by David P. Greisman
It’s been a good year for Austin Trout.
The 26-year-old from Las Cruces, N.M., picked up a vacant world title in February with a decision win over Rigoberto Alvarez and then defended it twice, out-pointing David Lopez in June and stopping Frank LoPorto on Showtime in November.
In this interview with BoxingScene.com, Trout talks the LoPorto victory, what this past year has been like, and what he needs to do — and who he needs to fight — for the next years to be even better.
BoxingScene.com: What are your thoughts coming off your win last month over Frank LoPorto?
Trout: “We thought that we were going to have to definitely set up a fight with Anthony Mundine. I’m not saying that he [LoPorto] was just a tune-up or anything, but, you know, it was a ‘look-good fight.’ Hopefully it will open up some doors as far as exposure is concerned.
“I’m really trying to get some of these guys that the boxing world knows and respects to get in there. It’s not like we didn’t offer them to fight for a Showtime fight. Just, you know, they said ‘No.’ ”
BoxingScene.com: At this point in your career, are there certain things you feel you need to work on or improve?
Trout: “There’s a couple of things that I saw. I don’t want to give out my weaknesses to the public. But I’m right back in the gym getting rid of all them little bad habits. You know, I got anxious and I wasn’t throwing as crisp as I should.”
BoxingScene.com: The year is coming to a close. How would you sum up your 2011?
Trout: “It was a great year. I always shoot high. It wasn’t what in my mind. I didn’t meet all my goals, but I definitely had a great year. I’m very thankful for that. I feel like really, it was a perfect year to set up for an even better 2012.”
BoxingScene.com: What were your goals for 2011?
Trout: “I wanted to get an HBO fight. I came close and went on Showtime. That’s not knocking Showtime at all. I was happy to be on there.”
BoxingScene.com: You’ve got a title belt. But what do you need to do to get bigger names on your record to guarantee that when people talk about 154, they’re including you in the conversation?
Trout: “Like I said, if I get somebody in there that’s respected and make them look like I made LoPorto did, which I feel like I can, that’ll be over with. I’ll start getting the public behind me, and once you get the public behind you, it’s hard to not make a big fight with you.”
BoxingScene.com: There’ve been a bunch of other fights at 154 in the past month: James Kirkland over Alfredo Angulo, Saul Alvarez over Kermit Cintron, Miguel Cotto over Antonio Margarito (and I know you were in New York for that). What did you see with those three fights?
Trout: “What I saw was even more reason to be excited about being at the top of this weight class. It’s a great weight class full of good fighters. As a fan, too, I was very excited with what this weight class is doing for boxing this year. Because, you know, if you take those three fights away — I’m not saying there wasn’t any other good fights at other weights — but those were pretty good. Not to mention Paul Williams and Lara.
“Also the fighter in me, the competitor in me saw that I’m exactly where I should be — at the top. And I’d love to prove it. Because I feel like I could beat every one of them based on their last performance, and even their best performance.”
BoxingScene.com: What’d you think of Kirkland’s, Alvarez’s and Cotto’s wins?
Trout: “Kirkland, I was happy how he won. He was able to bounce back on track. They tried to sacrifice him, and he bounced back and gave Angulo a whooping. Kirkland, what I saw, I feel like I can pick him off. I’m not interested in laying right there in front of him. … I don’t run. I have good angles. And if he runs into something ugly, it might be over for him.
“Alvarez, he just seems way too stiff. I’m way too elusive for all that. … With his win, he looked good. Cintron looked like he was just trying to quit since like the third round. I don’t know what’s going on with Kermit. But he needs to stop if he’s not going to really try to fight.
“Cotto, he boxed beautifully. He boxed real good. Margarito looked real slow. Cotto, he looked like he had decent speed. I wouldn’t say he was real fast. It was very entertaining, though. I was excited the whole fight. It was good. You know, he won’t be able to out-box me, that’s for sure.
“I’m the mandatory to fight the winner, which is Cotto. Let’s see if he lets me exercise that mandatory right.”
BoxingScene.com: Is Cotto who you want next?
Trout: “Yeah. He just got a great win. He has that ‘super’ belt, which makes everybody call my belt ‘regular,’ even though it’s a doggone world championship. So I’d love to fight Cotto next. But I don’t know if he’s going to take my fight, or if he’ll even take it anytime soon. So I’m more than willing to fight someone else in the meantime.”
BoxingScene.com: Who else are you thinking about?
Trout: “I’d like to fight Delvin Rodriguez. He just came off a good win over Pawel Wolak that night. I’d love to take him on, on an HBO card or something. Kirkland, I’d love to get in there and mix it up with him. I know Chavez is trying to fight Cotto. I hope they let me fight Chavez, that way he can earn fighting Cotto, which he won’t, because I’ll whoop him.
“The list goes on. If you have a bigger name than me, and if they’re willing to put me on TV to fight him, I’ll fight him.”
BoxingScene.com: Are you looking to stay at junior middleweight with all this going on in the division, or are you thinking of someday moving up to middleweight?
Trout: “It’s all what my body tells me. I feel good at junior middleweight. I make it pretty good. I feel strong at it. If it comes to a point where I’m jeopardizing my health to make it, then I’ll go up to 160. And if they pay me enough money now, I’ll go to 147 to fight Mayweather and Pacquaio (laughs).”
BoxingScene.com: You’ll go to 147?
Trout: “Yeah. By hell or high water, I’d make it (laughs).”
BoxingScene.com: Any final thoughts for boxing fans?
Trout: “I thank God for each and every one of you, whether you love me or hate me … I hope to bring big things for 2012. If you don’t know me, get to know me soon.”
David P. Greisman is a member of the Boxing Writers Association of America. Follow David on Twitter at twitter.com/fightingwords2 or on Facebook at facebook.com/fightingwordsboxing, or send questions and comments to [email protected]