident enough in his own abilities to offer a solution for anyone who feels he doesn’t belong on the title stage.
“If anyone feels I don’t deserve this belt, please come and try to take it.”
That Friday night was his first televised fight in the United States given his amateur background (2004 Olympic alternate) and is now six years into his career, suggests that there won’t be very many standing in line to take him up on that offer.
In the televised co-feature, unbeaten Brazilian prospect Michael Oliveira made a successful American TV debut of his own with a strangely ruled stoppage in the 8th and final round of his middleweight bout with journeyman Xavier Tolliver.
The fight jumped out to a rocky start for Oliveira, who was under siege early on by an incoming Tolliver, determined to make a statement. The effectiveness of the strategy didn’t stretch out very long, as Tolliver was all but punched out by the second round.
His only saving grace in lasting round was the fact that Oliveira is not big on the sight of his own blood. Frequent headbutts throughout the fight left the Brazilian cut over his eye, with the action occurring often enough for Tolliver to be docked a point midway through the fight.
The deduction hardly mattered, as Tolliver was taking a beating round after round. His corner threatened to stop the fight going into the eighth round, before letting the Georgia-based fighter continue under the condition that they’d pull the plug if he took any more punishment.
Oliveira did his best to put those words to the test, but it was Tolliver’s action that brought about a close. Hitting on the break drew the ire of referee Robert Chapa, who called off the fight yet ruled it a technical knockout rather than a disqualification.
The official time was 1:31 of the 8th round.
Oliveira’s record moves to 16-0 (13KO), though he could stand to use some more polishing before being advanced to the next level.
Tolliver drops his second straight as he falls to 23-8 (15KO). A return to the ring in 2010 after a four-year hiatus saw the former amateur standout score two straight wins, but that came to a vicious end when he ran into Anthony Mundine this past June, suffering a 7th round stoppage after losing every round to that point.
Jake Donovan is the Managing Editor of Boxingscene.com. Follow Jake on Twitter at twitter.com/JakeNDaBox or submit questions/comments to [email protected]