By Lem Satterfield
Southpaw junior middleweight Austin Trout was entering the ring for the first time in 15 months on February 5, doing so against Mexican interim WBA titlist Rigoburto Alvarez before Alvarez's partisan fans at the Arena Colseo in Guadalajara, Mexico.
The 33-year-old brother of 20-year-old rising super star, Saul Alvarez (36-0-2, 26 knockouts), Rigoburto was after his fourth straight victory and his third knockout during that run since having been stopped, himself, by Marco Antonio Rubio in the ninth round in January of 2010.
But the 25-year-old Trout proved himself up to the challenge, thoroughly out-boxing Alvarez for a 12-round unanimous decision that earned Trout the vacant WBA belt while also improving his mark to 22-0 with 13 knockouts in his first bout since a November, 2009, 12-round unanimous decision over Taronze Washington.
Trout won, 119-108, respectively, on the cards of Raul Caiz Sr., Stanley Christodoulou, and, Luis Pabon, who as also the referee in what was a near shutout for the champion.
In victory, Trout hopes to have thrust himself in to conversations that may yet set up bouts opposite WBA super world titlist Miguel Cotto (35-2, 28 KOs), IBF champ Cornelius Bundrage (30-4, 18 KOs), WBO belt-holder Sergei Dzinziruk (37-0, 23 KOs) or WBC king Saul Alvarez.
Like practically everyone in boxing, of course, Trout would like to meet eight-division king Manny Pacquiao (52-3-2, 38
KOs), who will defend his WBO welterweight belt against Shane Mosley (46-6-1, 39 KOs) on May 7 at the MGM Grand Hotel in Las Vegas.
A resident of Las Cruces, New Mexico, which is about 20 minutes from the boarder of Juarez, Mexido, Trout spoke to FanHouse in this Q&A.
BoxingScene.com: So how are you feeling nowadays, champ?
Austin Trout: I'm pretty good, man. I'm just here at home trying to make my kids some dinner. I've got three kids. My son, Elijah, is 3, my youngest daughter, Charlotte, is a year old, and my oldest daughter, Kaira, is 8 years old.
I about to make them some noodles and fish sticks.
BoxingScene.com: How does raising and cooking dinner for children compare to training for a boxing match?
Austin Trout: Man, you know, I would say that training is easy compared to raising children. So, you know, training, basically, it's the same routine every day. But you know, these kids, they change every day. They've got needs and wants and things like that.
But hey, it's the toughest, hardest and most difficult job that you will ever love. When my daughter was born, that changed everything. You've got to be tough on them, but at the same time, my first born, that's the one who gets it the hardest, because she's got to be the example for the other two.
BoxingScene.com: So how long have you been a boxer?
Austin Trout: I've been boxing since I was 10, so, you know, it's been about 15, going on 16 years that I've been boxing. It's not getting old. In fact, with this championship I just one, it's like I've got this brand new set of wheels. You know, it has taken me a long time to get this world title shot.
I was getting burned out on the politics of the sport. So it's refreshing to have this title. I'm still very excited to fight. It's better than sitting back and having to watch everyone else get fights.
BoxingScene.com: So you feel as though defeating Rigoburto Alvarez has breathed new life into your career?
Austin Trout: Yeah, definitely. First of all, just to get that title shot, I had to wait a year and some months as the mandatory. So, if anything, that waiting business is done with. I'm just excited to be able to fight whenever and whoever I want to, you know what I mean? It had been longer than a year. It was a year and a half sitting their waiting for this other cat.
I was just dealing with the politics. But now that I'm done with that whole waiting stuff, I'm so excited just to get back into the ring. If these big name fights ain't going to happen, then we don't have to wait any more. We can just fight. I don't have a mandatory due right now, so I can talk to whoever we want.
I just want to defend it.
BoxingScene.com: Who would your dream fights be against if you could chose them right now?
Austin Trout: Well, of course, it would be Miguel Cotto. That would be my dream pick. My second dream pick would be Saul Alvarez, if I could get him into the ring. Going down the list, my third dream pick would Cornelius Bundrage, because, you know, he's got that IBF title. Who knows, man.
I'm going after belts, man, because I'm trying to be the undefeated and undisputed junior middleweight champion. I mean, I'm not too good to fight anybody. I'm just trying to fight anybody to make the money I need to make. And if using this belt is going to do that for me, then, by golly, that's what I'm going to do.
BoxingScene.com: What are your thoughts on Saul Alvarez's becoming the WBC champion by defeating Matthew Hatton?
Austin Trout: What did I think of that? That was politics at its best. But, you know, hey, neither fighter had ever campaigned as a junior middleweight by fighting at 154 pounds if I'm not mistaken.
People can say that me being WBA champion was politics at its best, but, at least, I fought at the weight before I won the belt at that weight.
But, if anything, it was politics that was keeping me from winning the title. But I could see how people would say, 'hey, who are you as the champion?, or, who did you fight?' So, I'm not going to spend too much time criticizing Canelo on getting a belt. They just gave him the opportunity and he took advantage of it.
BoxingScene.com: What did you think of Saul Alvarez's performance against Matthew Hatton?
Austin Trout: He looked good, I thought. As good as you should against Matthew Hatton, I guess. He should have knocked him out, but he won. And he looked decent doing it. Personally, though, I'm not impressed by Saul Alvarez. But as a fan, it was fun to watch.
