NEW YORK — Somewhere in Saturday night’s audience at Madison Square Garden, Dorothy Johnson was smiling proudly following the tremendous accomplishment achieved by her great grandson, Austin Trout, whose 10-year-old daughter was probably nearby feeling like a prophet.
Johnson celebrated her 88th birthday by watching Trout (26-0, 14 knockouts) score a unanimous decision over four-time, three-division titlewinner Miguel Cotto (37-4, 30 KOs) in a 12-round junior middleweight fight, ending the Puerto Rican challenger’s unbeaten run at The Garden at 7-0 with four stoppage wins before a crowd of 13,096 fans.
“Happy birthday ‘Nanna’ Johnson,” said Trout, 27. “Dorothy Johnson, you’re 88 years old, and, 88 years strong.”
But it is doubtful that Kaira Trout, daughter of the man whose nickname is “No doubt,” was the least bit surprised at a result she had confidently predicted just two days earlier.
“On Saturday, I think my dad is going to beat up Miguel Cotto,” said Kaira Trout to RingTV.com during a Thursday open media workout for her father at The Trinity Boxing Club in New York. “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’s victory also ended Cotto’s overall record in New York at 9-0 overall, including five stoppages.
“The satisfaction that I feel, I can’t come up with the words to describe it. This is what we worked for, and to have it all come and to materialize on this type of stage and in this historical type of way, to become the first person to beat Miguel in New York, like I said, it’s indescribable,” said Trout,
“I knew that I couldn’t really give up any rounds. There were a couple of rounds where I gave up a couple of shots and maybe I thought that he might have stealing a round or two, but I did feel like I won, and that I should have taken the fight like I did.”
COTTO LOSES WITH CLASS AND DIGNITY
At the post-fight press conference, long after Trout had enjoyed plenty of time answering questions, giving Cotto his props as “a great champion,” and soaking up the much-deserved praise, Cotto walked into the room.
Cotto’s chin was up, his head was held high, and he did not wear a hat or sunglasses, leaving his bruised, swollen and reddened facial features on display for all to see.
Cotto stepped to the podium, and, before speaking, walked over to Trout on his right and embraced his conqueror before giving the winner full credit for his achievement.
“I’m happy, I’m just a little disappointed with the decision. I have to continue, accept it and move forward,” said Cotto, adding that he would spend Christmas with his family and “take this time just to think.”
“I’m not finished yet, still with boxing on my mind. I just want to rest with my family the rest of the year,” said Cotto, calling Trout “a slippery fighter” who prevented him from landing consistently by blocking his shots with his elbows and shoulders.
“I never make excuses. I accept my losses and move on with my career. I’m very grateful for all the support I get from New York and for that I always bring my best.”
“No doubt” Trout would give Cotto a return bout, saying, “if there is any doubt that I won, we can do it again if we need to.”
TROUT: TRAINER LOUIE BURKE ‘LIT A FIRE UNDER MY ASS’
Trout said that his trainer, Louie Burke, told him to step up the intensity after the fourth round.
“My trainer told me after about the first quarter of the fight that I was giving the fight away. He said, ‘You’re in The Garden, he’s undefeated in The Garden, they want to keep him undefeated,’ and he really lit a fire under my ass,” said Trout.
“We had to go back to the game plan, because I was kind of falling into his game plan, and so that was that point where I said, ‘I’ve got to let these hands go.’ He wanted me to put leather on him, but I wasn’t doing it.”
Trout did just that, but he didn’t do so unwisely.
“Initially, we were trying to stay outside of the pocket and fight at our distance and let him come into our shots and maybe get our combinations off and then slide off to one side or the other. But as Cotto started to get tired, say, around the sixth or seventh round, I noticed that Cotto would start to get a little sluggish in there. Austin started to catch him more often with some of those right hooks and lefts,” said Burke.
“So we felt like we could sit in the pocket a little bit longer. We prepared for him to try to box and to try to draw Austin in, and to then try to jump on top of Austin. But I just told him that when he started doing that, that he should just flick out his jab, move his head a little bit and to not get caught walking in, because Austin did get caught with a couple of shots walking in.”
But it was the big shot that Burke said he was wary of.
“At that point, we were most concerned about his left hook, without a doubt. He can take you out with the left hook. I think that we kept a good distance between him and us, and that kind of nullified his body attack. We made it so that when he tried to get inside, that he was getting caught with some shots,” said Burke.
“So I think that we made it hard to get inside on Austin. He did let his hands go and get in some shots to the body. Austin has always done better against aggressive fighters. The fighters that come in, they force Austin to throw more punches, and that makes the fight that much better and it accentuates what he already has.”
WHAT’S NEXT FOR TROUT
After the fight, Trout called out WBC beltholder Saul “Canelo” Alvarez, whom Cotto was hoping to face on May 4.
