Trout Leaves No Doubt by Shocking Cotto at MSG
Yet again—boxing—theater of the unexpected—produced an unpredictable concerto of elegant warfare…
Before the scorecards were even announced, many were preemptively writing about the robbery that some felt was going to take place in Madison Square Garden Saturday night. Miguel Cotto and Austin Trout engaged in a highly competitive war that featured tremendous ebb and flow. Ultimately, however, Trout owned most of the big moments against Cotto and earned a unanimous decision victory by scores of 117-111, 117-111, and 119-109.
Ironically, the scores were arguably too favorable for Trout, who certainly won the fight, but not in a lopsided manner that would render a 119-109 scorecard. That said, Trout deserved this victory, going into the heart of Cotto culture in New York City and taking the fight to the future hall-of-famer. Cotto had his moments, but ultimately Trout found his pocket in the middle of the fight as he did the more meaningful work with consistently crisp combination punching at ideal range.
The mathematics certainly favored Trout, who landed 238 punches to Cotto’s 183 based on the always imperfect yet useful CompuBox totals. While volume punching isn’t the sole indicator of who wins a fight, it is significant—particularly when the guy who lands the bulk of the punches also lands the more meaningful power shots—which Trout was able to accomplish in this fight.
“Having my hand raised against a kingpin like Miguel Cotto,” said a jubilant Trout, “is a dream come true.”
Indeed it was. For those who questioned whether Trout belongs at the championship level, he proved his merit, showcasing tremendous poise and class with a competently crafted offensive arsenal.
As the fight started, it became instantly apparent that Trout’s ranginess and size was going to be difficult for Cotto to overcome. But it wasn’t just Trout’s size that bothered Cotto, it was how he used his size.
Miguel came out firing effectively with a piercing straight jab in round 1, where he built a barrage of left hooks and straight right hands from the jab jousting. Trout sized Cotto up for most of round 1, doing effective work as he fought from a safe pace.
After a competitive first round, Trout came out aggressively in round 2—tightly composed with effective jabs and snappy straight left hands. Cotto began digging to the body in order to find Trout upstairs, but Trout’s defense proved to be sufficiently elusive for Cotto all night long.
Cotto cranked up the pressure in round 3, stalking forward with digging body punches that seemed to momentarily slow Trout down enough for Cotto to effectively score.
Round 4 developed into a chess match of distance. Trout worked to keep the fight on the outside and in the center of the ring where Trout got off with jab-straight left hand combos, while Cotto marched forward forcing Trout into the corners and ropes where Cotto effectively scored to the body.
Trout’s brilliant utilization of length and precise straight work scored well in round 5, while Cotto scraped Trout on the ropes with short left hooks and thumping body shots. Still, Trout simply had more moments.
And so the pattern emerged: Cotto excelled in tight quarters, roughing up Trout on the inside, while Trout glimmered on the outside and in the center of the ring, using his ranginess to target Cotto with precise combinations. The difference, however, was that Trout was also effective on the inside, while Cotto was really only able to effectively score when Trout was pinned on the ropes. Thus, Trout’s ability to adjust and fight in a variety of styles owned the fight.
Round 6 featured a shift in texture as Cotto shifted from stalker to boxer-puncher, bouncing on his feet and jabbing effectively going backwards. Trout was encouraged to come forward, and efficiently scored with the left hand.
Cotto’s defense tightened up in round 7 as he suddenly became much harder to hit for Trout. Cotto took advantage of Trout coming forward and caught him coming in, while Trout did some solid long-range bombing. Cotto closed the gap at this point, but it was in these middle rounds where Trout went into overdrive.
Round 8 featured even more adjustments as Cotto resumed stalking, feeling a sense of urgency after Trout’s efficacy began to enhance.
Trout really found his groove in rounds 9 and 10, doing the more impacting work with crafty uppercuts and thundering hooks. Trout was getting off first, while Cotto’s face began to swell and animate with concern and frustration.
Cotto jumped on Trout in round 10, coming out with more assertive purpose as he stalked forward and scored to the body. Trout responded well with a myriad of combinations. The round was punctuated by an electric exchange where both men flurried, landing impacting power punches that did damage.
Round 11 was a good round for Trout, who rocked Cotto with a brilliantly looped uppercut at an angle Cotto couldn’t see.
Round 12 featured the ebb and flow that typified a fight of tremendous shifts. Both men were live in the final stanza, but it was the champion—Austin Trout—whose application of the sweet science proved to be the most proficient. Trout fought with brilliant determination and focus in an extremely pro-Cotto environment, and earned this victory with an experience that will serve him well as he marches forward through the junior middleweight division. While the pro-Cotto fans in the Garden were upset at the outcome, they were nonetheless thrilled yet again as their champion provided them with another electric chapter in the tumultuous war novel that is the fascinating career of Miguel Angel Cotto.
Hopefully this isn’t the last we see of Cotto—who was visibly disheartened after the fight. In an awkward on-the-fly interview after Cotto stormed out of the ring, Jim Grey asked Cotto if he was ever going to fight again, to which Cotto bewilderingly replied, “Probably.” It would be a very difficult way for Cotto to exit the sport, and a lukewarm final impression for his legions of adoring fans. That said, Cotto has provided more memorable moments than arguably any fighter in the modern era, and it’s understandable if his tank is running low at this juncture of his journey.
As for Trout, the game changes for him as he has arrived. While before the fight many were already sizing up a Canelo-Cotto matchup, it is Austin Trout who will likely be the man that Saul Alvarez challenges next. Beaming with confidence after the fight, Trout was looking for Canelo, urging for that fight to be made and showing no sign of uncertainty on boxing’s biggest stage. Yet again—boxing—theater of the unexpected—produced an unpredictable concerto of elegant warfare, signifying a shift in power that organically arrives on a timetable that nobody can foresee.