BoxingScene.com: How does a fight between you and Miguel Cotto go?
Austin Trout: Oh, my way. I would box the hell out of him until he runs into something vicious. That's how I feel like it would go. But being in the ring with him, that's the easy part. The hard part is getting Miguel Cotto into the ring against me. It would be about all of the politics and the B.S. that I would have to deal with just to get the fight.
That's the hard part.
BoxingScene.com: How about a fight between you and Saul Alvarez?
Austin Trout: You know, he's strong, and he's tough, but, again, I'm a better all around fighter, I think, and I would out-box him for the early part of the fight. And then, he would be gun-shy during the final part of the fight, and I would turn my boxing into aggression. Then, I would just take him out.
BoxingScene.com: What do you think of Saul Alvarez's goal of fighting Manny Pacquiao?
Austin Trout: I believe that that would definitely be a bad career move for Canelo. Manny Paquiao would give him too many angles, you know, because Canelo is kind of one-dimensional.
I'm not saying that Manny has the best footwork in the world, but he does have good footwork, and Alvarez just goes forward.
BoxingScene.com: How about you and Manny Pacquiao?
Austin Trout: I think that a fight between me and Manny Pacquiao, you know, not just tooting my own horn, but I think that I can beat Manny Pacquiao. If you notice, they've been feeding him all of the killers that come straight forward and they can't move too good side-to-side.
Manny Pacquiao just angles them to death. But I think that I have just as good of footwork as Manny, and, you know, with the right training camp, I'm not saying that it would be easy, but I think that I could beat him.
BoxingScene.com: Do you respect Saul Alvarez's punching power?
Austin Trout: Yeah, I mean, they all do. All of the top guys in my weight class have the sort of punching power that I would need to respect. But I'm not afraid of it and I'm not running from it. I mean, I'm ready for anything that they can throw at me, that is, if they can catch me.
BoxingScene.com: What do you feel are your advantages over Saul Alvarez?
Austin Trout: I'm just a smarter fighter. I think I have an advantage in adaptablity. I think that I'm faster than him if not stronger than he is. Like I said, I think I'm just a smarter fighter.
BoxingScene.com: Do you think that you could win a decision over Saul Avarez if the fight were to happen in Mexico?
Austin Trout: If they give me fair judges and neutral judges, then why not. I know that they love him there, but I'm not beyond going to his home town to fight him. You know, I've got a lot to prove. Just because I've got this world title doesn't mean that I'm done proving my point.
As a matter of fact, the world title is only going to help me to get into position to be able to prove my point.
BoxingScene.com: How do you believe that the atmosphere surround your victory over Rigoburto Alvarez prepared you for potentially big bouts in hostile territory in the future?
Austin Trout: I think that I would handle those situations just fine. In order to go and get the title, I had to go into hostile territory. I had to go into Saul Alvarez's brother's home town of Guadalajara, and it was the same thing. The booers in the crowd and the commentators were against me.
But I just used all of that as motivation. The crowd was booing me and I was motivated to shut them up. It was all an inspiration to me. From the ring walk all the way into the ring, I felt immediately that the atmosphere was not in my favor.
As soon as I came out, they were yelling at me and booing me. But I was fine with all of that. I got into the ring determined to shut the crowd up, you know what I mean. It fired me up. As soon as the bell rang, I started establishing the jab. His whole game plan was supposed to apply pressure on me.
From bell to bell, that's what he said that he was going to do. He was supposed to be on me and pressuring me, and I was waiting for it. So I threw the jab and landed counters and, from his standpoint, nothing was happening.
BoxingScene.com: So how did the fight go from there?
Austin Trout: By the middle rounds, I started to stand him up with the straight left a little bit. I tried to bait him to come forward. Nothing happened. In the third or fourth round, I had figured that this guy was not coming and I was going to have to go to him. So I kept working the jab and starting to let my hands go.
I was hitting him with good, three, and, four-punch combinations. I believe that I hurt him one time in the fourth round. Rounds five and six, I just kept dominating him. In about the eighth or ninth rounds, I figured he just wasn't coming forward, so I was going to try to take him out. I tried to let my hands go even more.
But there was something that just wasn't right, and I blame that on ring rust. I wasn't as sharp. But in the 11th round, I had him hurt badly and went for the kill, but the bell rang. Last round, I came out, my manager told me to just box, even though I was trying to knock him out because I didn't want to risk getting a bum decision.
So I was swinging away and I had him hurt a couple of times, but he's a strong guy and I couldn't put him down.
BoxingScene.com: Were you overall pleased with your performance?
Austin Trout: It helped me to get that experience in Guadalajara, because that might be where Canelo wants it. I'm just imagining that that's where it might be if a fight between us pans out. For the people in Guadalajara, you know, not that they've seen me, they might not be so bitter the next time. Because when I got into the ring at first, they were booing me.
But when I left it, they were cheering me. The experience of going into someone else's hometown and to take on the boos and the negativity and to come out victorious, you know, now I know that it can be done.
The fact that I went over there to fight and to beat him, that sends a message to all of those people in my weight class that I'm not playing around. I think that it would have made a more impressive statement if I had knocked him out, but it shows that I will go into your home town and and take the title from from you if I have to.
I feel like the man should not have even been in the ring with me, but since I didn't knock him out, maybe people will continue to underestimate me and then make the mistake of getting into the ring against me. That still helps me out, because I just want to fight the best and to be the best.