Throughout boxing history, stars and budding stars have avoided opponents like Austin Trout. Trout is a lefty, and that makes some fighters wary of him.
Trout also has terrific footwork and can make subtle moves in confined spaces that enable him to avoid punches. He can be frustrating to fight because he’s never where you expect him to be.
But Jermell Charlo, who will meet Trout on Saturday at the Staples Center in Los Angeles in a WBC super welterweight title defense on Showtime, probably has a better insight on Trout than anyone who has ever faced him.
That’s because his twin brother, middleweight contender Jermall Charlo, defeated Trout in 2016.
“Me and my brother talk the talk and we walk the walk,” Jermell said. “From this point on in our careers, we’re going full force and it’s going to be nothing but knockouts. Every fight in my life is important because the man standing across from me is there to beat me.”
Jermell says he’s morphed as a fighter while working under trainer Derrick James. His skills, he says, are improved but the biggest difference is his approach.
“Kobe Bryant used to talk about how he knew everyone was going to come at him extra hard, whether it was a practice or a game, because of who he was and the status he had. I know that and I know I can’t take anyone lightly.”
If he tried, James would give him a swift boot in the butt, because James as much as anyone is aware of the threat Trout presents.
After his loss to Jermall Charlo on May 21, 2016, Trout was stopped after 10 by Jarrett Hurd on Oct. 14, 2017. He won an eight-rounder over Juan de Angel in February and is eager to start a second reign as world champion.
James is impressed with the 32-year-old Trout and has tried to impress upon Charlo the importance of the bout and the challenge he faces.
“Austin Trout is a great guy and he’s a great boxer,” James said. “Even at an older age, his skill set is so good. If you think about Floyd [Mayweather], even at an older age, he was beating everyone he was fighting. So the way I look at it is, [Trout] is going to come back hungrier and he’s looking at this as an opportunity to get a new title.
“I always go in thinking it’s going to be a tough fight. I can’t go in there thinking of it in any other way. If I was thinking it would be easy, I’d be an idiot and I wouldn’t be here now.”
Trout is 31-4 with 17 knockouts and primarily known for a win over the legendary Miguel Cotto and a close loss to Canelo Alvarez. He hasn’t held a title since losing it to Alvarez in the Alamodome in 2013 and is getting to the point in his career where he’s running low on chances.
But he thinks he’s got an advantage in that many of his foes look past him as kind of a steppingstone.
“People are underestimating me and overlooking me,” Trout said. “I earned and continue to earn respect in this sport and my competition can choose to ignore it or acknowledge it. I’ve beaten champions and taken titles. I’ve lost in controversial decisions to champions like Canelo. This is my time. Don’t underestimate the power I bring to boxing as well as the international competitors I’ve already stepped into the ring against and beaten.”
Charlo, though, oozes confidences.
“Me and my brother are a force to be reckoned with,” he said. “We train super hard. I’m not leaving that hard work in camp. I’m bringing it to the fight.”
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