By Jake Donovan
Saul ‘Canelo’ Alvarez never had any reservations about fighting Austin Trout, even if his handlers weren’t as ambitious. The 22-year old Mexican superstar couldn’t care less about the risk-reward ration that comes with facing the American southpaw while both are unbeaten and in their respective primes.
For Alvarez, April 20 goes way beyond a unification match. It’s about restoring family honor, something that’s weighed on his mind for the past two years.
“I remember that fight clearly,” Alvarez says of night in Feb. 2011 when Trout marched into Mexico to serve up a boxing lesson to older brother Rigoberto Alvarez to win a vacant 154 lb belt. “I was at ringside for that fight when he beat my brother and I felt helpless.”
The fight took place exactly a month before Alvarez (41-0-1, 30KO) entered the title fray himself, dominating Matthew Hatton for a different vacant title. He and Trout have held on to their respective titles and unbeaten records, though their paths never managed to clash despite having all of the incentive in the world to make the fight.
Trout (26-0, 11KO) even commented how this fight could have happened at any point in the past two years, so why now.
Alvarez’ handlers provide the reason why that has been the case.
“Canelo has always wanted this fight. We wanted it as well, but also chose to explore other options for him,” admitted Roberto Diaz, matchmaker for Golden Boy Promotions.
Those other options have played out to the tune of five more fights. Alvarez scored televised knockout wins over Ryan Rhodes, Alfonso Gomez, Kermit Cintron and Josesito Lopez, with the lone non-stoppage over that stretch coming in a landslide win over faded former three-division world champion Shane Mosley last year.
While Trout is still not a full-blown household name, his points win over Miguel Cotto last December in New York City went a long way towards selling this particular fight. Cotto was Golden Boy Promotion’s first choice as Alvarez’ next opponent. When the Puerto Rican superstar lost, it only made sense to properly reward his conqueror.
“After the Miguel Cotto fight, we decided that we wanted to fight Austin Trout,” Alvarez insists. “So we told Golden Boy, who went to work and made the fight happen. This is the fight we (always) wanted. I didn’t want to hear anyone else’s name other than Austin Trout.”
It took a lot of convincing, but Alvarez won the battle over his handlers to secure the April 20 with the dangerous southpaw. Now all he has to do is win the battle in the ring, for among many other reasons to help secure family honor.
“This is blood revenge,” Alvarez vows. “I’ll avenge the loss on April 20.”
Jake Donovan is the Managing Editor of Boxingscene.com, as well as a member of Transnational Boxing Ratings Board, Yahoo Boxing Ratings Panel and the Boxing Writers Association of America. Twitter: @JakeNDaBox