by Jake Donovan
With any fight that takes place at 147 or 154 lb. these days, conversation is expected to quickly turn to what is in store for the winner. There are more lucrative options between these two weight classes than in all of the other divisions combined.
In order to get fighters like Austin Trout and Erislandy Lara to face each other, you would think there would exist the necessary advanced incentive for the winner. It’s a good thing neither of them need such massaging, because chances are there isn’t a major fight on that level in either fighter’s immediate future.
Select names were offered as possible future opponents for whomever comes out on top in their Dec. 7 showdown in Brooklyn. The biggest of them all, however, was immediately scratched from the list, despite the vacant belt at stake tied to said fighter.
“I don’t see Floyd Mayweather fighting at 154 (again) unless it’s really big,” Golden Boy CEO Richard Schaefer admitted in ruling out the sport’s best fighter and its biggest box office attraction as a realistic option for Trout or Lara. “It would have to be a fight for the undisputed middleweight or junior middleweight championship or something like that (to fight above 147).”
Mayweather became a unified champion at 154–and its recognized lineal world champion–with his win over Saul ‘Canelo’ Alvarez in September. The bout netted the unbeaten pound-for-pound king two more belts, including the super version of the “regular” belt on the line for Trout and Lara in their upcoming showdown.
The likely scenario is for Mayweather to dump his alphabet belts at 154 upon announcing his next opponent, leaving the December 7 winner as a recognized titlist according to one sanctioning body. From there, the onus is on Golden Boy to line up the next fight.
Schaefer suggested the likes of recently crowned 154 lb. titlist Carlos Molina or even—against whom Trout dropped a competitive but poorly scored decision this past April—as more viable choices. The opponent for Mayweather’s planned May ’14 ring return remains unknown, but Trout and Lara are losing about as much sleep over that as they are about fighting anyone other than each other.
“I’m not focused on Canelo, all of my focus is on Lara,” insists Trout (26-1, 14KO), who hasn’t fought since April, the inactive peroid due to his efforts to free himself from former promoter Greg Cohen. “Whether Canelo takes the fight with the winner, that’s great. I don’t think he will, but if he does, that’s great. My whole focus is on Lara and to see him on his way out.”
The feeling is mutual as far as Lara is concerned, although he naturally has a different take on how December 7 will play out.
“My job first is to beat Austin Trout and then I will proceed to take on all comers,” states Lara (18-1-2, 12KO), who survived two knockdowns to stop Alfredo Angulo in 10 rounds this past June. My focus right now is to beat up Trout and shut him up.”
The 154 lb. showdown between Trout and Lara will air live on Showtime, in supporting capacity to the 147 lb. all-Brooklyn battle between Zab Judah and Paul Malignaggi.
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