By Thomas Gerbasi
Faith is a big part of Austin Troutís life. When thatís the case, sometimes you may not understand why something happens in your life or why prayers go unanswered. But if thatís what you believe, you carry on. So when asked about the two consecutive losses that first cost him his world junior middleweight title and then an opportunity to win it back, and how he was able to accept both with class and humility, he knows the source.
ďThereís a prayer that I pray, and I donít even like praying it,Ē Trout said. ďItís like ĎGod, if itís not your will for me to win, help me accept that.í For 26 fights it was his will for me to win, and for the last two it wasnít, and so I wanted to be able to accept my loss the same way I accept my wins. I donít sit there and complain and make excuses when I win, and I want to go out losing the same way.Ē
Thatís not the way it goes in boxing though. In this sport, you can see someone get knocked out and still insist that he got robbed by the referee, and no one bats an eye. Itís seemingly part of the game. So when talking about his 2013 decision losses to Saul ďCaneloĒ Alvarez and Erislandy Lara, itís certainly unique to hear a top-level fighter simply say that he lost. Sure, there were things going on in his life that distracted him between the two fights, but all heíll say about it is ďI should have taken more time.Ē
The Alvarez bout, which came on the heels of his 2012 drubbing of Miguel Cotto, was a good fight and a competitive one. The Lara one? It just didnít look like Trout in there, and he knows it.
ďHe (Lara) is a guy youíve got to focus on and you really got to be on your A game to beat him,Ē Trout said. ďMy mind wasnít in it, my heart wasnít in it Ė I trained hard for the fight, and thatís whatís really heartbreaking for me because I trained so hard for that fight and there was really nothing I could have done physically more to prepare for that fight. But when your mindís not in it, youíre already beat.Ē
Eight months later, Trout is back, facing Daniel Dawson on ESPN2ís Friday Night Fights in Temecula, California. Itís a nice return against a quality foe on national television, but he does admit that the rest he had after the Lara fight was a nice one.
ďI did need the time off,Ē he said. ďIt was kind of bittersweet because I donít like this whole fighting two times a year thing and I feel like itís never allowed me to get to my potential of how sharp I really can be. The busier I am, the sharper I get. But coming off the two losses, really when I came off the Canelo loss I should have taken more time. People think that was a lot of time (from April to December), but not only did I have to deal with the loss, but I got married, I had a honeymoon, I had to deal with the loss of my grandmother, had to deal with the litigation (with his now ex-promoter Greg Cohen), so there was a lot in between that.Ē
Absence does make the heart grow fonder though, and by the time the summer began, he was ready to put the gloves back on.
ďIíve had the itch,Ē Trout laughs. ďIíve wanted to fight since July, but God knows what heís doing, and this time off has been good because I got at peace with my Grandma, and I got my family life together with my kids and wife, and it was good. Iím in a good place and Iím back feeling like my old undefeated self. In the gym Iíve been working on my fluidity, and instead of forcing a lot of shots and opportunities like Iíve been doing my last two fights, weíre creating these opportunities.Ē
And thereís no opportunity bigger than tonightís fight against someone who can make a name for himself with one huge upset.
ďHe (Dawson) is a fighter thatís very hungry, which makes any fighter dangerous,Ē Trout said. ďHeís got the will to win, the heart thatís necessary to win, and Iím in no way taking him lightly. I trained really hard for this fight, and in my opinion, Iím more dangerous because I have everything to lose and everything to gain, where he has nothing to lose and everything to gain. And Iím gonna fight my tail off to make sure that I gain everything back and donít lose anything with this fight.Ē
If he does get the win, the 28-year-old from Las Cruces, New Mexico would definitely like to fight again before the year is out, and then in 2015, itís back in the title hunt. But first, heís got to deal with Dawson, and heís ready for that task.
ďItís me or him, and it damn sure ainít about to be me.Ē
Tags: Austin Trout