The Man That Could Have Been The Face Of Boxing

By Graeme Cross

Stephanie Trapp / SHOWTIME

How Austin Trout ended up with the middle spot on Oct 14

October 14 will see a showdown between Jarrett Hurd and Austin Trout on a day that has 5 championship fights across two PBC telecasts. Although worthy of headlining its own Showtime cards, this will be situated as the middle fight, which 4 years ago would have been unbelievable when Trout seemed poised to become the new face of boxing.

Imagine where Trout would be today if he received the favor of the judges scorecards like Saul Alvarez did during the Lara and GGG fights.

Austin ‘No Doubt’ Trout didn’t start off as “the fighter to watch”, but he developed strong pedigree ending his amateur career with more amateur fights (206) than Mike Tyson (rumored as less than 60), Floyd Mayweather Jr (92) and Anthony Joshua (43) combined.

As a professional, Austin built a long undefeated streak yet wasn’t acknowledged by fans until his upset win over Miguel Cotto for the WBA Super Welterweight Title.

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Miguel opted to fight Trout instead of taking a rematch with Manny Pacquiao — which coincidentally forced Pacquiao vs Marquez 4. Coming in as the 5:1 underdog and earning a guaranteed purse of just $240,000, this was a fight Trout wasn’t meant to win.

Following the upset, multiple fighters called Trout out, but never followed through with their challenge. One of the most notable being Anthony “the man” Mundine who withdrew from their scheduled 2012 and later 2015 fights.

Following the win over Cotto, Trout fought Canelo Alvarez in front of 39,472 fans at the Alamodome in San Antonio, TX. Trout’s purse was undisclosed for the event, however Canelo is reported to have earned $1,000,000. It was rumored that Trout once again accepted a much smaller purse to secure the fight.

Canelo won the fight by decision, yet close observers of the fight believed a large degree of luck went Canelo’s way in receiving the scores he did. If the favor of the judges went Trout’s way that night he would have stopped the momentum of the Mexican superstar, prevented the fight with Floyd Mayweather Jr, and would likely have landed himself in that spot earning a career high payday.

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Following the disputed loss, Trout didn’t take any time to rebuild his confidence or resume. Trout returned against The American Dream Erislandy Lara at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn. Lara earned a purse of $270,000, but Trout’s amount was once again undisclosed. And similar to the No Doubt‘s fight against Canelo, favor from the judges again sided with his opponent.

If Trout had beaten Canelo and Cotto, and he had set up a date with Mayweather, the question stands on where he would have gone? A confident bet is that he would not have sat comfortably on his hands waiting 3 years for Charlo to be ready.

One possible scenario is that Trout would have moved up to 160, which he had been talking about doing since he was 27, when he fought Cotto. This may have resulted in Trout taking Cotto’s place against Sergio Martinez for the WBC and Lineal Middleweight title. Considering the state Sergio Showed up in, it’s not unreasonable to claim that Trout would have won that night.

Leaving between 2015 and now a mindfield of possibilities. Would Trout have taken on the likes of GGG? He’s been outspoken in the media about how he and Lara both were willing to fight him when he was declaring that no one would.

As an American champion that fought and beat the best of the best (had decisions gone his way) it might have been Trout vs GGG the boxing world tuned into during September.

One thing is for sure, if luck had favored Trout, the world wouldn’t be seeing him fight Hurd on Oct 14.

The caliber of fighters that Trout has lost to indicates that he is either the Super Welterweight Gate Keeper (yes that would mean Cotto never climbed the hump to “top tier” status by suffering an embarrassingly wide decision loss to a gate keeper) or that Trout is the unluckiest fighter of his division.

But at 32 years of age, he still has one last chance to put himself back in the top-tier category and that all starts by stopping the rise of fan favorite, Jarrett Hurd.

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