Jermall Charlo had to go 12 rounds for the first time in his career, but he managed to earn a hard-fought win over a very game and well-prepared Austin Trout, taking scores of 115-113, 116-112, and 116-112, all fair, to retain the IBF junior middleweight title. BLH had the fight a draw, 114-114, with Trout closing the gap down the stretch in the bout.
Charlo (24-0, 18 KO) landed the harder shots, or so it seemed, but he never had Trout (30-3, 17 KO) in any trouble, and never created a real distance between himself and his challenger, either. That was due to a strong performance from Trout, who had a good game plan, and seemed to be a little bit better under trainer Barry Hunter than we've seen in the past, particularly with his balance.
This was not a Fight of the Year contender or close to that sort of thing, but it was a good, competitive fight throughout, one that featured some good work from both guys, and was in the balance as the fight progressed. There were times that Charlo's physicality seemed a bit much for Trout, and times where Trout's experience and tactics gave him a real edge.
"Austin Trout is a hell of a fighter. I see why he beat Cotto. I see why he gave Lara problems. I see why Canelo had a close fight with him. He's a beast," Charlo said. "It was a great experience. This is my first time going 12. I was ready for it."
Charlo's interview was then interrupted by a shove from Charles Hatley, who came into the ring with his promoter, Don King. This was doubly funny, as Hatley is the mandatory challenger for Charlo -- but the other Charlo, Jermell, who won the WBC title earlier in the night.
A crestfallen Trout told Jim Gray, "I ain't one to cry about spilt milk. Hats off to Jermall Charlo, he fought a hell of a fight, he's gonna be a great champion. I felt I did enough to win. But you know what, they're not ever gonna give me a close decision. It's time to start putting these cats out, man. They ain't gonna give me nothing."
Asked why he thinks he got the short end again, he said, "Maybe because this was a Charlo show from the beginning. Showtime promoted them as if they were the only ones fighting. The judges probably saw that. I don't know. I can't make excuses. I fought my ass off, Charlo fought his ass off, and he came out on top."
The fight was extremely close statistically. Charlo landed 76 of 182 (42%) of his power shots, and 130 of 474 (27%) of his total punches, compared to Trout landing 72 of 219 (33%) of his power shots and 117 of 490 (24%) of his total punches.