By Keith Idec
Austin Trout took notice during the buildup toward his fight against Jarrett Hurd.
He’s old. He’s a gatekeeper at 154 pounds. Hurd is too big, too strong and too young for him.
The 32-year-old Trout has used all of those knocks as motivation during his preparation to become a two-time world champion Saturday night at Barclays Center in Brooklyn.
“I’m smarter than him, and I’m better than him,” Trout said during an open workout Wednesday at Gleason’s Gym in Brooklyn. “What else can he do? He’s no smarter or better than me. I have better footwork, better speed, better placement of shots. The only thing he has is his size, and he overpowers the smaller guys. But I’m not small. I’m just as strong, if not stronger than Hurd.”
The 6-feet-1 Hurd (20-0, 14 KOs), of Accokeek, Maryland, will make the first defense of his IBF junior middleweight title against Trout. Hurd, 27, stopped Detroit’s Tony Harrison (24-2, 20 KOs) in the ninth round of their February 25 fight to win the then-vacant IBF 154-pound championship in Birmingham, Alabama.
The 5-feet-9½ Trout (30-3, 17 KOs) hasn’t fought in 16 months. The southpaw from Las Cruces, New Mexico, last boxed in May 2016, when he lost a 12-round unanimous decision to Houston’s Jermall Charlo (26-0, 20 KOs).
Charlo gave up the title Hurd eventually won to move up to the middleweight division. Hurd will make an optional title defense against Trout, who’s ranked No. 11 by the IBF.
“People have been overlooking me my whole career,” Trout said. “Before I was just fighting to get noticed. Then I got noticed. Now I’m fighting for respect.”
The Hurd-Trout bout will open Showtime’s tripleheader Saturday night at 10 p.m. ET/7 p.m. PT.
In Showtime’s second fight, Houston’s Jermell Charlo (29-0, 14 KOs) is scheduled to defend his WBC super welterweight title against mandatory challenger Erickson Lubin (18-0, 13 KOs), a southpaw from Orlando, Florida. Cuba’s Erislandy Lara (24-2-2, 14 KOs) is set to defend his WBA and IBO super welterweight championships against Cleveland’s Terrell Gausha (20-0, 9 KOs) in the main event.
Keith Idec is a senior writer/columnist for BoxingScene.com. He can be reached on Twitter @Idecboxing.