You have read all of the comparisons to the highly controversial bout between Pernell Whitaker and Julio Cesar Chavez. Of course the comparisons are easy when a slick African-American defensive fighter faces a body punching Mexican superstar in San Antonio, TX.
Every boxing writer is writing articles about this topic, as well they should.
Here is the deal though: Whitaker and Chavez are all time greats. Can we say the same about WBC junior middleweight titlist Saul “Canelo” Alvarez (41-0-1) and WBA titlist Austin “No Doubt” Trout (26-0)? At this point, no. But, this author would hypothesize that the step down from Whitaker to Trout, while steep, is not as drastic as the step down from “JC Superstar” to Canelo.
Indeed, Canelo’s run to a junior middleweight title has been filled with smaller opponents (Josesito Lopez, Lovemore N’Dou, Alfonso Gomez), shot fighters (Shane Mosley, Carlos Baldomir), no-hopers (Kermit Cintron, Ryan Rhodes) and smaller,shot, no-hope brothers of famous fighters (Matthew “Not Ricky” Hatton and Jose “Not Miguel” Cotto). You could reasonably argue that Canelo’s best wins are over current lightweight titlist Miguel Vasquez who Alvarez beat by decision in 2006 (in Vasquez’ pro debut) in 2008.
Likewise, Trout has not faced a murders row. While it was thought Delvin Rodriguez would give him a run for his money, Trout dominated this fight. Additionally, he beat two Mexican fighters, Rigoberto Alvarez (Canelo’s older brother), David Lopez in Mexico and the great Miguel Cotto in front of a Puerto Rican crowd in Madison Square Garden. These wins show Trout can win in front of hostile crowds. Moreover, the win over Cotto shows Trout can beat a technically skilled body punching machine. Finally, Trout is a natural junior middleweight with decent, although clearly not knockout, power.
The only concern is if Trout can get a fair shake from the judges selected largely by the WBC and the Texas commission. Fair question (ask Whitaker and Paulie Malignaggi). This author says if you want to bet on Trout, you need to be sure he will win 9 rounds (instead of the normal 7).
This author says he wins 10. Trout is listed as a 13-8 (bet865.com) or +165 (sportbet.com) underdog. Even if you are unsure, he is clearly the value bet. Trout is the pick.
In other action this week, the Showtime undercard of Canelo and Trout has lightweight prospects Abner Cotto (16-0) and Omar Figueroa (20-0-1) battling. No odds are available but Figueroa has faced better opposition and has the better promoter and management behind him. Figueroa is the pick. In New York, heavyweight prospect Tyson Fury (20-0) takes on former cruiserweight titlist Steve Cunningham (25-5) at the Theater in Madison Square Garden (where discount tickets are available). This fight will be aired live on NBC during the afternoon. Fury, a 1-8 (bet365.com) or -700 (sportbet.com) favorite, is much larger but Cunningham, is a much superior technical boxer. If Fury lands, its over as Cunningham was regularly dropped by top cruiserweights. However, I learned my lesson with British heavyweight prospects like David Price and say Cunningham is the pick. Lastly, 1-8 (bet365.com) favorite light heavyweight titlist Nathan Cleverly (25-0) is an easy pick over Robin Krasinqi (39-2).
Author’s Record for the Year: 12-3-2 (the cold streak continued last week with Guillermo Rigondeaux’ upset over Nonito Donaire… the author is hopeful that the upset picks and no doubter with Cleverly will help get back on the right track).
Tags: Austin Trout