By Keith Idec
Austin Trout has defended a version of the WBA’s super welterweight title twice since winning it nearly 16 months ago.
Even after three victories in world title fights, the unbeaten fighter from Las Cruces, N.M., is beyond certain Delvin Rodriguez will be the toughest opponent of his seven-year pro career. Trout (24-0, 14 KOs) and Rodriguez (26-5-3, 14 KOs) will go at it Saturday night in a 12-rounder that’ll be part of Showtime’s rare four-fight telecast from Home Depot Center in Carson, Calif.
“Definitely, this is the hardest fight to date that I’ve had in my career,” Trout, 26, recently said. “Delvin is a world-class fighter. I’ve watched him on TV myself, as a fan, for years. I know the type of challenge that is coming forward. There’s no way in heck I’m going to look past a guy like Devlin. This is the toughest fight to date, the fight of my life.”
Trout is especially impressed by the 32-year-old Rodriguez’s versatility in the ring.
“Delvin doesn’t fight the same every fight,” Trout said. “We watched film and, like I said, I watched him fight before I even knew I was fighting him. I’m a fan of the sport. He changes his style, he adapts and he’s a smart fighter.
“He may have fought like one of the fighters I fought before in one fight, but the next fight he might fight totally different. I don’t think I’ve ever fought anybody that has the diversity that Delvin does.”
That diversity served Rodriguez well, Trout noticed, in his two fights against Pawel Wolak last year.
Their first fight was a spectacular slugfest that warranted “Fight of the Year” consideration, but by the end of that memorable battle, which ended in a majority draw, Trout realized Rodriguez knew how to handle Wolak (29-2-1, 19 KOs). That was evident during their far-less-dramatic rematch Dec. 3 at Madison Square Garden, where Rodriguez defeated Wolak with ease in another 10-rounder.
“Pawel Wolak came on early, Delvin Rodriguez made an adjustment and came on a little later,” Trout said of their July 15 brawl at Roseland Ballroom. “And, you know, it was a good showcase of what I was talking about, how he can adapt and changes things up.
“I called it. I knew if they had the rematch Delvin already knows what to do with Pawel Wolak, because he figured it out in the later part of the fight. He did exactly what I predicted, and beat Pawel Wolak from the beginning of the fight until the end.”
Keith Idec covers boxing for The Record and Herald News, of Woodland Park, N.J., and BoxingScene.com.