NEW YORK — Boxing advisor to the stars, Al Haymon, is known for rarely making public appearances and for not doing interviews.
Sam Watson, Haymon’s right hand man, is often seen but scarcely heard from.
But Watson was out front and did not mince words during Thursday’s open workout at New York’s Trinity Boxing Club for undefeated southpaw WBA junior middleweight titleholder Austin Trout when asked about Trout’s chances of upsetting four-time, three-division titlewinner Miguel Cotto on Saturday night on Showtime from New York’s Madision Square Garden, where the Puerto Rican challenger is 7-0 with four knockouts.
“All he wanted was an opportunity, and he got what he wanted. An opportunity. And yeah, you can quote me, he’s gonna whip his ass. Ninth or 10th round, you’ll see he’s stronger, he’s young, he’s hungry. He’s been waiting on this for a long time, man. When that phone call came, that man was so happy, it was like, ‘yes, I want’ Cotto.’ It wasn’t no, ‘I don’t know if I can do it,'” said Watson.
“It was, ‘no, I want Cotto. I want Cotto right now. let’s do it.’ I was there. I remember when he got the call. All he wanted was an opportunity, at 25-0, with nobody knowing who he was. Some of the big-time writers called me and asked, ‘Can Austin fight?’ But Austin is going to win this fight convincingly. Real pretty. It won’t be hard. First three or four rounds, it will be a little bit of a fight, but after that, he’s gonna just tear his ass up.”
A victory by Trout (25-0, 14 knockouts) would end domination by Cotto (37-3, 30 KOs) at The Garden that includes knockouts over Antonio Margarito, and Zab Judah, and decisions over Shane Mosley, Joshua Clottey and Paulie Malignaggi.
“I have to show you who Austin Trout is when we get in the ring with an elite, and that I can beat anybody, when I’m on my ‘A’ game. I’m going to prove that on Saturday night. I have no worries,” said Trout, a 27-year-old resident of Las Cruces, New Mexico.
“I have no doubt about what’s going to happen on Saturday night. I’ve been working hard, and, like I said, there is nothing left to do but to go out there and perform. I’m undefeated, and I’m going to stay undefeated on Saturday.”
TROUT: ‘TO KNOW ME IS TO LOVE ME’
A father of three with a toothy smile who with plans to marry Taylor Hardardt on April 20, Trout is hopeful of delivering the sort of performance that draws fans.
“It’s about time that the television stations start to get behind the American program,” said Trout, who will pocket $240,000 to Cotto $1 million. “We need to get behind the Americans as much as we can, because we’re losing that war to the foreign fighters.”
“To know me is to love me, and all that I needed was for people to get to know who Austin Trout was. This is a great way to do it. I think that I’m one of those true, blue American kids, you know?” said Trout.
“I’m a very down-to-earth, very humble person. A lot of people can relate to me, and I don’t feel like it should be hard to get behind me. Everyone wants to get behind a winner. So, it should be even easier to get behind Austin Trout once he takes down the titan, Miguel Cotto.”
A FAMILY AFFAIR, BIRTHDAY AND HOMECOMING
Dorothy Johnson expects to be watching from ringside on Saturday night and rooting for her great grandson, Austin Trout, to defeat Cotto on what will be her 88th birthday.
She anticipates being among five generations of family members rooting for Trout, including his grandparents, Otis and Ann Johnson, grandfather, Rocky Boyce, his mother, M.J. Trout, and his 25-year-old sister, Candace Trout.
“Otis Johnson is the grandfather that raised me. Rocky is from Harlem, Otis is from Brooklyn. So, you know, my family is from here. My mother was born and raised here,” said Trout.
“I really do like this city, man, and I’ve been coming back and forth to New York since I was a kid. My deep roots are here, so I’ve always felt at home in New York. Like I’ve said, I’m technically more of a New Yorker than Miguel Cotto is.”
Thursday’s workout was a family affair, to the point where Trout was chased around the ring by his scurrying niece Taliah Trout and nephew Julian Boyce, each of whom is 5, as well as nephew Carter Boyce, 7, and Kaira Trout, his 10-year-old daughter.
“On Saturday, “I think my dad is going to beat up Miguel Cotto,” said Kaira Trout, whose father is called, “Uncle Daddy,” by Taliah. “There’s going to be another ‘W’ on Austin Trout’s card, and there’s going to be another loss on Miguel Cotto’s card.”
Trout will do all in his power to make his daughter’s prediction come true.
“I’m sure they’re telling everyone, ‘that’s my grandson fighting,’ and I’m going to make them all proud,” said Trout. “I have to give them everything to brag about when they go to work on Monday morning. I can’t let them down.”
