One year ago, Austin Trout upset Miguel Cotto at Madison Square Garden, live on Showtime, establishing himself as one of the best 154-pound fighters in the world. That big win earned him another high-end fight, as he was demanded by Canelo Alvarez for an April date in San Antonio, a fight that Alvarez won in front of 40,000 fans at the Alamodome.
Now, Trout is coming off of the first loss of his career, and he's not doing so with any easy fight. On Saturday, the New Mexico native takes on tricky Cuban southpaw Erislandy Lara (18-1-2, 12 KO) in a fight that has significance in the junior middleweight division, though in all candor it also could be an incredibly dull affair between two tactical fighters who aren't known for taking major risks.
Trout (26-1, 14 KO) is probably the underdog again, but that's not a new role for him. That would be the third straight fight against a top junior middleweight where Trout has gone in with most expecting him to lose. He says that he's focused on Lara, but also that with a win here, he wants to rematch Canelo Alvarez and maybe someday face Floyd Mayweather, knowing that there are steps to take to get to the top guy.
"This fight can put me back into the running. I expect to get thrown back into the mix. I can't even talk about fighting a Floyd Mayweather until I beat Canelo. The way he beat the hell out of Canelo... I have little goals to fulfill until I come at the king. Lara is the first one in my way of reaching my goals."
Of his loss to Canelo, Trout doesn't so much have an issue with losing as he does with the way the fight was scored, and with the open scoring that was used in Texas:
"The open scoring messed with my head. Open scoring is bogus. I felt like it took my confidence away," Trout admits, especially after hearing he hadn't yet won a round on one card after eight rounds. "It changed my game plan. I had to change a lot of things. I got caught doing it. I do want my rematch."
Can Trout start his road back to the top on Saturday? Lara is anything but a soft touch, and Trout has had some distractions between Canelo and this Saturday, parting with former promoter Greg Cohen (a move most insiders saw coming as soon as Trout hooked up with Al Haymon). As usual, Trout is not taking the easy way.