Junior middleweight veteran and former titleholder Austin Trout has been in with just about everyone over the years, going from avoided to a fighter that the top young names test themselves against.
Once upon a time, nobody wanted much of anything to do with Trout, now 33. The New Mexico native was a southpaw, for one thing, and had skills, for another. Most damning, he wasn’t linked up with a major promoter.
But Miguel Cotto gave him a shot at Madison Square Garden in Dec. 2012, and it all changed there. Trout was the first to ever defeat Cotto at what had become the Puerto Rican’s professional home arena.
In 2013, he fought Canelo Alvarez, losing a competitive decision. Erislandy Lara, a fellow southpaw, more convincingly defeated Trout about seven months later. In recent years, Trout has been put in with Jarrett Hurd and both Charlo twins, and he gave all of them a fight, though he went 0-3.
It’s clear that Trout (31-5, 17 KO) is not an elite junior middleweight these days, but he’s still the step just below. On May 25, he returns to action in Bilox, Miss., facing former Olympian Terrell Gausha (21-1, 10 KO) in a PBC on FS1 main event.
“I’m excited to be back in the ring,” said Trout. “I’m ready to take another chop at the world title and this is my way back. I’m really motivated to get that championship belt again.
“Gausha is a strong, technical fighter with an Olympic pedigree. I’ve got to get in there and take care of him and look good doing it. A good win over him will get me right back in the mix.’’
Gausha, 31, is barely younger than Trout, but he’s a fresher face on the scene. He represented the United States at the 2012 Olympics, and turned pro that November.
Over time, Gausha racked up a 20-0 mark, but it was a little light, being honest; his career wasn’t moving at the pace of some of his former Olympic teammates, as he kept fighting opponents everyone expected him to beat, deep on undercards.
He got his shot at a world title in Oct. 2017, and was dropped and outclassed by the Cuban Erislandy Lara. He was out for 14 months after that setback, returning in December to knock out Joey Hernandez in the first round.
For Trout, this fight is about sticking around in the upper tier of the junior middleweight ranks. For Gausha, it’s about proving he actually belongs.
“I feel good about this fight and I think it’s the perfect fight for me,” said Gausha. “With Austin Trout being a former champion and having experience fighting all the top guys in the division, it gives me a chance to show where I’m at. It’s not only about winning, but it’s the way I’ll win that will put people on notice.”