By Keith Idec
NEW YORK – Austin Trout has various motivations entering his fight against Jarrett Hurd.
Beyond becoming a two-time 154-pound champion, defeating Hurd would thrust Trout into position to land a rematch with Erislandy Lara. The Cuban southpaw soundly beat Trout in their December 2013 fight at Barclays Center, where Trout will return for the first time to challenge Hurd (20-0, 14 KOs) for the IBF junior middleweight title.
Lara (24-2-2, 14 KOs) is scheduled to defend his WBA and IBO super welterweight titles against Cleveland’s Terrell Gausha (20-0, 9 KOs) in the main event Saturday night in Brooklyn. Showtime will televise the Lara-Gausha and Hurd-Trout bouts, as well as another 154-pound title fight that’ll pit Houston’s Jermell Charlo (29-0, 14 KOs), the WBC super welterweight champion, against mandatory challenger Erickson Lubin (18-0, 13 KOs), of Orlando, Florida.
“I think it’s gonna give me a great opportunity [for a Lara rematch] because whoever wins, and I’m assuming [Lara] will win, they’re gonna be looking at unifying, right?,” Trout told BoxingScene.com. “It’ll be the winner of Charlo-Lubin, me and Lara looking to make sure there’s one champion in this game, so I’ll be able to hopefully get one of my rematches and at least avenge one of my losses.”
Trout (30-3, 17 KOs) has lost 12-round unanimous decisions to Lara, Canelo Alvarez and Jermell Charlo during his 12-year pro career. The Las Cruces, New Mexico native’s fights against Mexico’s Alvarez (49-1-1, 34 KOs) and Houston’s Charlo (26-0, 20 KOs) were much more competitive than his loss to Lara, who dropped Trout in the 11th round and won by big margins on all three scorecards (118-109, 117-110, 117-110).
In hindsight, Trout feels he should’ve taken a fight or two before facing the skilled Cuban southpaw. Challenging Lara in his first fight after Alvarez beat him amounted to a hasty decision for numerous reasons, including the death of Trout’s grandmother five months before he fought Lara.
Wilhelmina Ann Johnson was from Brooklyn, where Trout spent plenty of time as a kid. Trout was close with his grandmother and she sat ringside for his career-changing victory over Puerto Rican star Miguel Cotto (41-5, 33 KOs) a year earlier at Madison Square Garden.
“I never got over the Canelo loss,” Trout said. “I think I should’ve come back and got a fight or two under my belt, just to get my confidence up. I was still hurt over the Canelo loss. But at the same time, I wanted to prove that, ‘I’m not going nowhere. Give me the baddest man at junior middleweight.’ And that was Lara. That was the guy nobody wanted to fight. But that was too fast for me. I was too brave. I should’ve take some time in between [the Alvarez and Lara fights].
“And also, my grandmother died that year. As a matter of fact, five months before that fight. She was a Brooklyn native, so going back to Brooklyn without my grandmother was very hard on me. It weighed very heavily on my soul. So there were a lot of mental things that I didn’t clear up before getting into a fight that required being at a high mental capacity. Because, you know, Lara’s very smart. I should’ve gotten my head right first. And then, Lara’s damn tricky and he’s a damn good fighter. That all spelled disaster for somebody who wasn’t mentally ready for that fight.”
Keith Idec is a senior writer/columnist for BoxingScene.com. He can be reached on Twitter @Idecboxing.