WBA junior middleweight titleholder Austin Trout claims to have dreamed of a victory over Miguel Cotto in Saturday night’s Showtime-televised clash at New York’s Madision Square Garden, where his Puerto Rican challenger never has lost.
There are many in the boxing community who believe that Trout will be doing just that midway through their fight — in the form of a nightmare after Cotto has put him to sleep.
But since childhood, the now 27-year-old southpaw’s mind has conjured success against greats such as Floyd Mayweather Jr., Roy Jones Jr., Sugar Ray Leonard and Pernell Whitaker, all of whom have succumbed to Trout’s fists.
Against Cotto (37-3, 30 knockouts), Trout (25-0, 14 KOs) insists that his visions have always resulted the “reality” of a “win by knockout,” saying that his “visualization” always ends “with my hands raised.”
But Cotto’s domination against rivals at The Garden is comprised of a very tangible mark of 7-0 that includes four stoppage victories. The Garden has seen the four-time, three-division titlewinner knock out the likes of Antonio Margarito, and Zab Judah, and decisioned Shane Mosley, Joshua Clottey and Paulie Malignaggi.
“I know what Trout says. He says that he’s been in Panama fighting with a Panamanian guy, and was in Mexico, fighting with a Mexican guy. But next Saturday, he’s going to be in New York, and in Madison Square Garden, fighting with Miguel Cotto. This is my home,” said Cotto, is 9-0 with five knockouts overall in New York.
“And I know that nothing is going to be equal or the same as anything that he’s pass through before. This is going to be special. It’s a special venue, and it’s going to be a special night for me, and I know that he’s going to figure it out as other guys have had to figure it out in there.
Will Trout stand resolute and overcome the sheer will of Cotto, in addition to an atmosphere of deafening cheers from the challenger’s partisan fans, or will he will fold under the immense pressure?
RingTV.com posed those questions to 14 boxing insiders as well as one inaugural guest selector of the week, all of whom gave their responses below.
Austin Trout SD 12 Miguel Cotto: Austin Trout has yet to face a fighter the ilk of the future Hall of Famer Miguel Cotto, but he will prove on fight night that he is equipped for such a challenge.
Trout’s superior speed, jab and boxing skills will befuddle Cotto when the fight is in the middle of the ring. If Cotto can get the fight to the ropes, he will have more success and he should win some rounds when he is able to dictate the pace.
But I believe Trout is the greater ring general, and that he will dictate terms on Saturday. But with the fight in MSG, anything can happen with the judges.
Austin Trout UD 12 Miguel Cotto: The odds are surprisingly narrow for this fight, which means it’s either a trap, or Austin Trout is better than the public knows about. I happen to think it’s the latter.
Trout is the first true junior middleweight with two legs Miguel Cotto has faced during his time in the division, and that may become apparent.The WBA champion is bigger and possibly faster than the challenger.
Most fighters reach a point in their weight ascension when they’ve just gone too bar, and this might be it for Cotto. Trout by a tight unanimous decision.
Miguel Cotto, UD 12 Austin Trout: In Austin Trout, Miguel Cotto faces a challenge that leaves him without much to gain. His experience, his 7-0 record at Madison Square Garden, his 9-0 mark in New York, his tactical skill at applying pressure and his pride are reasons to say he’ll prevail.
But he’ll be judged by how he does it. Without a sensational stoppage, Cotto will hear the doubters. Trout is good enough to make him look bad. Trout is five years younger and two-and-a-half inches taller. Trout has a five-inch advantage in reach. He doesn’t have the knockout power to win in a fabled arena where Cotto never loses.
But Trout, who has little to lose, has the wherewithal to last the full 12 rounds, which could put Cotto in some jeopardy. Cotto’s many battles have left scar tissue vulnerable to further cuts. Still, Cotto will find a way, as he usually does, but not without further questions about how much he’s got left.
Miguel Cotto W 12 Austin Trout: Austin Trout has all the equipment to pull off the upset — a prolific jab, intelligence, excellent defense, a five-inch reach advantage, success in past road fights — and it doesn’t hurt that he’s a southpaw hungry to make a big splash.
If this fight were held at a neutral site, I’d pick Trout to win. But there is a reason why Miguel Cotto fights are held at Madison Square Garden: He draws well there, and over the years he is 7-0 with four knockouts.
Also, with the huge exception of Manny Pacquiao, Cotto has done well against southpaws. In fact, he lands a higher percentage of his total punches against lefties than against orthodox fighters.