Not only does Trout stand nearly 5-foot-10 to Cotto’s 5-7, but he expects to put on weight after Friday’s weigh-in, which will be streamed live on sports.sho.com/live from the Affinia Hotel directly across from The Garden.
“I’ll probably be at 170 coming into that ring, man. But I’m not killing myself. It’s probably only about a pound I’ve got to take off or so,” said Trout.
“I’ll just be a lot bigger than him. I’m about a pound off. My weights good. I’m feeling good. The only thing left to do is to just jump on that scale, and then, jump in Cotto’s ass on Saturday.”‘
Puerto Rican junior lightweight prospect Jayson Velez (19-0, 14 KOs) will appear on the Cotto-Trout undercard opposite Salvador “Sal II” Sanchez II (30-4-3, 18 KO’s), of Tianguistenco, Mex., and middleweight contender Danny Jacobs (23-1, 20 KOs), of Brooklyn, will face Chris “The Irish Ghost” Fitzpatrick (15-2, 6 KO’s), of Cleveland.
Also, hard-punching junior middleweight Jorge Melendez (24-2, 23 KOs), of Manati, Puerto Rico, will be after his fourth straight knockout against North Carolina’s James Winchester (15-6, 5 KOs), as will junior lightweight Jeffrey Fontanez (8-0, 7 KOs), of Caguas, Puerto Rico opposite Pedro Arcos (12-2-1, 9 KOs), of Tijuana, Mex.
Lightweight Michael Perez (17-1-1, 10 KOs), of Newark, N.J., will take on Fernando Carcamo (10-4, 7 KOs), of Obregon, Mex., and featherweight Jorge Diaz (16-1, 10 KOs), of New Brunswick, N.J., will meet Houston’s Victor Sanchez (3-4-1).
Junior middleweight Eddie Gomez (11-0, 8 KO’s), of the Bronx, will be after his third straight knockout in a clash of unbeatens against Luis Hernandez (9-0, 5 KOs), of Rio Piedras, Puerto Rico, and Newark middleweight John Thompson (9-0, 3 KO’s) faces Eli Augustama (6-5, 3 KO’s), of Port Au Prince, Haiti.
Trout hopes to duplicate the effort of southpaw former titleholder DeMarcus Corley, who was successful in landing a number of left-crosses and right hands after being dropped in first round of Cotto’s fiifth-round knockout victory in February of 2005 in Bayamon, Puerto Rico.
While calling Cotto-Corley for HBO, the late Hall of Fame trainer, Emanuel “Manny” Steward noted there was “a great left hand coming back by DeMarcus Corley,” adding, “he’s landing a lot of clean punches tonight, and I think if he was about 10 pounds heavier, I think that Cotto would maybe be in trouble.”
Seconds after Steward made his comments, Corley wobbled Cotto with a third-round right hook, forcing Cotto to stumble and hold on. Although Corley couldn’t finish off Cotto, HBO’s Larry Merchant, sitting at ringside, scored the third round in Corley’s favor, 10-8.
After watching Corley take a knee for the second time in the final round, referee Ismael Quinones Falu abruptly waved an end to the fight — a scenario Merchant called, “a home town stoppage. A disgrace. An absolute disgrace.”
“I thought I was being smart in the fight. Cotto threw a combination and I took a knee to avoid being in danger because he had hit me on the hip with a right hook to the body. I took to the knee, and the referee stopped the fight,” said Corley, 38, who is in New York to watch Cotto-Trout.
“The game plan was to take Cotto into the later rounds and to break him down. We knew he was bigger than us, about two weight classes higher. I weighed 137 for that fight, Cotto weighed 140. Come fight night, Cotto out-weighed me by at least 16 pounds,”
Can Trout finish where Corley did not?
“We have to see if Trout is strong enough to take Cotto’s punching power, and we’ll see if Trout will be able to hurt Cotto. We know that Cotto can take a punch, and that he can be hurt. But we’ll also find out out if Trout can take a punch. I have never seen Trout hurt, but the blue print would be to box Cotto and don’t bang with him,” said Corley.
“Because Cotto is coming straight forward, and he’s going to attack the body very hard, he’s going to try to end the fight by knockout. I think that it will be important for Trout to establish his jab from the beginning of the fight, work off his jab, use lateral movement, circle and make Cotto turn. Because if he sits in front of Cotto and lets Cotto get off to the body and finish to the head, the fight will be short in favor of Miguel Cotto.”
Photos by Rich Kane, Hogan Photos, Golden Boy Promotions
Photo by Al Bello, Getty Images
Lem Satterfield can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org