Red Dawn: Alvarez Decisions Trout
Now that everyone knew the score, both literally and figuratively, the last three rounds were grotesquely anticlimactic….
On Saturday, April 20th, at the Alamodome in San Antonio, Texas, WBC champion Canelo Alvarez (42-0-1, 30 KOs), from Juanacatlán, Jalisco, Mexico, defeated WBA champion Austin Trout (26-1, 14 KOs), from Las Cruces, New Mexico, to unify the junior middleweight titles by scores of 115-112, 116-111 and 118-109.
The fight wasn’t, however, as one-sided and the judges’ scorecards suggest.
Alvarez vs. Trout lived up to expectations. It was a classic contest between a fine puncher and equally fine boxer, but each man’s game was more considerably more nuanced than we anticipated.
Canelo, fighting out of the blue corner in black trunks trimmed in pink, proved that he’s not the one-dimensional slugger we were led to believe. His power was intact and as formidable as ever, but he has added new facets to his defense, including bobbing and weaving, not standing straight up, and moving his head from side-to-side to deflect punches.
Fighting out of the red corner in white trunks with zebra-striped trim, Trout came to fight and fight he did. He controlled the action for much of the bout, landing multiple shots to every bomb Canelo threw. The Mexican sensation simply wore his opponent down over 12, but there wasn’t a round that Trout wasn’t competitive.
The first was a feeling out round. Trout was working behind his jab and controlling the tempo. Canelo seemed unwilling or unable to let his hands go. He landed 1 of 8 jabs to 8 of 34 for Trout.
Canelo took control in round two. He was able to cut off the ring, close the distance, and began firing punches in bunches—jabs, straight rights, uppercuts—a veritable parade of his military hardware.
Trout returned the favor in round number three. Boxing smart, he slowed the pace to something more to liking. Canelo wasn’t jabbing his way in. He was loading up on his right and as often missing as not. When Trout opened up as the round was drawing to a close, Canelo was winging wild punches.
Round four was a better round for Canelo. He remembered to use his jab, turning him back into the two-fisted fighter we’ve grown to love. But Trout was throwing and landing more, including two solid lefts to Canelo’s body, and closed the round in control of the fight.
Canelo started the fifth on all cylinders, but it wasn’t to last. Trout connected with a right hook followed by a 1-2 to the body and head. Canelo was stalking his prey, bobbing and weaving and looking good doing it. But looking good and landing punches are two different things. Willie Pep could get away with it and win a round. So could Nicolino Locche. Maybe, just maybe, Canelo Alvarez could as well, at least in the Lone Star State.
Round six was a big round for Canelo. A lead right hand stunned Trout. He was able to collect himself and by the middle of the round was fighting back. No Doubt drove Canelo to the ropes and was landing upstairs and downstairs with multiple shots. The body shots, in particular, were taking the steam off of Canelo’s punches, but he landed a nice uppercut at the bell.
Trout hit the deck in round seven. A Canelo right put him down for the first time in his career. Trout made it to his feet and beat the count, but he appeared to be hurt. Canelo went for the kill. Trout kept his composure. Remaining patient and relying on his ring smarts, Trout fought his way back into the fight. But it was a major round for Canelo.
Canelo decided to take the eighth round off. Not sure if he was gassed or disappointed that Trout survived the seventh, but Canelo did next to nothing and couldn’t have possibly won the round.
Between rounds eight and nine, the scorecards, in compliance with the WBC’s open scoring policy, were read aloud. The three judges had it 80-71, 79-73 and 76-75, all in favor of Canelo, and whatever suspense existed disappeared like dew before a blast furnace. The new policy was instituted to presumably make fights more competitive. But like many policies, new as well as old, it fell flat on its two faces. Boxing may be broken, but if we have to rely on the WBC and Texas to fix it, we may be in more trouble than we know.
Now that everyone knew the score, both literally and figuratively, the last three rounds were grotesquely anticlimactic. Canelo knew he only needed to survive to win the fight, whereas Trout was forced to abandon his game plan and try to knock Canelo out. Canelo continued to fight his fight, albeit with less urgency than before. Trout tried to attack and pull victory from the jaws of defeat, but it was a fool’s errand made all the more errant by foolishly tampering with the game.
After the final decision was announced, Canelo was the first to speak.
“Austin Trout is a very difficult fighter. He’s a southpaw. But we were more intelligent in this fight, and the better the opponent is the better I will get. If the opponent is here,” Canelo gestured with his hand, “I’m going to fight over my opponent. I learn from my opponents. I learned from my experience today. And once I fight a better fighter, I’m going to keep learning even more. I’m here for a long time. I have a big responsibility. Viva Mexico!”
No Doubt Trout spoke next.
“He was the better man,” he said about Canelo. “He was quicker. He was stronger. I have no excuses. He was the better man tonight. I was fully prepared for this fight. Again, I have no excuses. The better man won. But I learn more from my losses than my wins, so I learned a big lesson tonight. He’s a good fighter. He boxed a lot better than I thought. He moved a lot better than I thought. Not that I was underestimating him, but we were prepared for a totally different fighter. He shocked us. He shocked us.”
Canelo shocked us as well.