But on Dec. 1, undefeated junior middleweight contender Austin Trout will be looking to change that.
Cotto (37-3, 30 knockouts) will meet Trout at The Garden, where the Puerto Rican fighter is 7-0 with four knockouts. Cotto, who turns 32 in October, is 9-0 overall with five stoppage wins in New York.
By the time Cotto enters the ring opposite Trout, it will have been nearly a year to the day since Cotto scored his third straight stoppage victory over Margarito on Dec. 3 — also at The Garden — to avenge the first loss of his career.
Cotto is coming off a unanimous-decision loss to Floyd Mayweather Jr., who added Cotto’s WBA junior middleweight to his WBC welterweight title, in May.
A southpaw who lives in Las Cruces, New Mexico, Trout (25-0, 14 KOs) was chosen by Cotto over a potential rematch with former foe Manny Pacquiao.
Having been considered for bouts opposite WBC and IBF beltholders Saul “Canelo” Alvarez and Cornelius Bundrage as well as fellow leftie Erislandy Lara, Trout admits to being “shocked” by Cotto’s decision.
Coming off a unanimous decision over Delvin Rodriguez in June that followed a Showtime-televised sixth-round stoppage of Frank LoPorto last November, Trout, who turns 27 on Sept. 18, spoke to RingTV.com regarding what is unquestionably the biggest fight of his still-young career.
RingTV.com: So how do you feel about getting the Cotto fight?
Austin Trout: Man, you have no idea. This is the perfect fight for me. I’m the underdog. You know, I’ve always fought better when I’ve been the underdog. I mean, that’s exactly what I am. I’m going into his backyard.
That’s key. That’s where I would rather be. That’s the kind of situation I would rather be in. I can shock everybody. It’s the perfect scenario for me. I love this fight, man.
RingTV.com: You’re not at all in the slightest bit in a pressure situation, given his remarkable achievements in New York in general, and Madison Square Garden in particuar?
AT: That’s perfect. You know? That’s what I mean. I need to be in this caliber of fighter to boost my resume. I need a name fighter like Miguel Cotto on my record. I’m so excited for this.
I respect his record. I need this kind of respected caliber fighter. With me, people are still on the fence. I need to show people the kind of performance that I know I’m more than capable of delivering on Dec. 1.
Now, I have the shot that I wanted. I can’t wait to remove that doubt from people’s hearts. This taking nothing away from Miguel Cotto. I mean, he’s still a great fighter. He is just coming off of two, really impressive performances.
He just had one where he stopped Antonio Margarito, and he just had the decision loss to Floyd. So I don’t want to hear any excuses when I beat Migel Cotto, you know what I mean?
RingTV.com: Are there going to be any surprises in terms of what you do, or do you believe that your general skills will be accentuated due to how they mesh with Cotto’s style?
AT: I think that our styles match up great. I know that Miguel Cotto can box a little bit. I know that he’s going to be giving me his best, but I’m so excited to show everyody what I’m capable of against such a great fighter.
I think that Miguel Cotto has the perfect style for me to do that, and I think that the way my career is headed, that this is the perfect time for me to make this happen.
RingTV.com: How do you anticipate your styles playing out?
AT: Well, people can say what they want to say and think what they want to think about my style and my game plan, but I’m going to do whatever it takes and whatever I need to do to win.
I’m sure that there are people out there who are thinking that I’m not ready, and that I’m not deserving, but that’s just extra motivation for me. I’m focused, and I’m never going to let the negativity bother me.
RingTV.com: Were you surprised at how this came together for you and to get the call?
AT: I think that Al Haymon made it happen. I was looking at getting a fight in September sometime, but that didn’t happen. I was just as shocked as a lot of people were, because I didn’t find out until yesterday [Thursday] afternoon.
I knew that Al had something in the works, because he told me that he was working on something. But I didn’t know exactly what. I certainly didn’t know that he was talking about this.
I thought he was I was going to get an Erislandy Lara or something along those lines. But to get a top dude like Miguel Cotto, man, that’s the leap that I need.
I was prepared to take it up a notch already, but now, to have the opportunity to make a jump like this, I’m just so excited. Like I’ve said before. I want to say thank you to Miguel Cotto, and I really appreciate the opportunity.
But, you know, I’m coming to take that legacy. I’m sure that in the arena that night at Madison Square Garden, they’re going to be very, very quiet when they raise my hands in the ring that night after I beat Miguel Cotto.
MIGUEL COTTO’S FIGHTS IN NEW YORK:
Waklimi Young, UD 4, Hammerstein Ballroom, April 28, 2001
Muhammad Abdulaev, TKO 9, Madison Square Garden, June 11, 2005
Paulie Malignaggi, UD 12, Madison Square Garden, June 10, 2006
Zab Judah, TKO 11, Madison Square Garden, June 9, 2007
Shane Mosley, UD 12, Madison Square Garden, Nov. 10, 2007
Michael Jennings, TKO 5, Madison Square Garden, February 21, 2009
Joshua Clottey, SD 12, Madison Square Garden, June 13, 2009
Yuri Foreman, TKO 9, Yankee Stadium, June 5, 2010
Antonio Margarito, TKO 10, Madison Square Garden, Dec. 3, 2011
Photos by Naoki Fukuda
Lem Satterfield can be reached at [email protected]