By Jake Donovan
The only thing that’s clear in an otherwise pick-‘em matchup between Austin Trout and Erislandy Lara is that neither fighter is particularly fond of the other.
Perhaps the most evenly matched fight of the weekend on paper, the pair of super welterweights square off tonight in Brooklyn. A hell of a lot more is at stake than just the manufactured title offered to the winner. The winner puts himself in the running for a major payday in the lucrative surroundings of the 154 lb. division.
Trout (26-1, 14KO) enjoyed a breakthrough campaign in 2012, but this calendar has been anything but memorable. The New Mexico-based southpaw suffered his first career loss, dropping a decision to Saul ‘Canelo’ Alvarez in April, and then spending most of the rest of the year in court in freeing himself from former promoter Greg Cohen.
The legal battle was over several items, including what ultimately became a missed opportunity to participate in the year’s biggest pay-per-view event, losing a slot on the undercard of Floyd Mayweather’s points win over Alvarez in September.
Free of conflict and now of peace of mind, Trout is ready to move on his career and once again stake his claim as one of the best super welterweights in the world.
Standing in the way is the one guy in the division nobody is in a hurry to face. Lara (18-1-2, 12KO) has endured a hard-luck career, both as one of the sport’s most avoided and as a boxer who rarely gets the benefit of the doubt in any given close fight.
That said, his most recent ring appearance – a 10th round stoppage of Alfredo Angulo – was a far cry from his best work as a pro. Still, the Cuban has superstardom in his sights, beaming with confidence heading into a dangerous showdown with a fellow high-risk southpaw.
Read on to see how the Boxingscene.com staff envisions tonight’s super welterweight affair playing out in Brooklyn.
PREDICTIONS – AUSTIN TROUT vs. ERISLANDY LARA
“Trout does enough to barely beat Lara.”
- Damien Acevedo (Trout SD)
“I'll take Trout… just too much skill.”
- Mitch Abramson (Trout SD)
“I expect a tactical fight but I think Lara will prevail due to his overall better skill set. I don't think Trout has the power to keep Lara from controlling the fight.”
- Ryan Burton (Lara UD)
“A strong case will be made for both fighters to deserve the nod. I like Trout as the boxer, Lara as the aggressor. A knockdown or point deduction could prove to be the difference in an evenly fought bout. I’m going to hedge my bet and predict a hung jury among the three judges by fight’s end.”
- Jake Donovan (DRAW)
“In this 50-50 matchup between outstanding counter-punching southpaws, the question I have is which fighter plans to lead. I think the answer is Austin Trout, who will be rewarded on the scorecards for displaying the more copious aggression as the judges look for anything to distinguish the fighters after 12 close rounds.”
- Ryan Maquinana (Trout SD)
“This is the coming out party Lara has been waiting on for a couple years.”
- Richard Najdowski (Lara UD)
“Trout throws more than Lara but the Cuban is more precise and hits harder. He should be able to counter Trout effectively and snare enough of what could be many close rounds."
- Cliff Rold (Lara by decision)
“Even though Lara was an official winner against Angulo, he hasn't impressed enough to be considered a favorite against such a good technician like Trout."
- Alexey Sukachev (Trout MD)
Austin Trout 4
Erislandy Lara 3
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