“Canelo, Te quiero (I want you),” said Trout. “Canelo, it’s time to unify this division.”
Trout, who holds what the WBA calls its “regular” belt, was even more emphatic during the post-fight press conference.
“I’m trying to be the best in this division. I’m trying to clean out my division, and I feel like getting all the belts would be the next thing for me to do, so I got the WBA belt, it’s time to get the WBC belt,” said Troutg , before mentioning IBF beltholder Cornelius Bundrage.
“After that, we can work on the IBF. So Canelo should be next, that would be my dream scenario. He wants to fight May 4, and I think that’s the perfect time. I’m even thinking of taking a fight in February, and coming back in May.”
Trout’s manager, Bob Spagnola, believes that the Alvarez fight will happen in time.
“Obviously, we’ll work with [Advisor] Al Haymon, and he can exert some pressure. We’ll get our chance. We’re going to keep getting chances now, and if we don’t get Canelo, listen, we’re going to keep on beating the drum. As you can see, the kid doesn’t get beat up. He’s not taking beatings, and he’s a young, fresh kid, and an American kid,” said Spagnola.
“Hopefully, he can attract some attention from the media and he can be propelled into other opportunities. You can’t make anybody fight you if they dont want to. But Austin gets up and takes care of his business. Whatever opportunity presents itself, he’ll be ready. This is the time when the work is really starting. This is the time to really dig in and get going.”
Floyd Mayeather Jr. is the WBA’s actual 154-pound titleholder.
ADALAIDE BYRD, STEVE WEISFELD TO JUDGE MANNY PACQUIAO-JUAN MANUEL MARQUEZ IV
Trout outlanded Cotto, 238-to-183 in overall punches, 192-to-154 in power blows, and, 46-29, in jabs. Judge Adalaide Byrd scored it for Trout, 119-109, while Steve Weisfeld and Sam Poturaj both had it 117-111. RingTV.com had it for Trout, 116-112.
In November, Pacquiao (54-4-2, 38 KOs) escaped with a highly disputed majority decision over Marquez (54-6-2, 39 KOs), with whom he has also battled to a draw and won a previous split decision.
Pacquiao floored Marquez three times in the first round of their initial meeting as featherweights in May of 2004, and dropped him once in the third round of their second as junior lightweights in March of 2008.
Top Rank CEO Bob Arum, who will promote Pacquiao-Marquez IV, said that the score cards of Byrd and Weisfeld for Trout-Cotto “says that they’re very good judges,” and that he is not concerned about yet another controversial scoring ending to Pacquiao-Marquez.
“Weisfeld wasn’t swayed by the crowd, and neither was Adalaide Byrd. I thought that it was a very one-sided fight. I think that they are excellent judges. I couldn’t find a round, after the sixth round, to give to Cotto,” said Arum, adding that he scored the match up 10 rounds to two for Trout over Cotto.
“I think that it was clear that the first two rounds went to Trout, and the next two rounds could be given to Cotto. The fifth and sixth rounds, at best, were split, but I had them both for Trout. I could see one of those rounds going to Cotto. But the seventh round on, Cotto didn’t come close to winning a round.”
Arum promoted Cotto’s 10th-round knockout of Antonio Margarito at The Garden in December of last year. Cotto-Margarito II ended somewhat controversially, with ringside doctors advising Steve Smoger, against the referee’s desires, to wave an end to the bout as a result of Margarito’s swollen and badly closed right eye.
“I was very hesitant to stop the fight. In light of Antonio’s pleading, he really, really wanted one more round,” said Smoger, who informed RingTV.com that he was told “Steve…stop the fight” by a ringside doctor.
“I don’t know about you, but I had sensed a little bit of a momentum shift. I saw him catch Miguel with a couple of shots on the ropes that had me saying, ‘wow, his persistance is paying off.’ And I would have loved to see him come out in the 10th. I really would have.”
“If the referee doesn’t stop the fight, which he shouldn’t have stopped,” said Arum. “Margarito knocks him out.”
JAYSON VELEZ WANTS DANIEL PONCE DE LEON
Puerto Rican featherweight prospect Jayson Velez (20-0, 15 KOs) dropped Salvador “Sal II” Sanchez II (30-5-3, 18 KO’s), of Tianguistenco, Mexico, in the second and final rounds of his third-round knockout, after which he called out WBC beltholder Daniel Ponce de Leon.
“That fight is like almost 90 percent a reality, because my company, Miguel Cotto promotions, has been talking with Ponce de Leon’s people,” said Velez, 24. “They just have to choose the date. So I’ll rest one week, and then I’ll meet with my company and let’s talk about it.”
Photos by Naoki Fukuda
Photos by Chris Farina, Top Rank
Lem Satterfield can be reached at email@example.com