But he does taste a dangerously high percentage of his opponents’ power punches. Trout has the tools to exploit that. We know how Cotto reacts under the brightest lights, but one can’t be certain which version of Trout will show up.
Will it be the one that decimated Frank LoPorto, or the one that scored a workmanlike decision over Delvin Rodriguez? My guess is that the truth is somewhere in-between.
This will be a very difficult fight for Cotto, but I think the home ring advantage will help the Puerto Rican do just enough to squeak out a decision.
Julian Johnson, guest/fan, Myrtle Beach, South Carolina
Austin Trout UD 12 Miguel Cotto: I’m going with Austin Trout by unanimous decision. I think that not only has Miguel Cotto lost more then a step, but he really has little power now at 154.
We should see a wide unanimous decision, although the ringside judges’ cards will be a lot closer than the rest of the universe has it.
I don’t believe that the Floyd Mayweather fight was a resurgence of Cotto, but either an off night for Mayweather or some slippage for our hero. Time and serious wars are hard to overcome, and Cotto has not won a big fight in quite a while.
Miguel Cotto KO 10 Austin Trout: I do think that although Austin Trout brings a certain amount of talent to the ring, the jump up in class of opponent, as well as the jump up in level of atmosphere will be a lot.
Trout is going to be fighting the best opponent hes ever fought in the most hostile crowd he’s ever fought in front of.
Austin Trout W 12 Miguel Cotto: While Miguel Cotto surprised most observers by giving Floyd Mayweather his toughest fight in years, I still believe that his best days are behind him.
Austin Trout is a tricky southpaw with the type of style that can disrupt Cotto’s offensive game plan. I think Trout takes a tactical affair.
Miguel Cotto UD 12 Austin Trout: Pick against Miguel Cotto at your own risk. Ever since Cotto’s epic win in a brutal battle against Ricardo Torres, I have regularly picked against him, and often I have been burned.
I was burned against Paulie Malignaggi, Zab Judah, Shane Mosley and Antonio Margarito. Even when he has lost, Cotto has exceeded expectations. So I’m not going down that route again.
Austin Trout is a good fighter, clever and expert at setting traps for his opponents. However, I don’t view him as special, and I think it takes someone special to beat Miguel.
I think Cotto will prove superior in every aspect, have control of the fight by the fourth round and pull away to a decisive points victory.
Miguel Cotto KO 10 Austin Trout: I wish I had some solid insight, but I’m going strictly on a feel that Miguel Cotto still has something left and has a deeper resume. Cotto looks to be a winner.
His effective and two-fisted attack will nullify any countering southpaw style employed by Austin Trout. Cotto will break him down and stop him late. Cotto by stoppage in, let’s say, in round 10.
Miguel Cotto KO 10 Austsin Trout: For my money, the Puerto Rican, Miguel Cotto, who has been in with the best of them and who clearly loves fighting in New York, will have to KO classy titleholder Austin Trout if he is to win. And I think he will, making the most of his extra punching power in the latter rounds.”
Miguel Cotto W 12 Austin Trout: I started out, at the announcement of this fight, leaning to Austin Trout.
The problem is, the closer it gets to fight time, it’s hard to think of a single time Trout impressed, a single opponent who really stands out against what Miguel Cotto has done either A) generally or B) at 154 pounds.
So I like Cotto to outjab Trout and score enough heavy stuff to pick up another alphabet strap.
Miguel Cotto W 12 Austin Trout: I believe a very good case can be made for both Miguel Cotto and Austin Trout going into their fight on Dec. 1. Cotto is a complete fighter with loads of experience on the big stage.
Trout is a gifted boxer who is on the rise. I think Cotto will have to force Trout to fight him, as the Puerto Rican did against Floyd Mayweather Jr.
If he can, I think he wins. If he can’t, if Trout is able to avoid trouble and use his skills, the underdog will win. I think Cotto will get it done, though. He’ll win a fairly close, but clear decision.
Miguel Cotto W 12 Austin Trout: Miguel Cotto is shopworn and obviously not what he used to be. But I still believe he has enough in the tank to combat Austin Trout.
I think it’s going to be a great fight. Then again, it’s Cotto. When hasn’t he ever been in a great fight?
Miguel Cotto W 12 Austin Trout: I’m going with Miguel Cotto on a very competitive 12-round decision. I think his focus and strength will eventually win out over the distance, despite a solid effort by Austin Trout.
The experts generally believe by a margin of 11-4 that Miguel Cotto will dethrone Austin Trout for the WBA’s junior middleweight belt.
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Lem Satterfield can be reached at email@example.com