By Jake Donovan
Following the tragic news of Paul Williams’ motorcycle accident that left the southpaw paralyzed, the hunt has been on for a new opponent to face unbeaten 154 lb. titlist Saul Alvarez in September.
Austin Trout has been angling for a showdown with Alvarez from the moment both became relevant in the super welterweight division. The hope was for the unbeaten New Mexico resident to make a splash in Saturday’s title defense against Delvin Rodriguez at the Home Depot Center in Carson, Calif.
Trout managed the win, but in a dull affair that featured little action or even activity from either fighter in their Showtime-televised preliminary bout.
The performance didn’t exactly create much buzz, as Trout remains stuck with the label as a high-risk, low-reward opponent. Trout himself acknowledged that it was tough to get untracked.
“He’s an awkward fighter,” Trout (25-0, 14KO) said of Rodriguez shortly after recording the third defense of his alphabet belt. “It took me a round and a half to get going.”
The 26-year old southpaw came off of a highly successful 2011 campaign that included winning a vacant title following more than a year of inactivity. Trout beat Rigoberto Alvarez – Saul’s older brother – for a vacant belt last February and defended twice last year.
Included among the lot was a six-round beatdown of fringe contender Frank LoPorto, which marked Trout’s debut on Showtime. His second performance on the network wasn’t quite as entertaining but also came against a better class of opponent in Rodriguez.
It is hoped that the level of opposition is recognized in attempting to land a fight with Alvarez, more so than the lack of entertainment value that came from it.
“[Rodriguez] was a good fighter tonight. I give myself about a 6.5. I’ll be a 10 when I have Saul Alvarez. I guess we’ll find out soon enough.”
To his credit, Alvarez – who was live at ringside – didn’t immediately dismiss the possibility of such a fight, despite the lack of action of 12 rounds.
“Maybe it was just a bad clash of styles, but it wasn’t such a great fight,” Alvarez stated afterward.
The unbeaten Mexican managed to land James Kirkland as a replacement for Williams, only for that fight to fall apart over money. In expressing mild interest in facing Trout, it’s clear that Alvarez would prefer to continue training for a southpaw as his next opponent.
“To talk bad about a boxer isn’t right,” Alvarez said when asked how he believed he’d fare against Trout. “But I do pretty good against southpaws.”
Most important to Alvarez is that somebody is standing in the opposite corner on September 15.
“It’s a real tragedy what happened to Paul Williams. We’ve had two fights fall through and we’re just trying to see what’s next,” Alvarez noted.
Jake Donovan is the Managing Editor of Boxingscene.com. Follow Jake on Twitter: @JakeNDaBox or submit questions/comments via e-mail.