By Jake Donovan
The scene at Friday’s weigh-in was indicative of what to expect on Saturday evening. Austin Trout can expect to hear raucous boos anytime he does anything that the partisan crowd will deem harmful in any way towards Miguel Cotto.
Trout (25-0, 14KO) caught an earful from the fans on hand Friday afternoon in New York City, when his first attempt on the scales registered a weight slightly above the 154 lb. limit. The defending titlist stepped off the scales and removed his underwear, with only a towel protecting him from being full exposed to the crowd as he made weight on his second attempt.
“I got heavy ‘drawers’, I guess,” Trout joked afterwards. The reality is that making weight for his fourth title defense is no laughing matter.
“Of course, that’s the first battle – the scale,” Trout admits. “I’m not drained, I feel good. Now I get to eat what I want.”
Cotto’s trip to the scales was far less dramatic. The former three-division champ came in at 153.6 lb. one day prior to his seeking a second title reign at 154 lb. The rest of his time between now and then will be spent with the team in whom he places his utmost confidence.
“I'm going to eat well and... I don't know how much weight (will be gained),” Cotto bluntly stated when asked to guess his fight night weight, focused solely on reclaiming title status. “After the great camp we had, I feel comfortable. I trust every member of my camp and I trust myself.”
Cotto (37-3, 30KO) appears at Madison Square Garden for the eighth time, with his last trip to the sport’s mecca coming exactly 52 weeks ago. It was in this very arena where he gained revenge on Antonio Margarito, scoring a 10th round stoppage to avenge his first career loss in July ’08. The win ran his record to 7-0 (4KO) lifetime at the Garden, where he has become the venue’s greatest ticket seller for the 21st Century.
“I'm grateful for all of these people here cheering for me,” Cotto states of the love affair with the crowd that grows stronger with each fight. “I'm just anxious to win here tomorrow night at Madison Square Garden.”
Trout has other plans in mind. The fight marks his first appearance at the Garden and in New York in general. The New Mexico native has family in Brooklyn and Harlem, but will be made to feel all alone come fight night.
The visiting champ believes he has the perfect remedy to help balance the equation in his favor.
“I’m looking forward to performing in front of all of my future fans,” Trout says, brimming with confidence. “They might all be against me right now, but come fight night I think I’ll change the story a little bit.”
Despite his serving as the younger, bigger and fresher fighter of the two, Trout is still viewed as the underdog heading into Saturday evening. Cotto’s name value and home-away-from-home advantage factors into that, factors the Puerto Rican superstar plans to leverage into a performance unlike anything the 27-year old southpaw has ever seen.
“I only have one thing to say to him. I hope you came for the fight of your life, because you're going to face the (best) fighter of your life,” Cotto insists.
Jake Donovan is the Managing Editor of Boxingscene.com. Follow Jake on Twitter: @JakeNDaBox